After completing his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe, Alfredo Bortoluzzi came to the Bauhaus in Dessau in 1927, where he took courses with Albers, Kandinsky, Klee and Schlemmer. He later started dance training and worked for many years as a professional dancer, choreographer and stage designer. The love of painting accompanied him throughout his life – and both theatre and dance were recurring motifs in his paintings.
In the years when Bortoluzzi studied at the Bauhaus in Dessau, the young dancer Gret Palucca was often a guest there. The two presumably got to know each other at this time. Gret Palucca was “one of the leading dancers” of the 1920s and legendary for her musicality and athletic ability. She inspired the Bauhausler “when she brought her latest dances”, recalls Marianne Brandt.
Beginning in 1919, Gret Palucca had been one of the first students of the dancer and choreographer Mary Wigman – a pioneer of modern expressionist dance. In 1924 they go their separate ways and Gret marries Friedrich (Fritz) Bienert, son of Dresden art collector Ida Bienert. In 1925 Palucca establishes a dance school of her own in Dresden, and in the same year, she performs at a dance evening at the Bauhaus in Weimar, where her close friend and sister-in-law Ise Bienert is studying.
The Bienert family enables Palucca to meet Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and László Moholy-Nagy. In the following years she is a frequent guest at the Bauhaus in Dessau, where she enjoys close contacts, especially with Klee and Kandinsky, and learns a lot from their rigorous and sometimes harsh criticism. The Bauhausler are fascinated by her “space-shaping” art and the precision of her movements. Kandinsky works from photos in 1926 to make drawings that analyse the overall gestures of individual moments from Palucca’s early dances. And as Reto Sorg notes in a study on Paul Klee, Moholy-Nagy recognises in her art “the newly found law of motion” and “the most precise framework of spatially vibrant tension”.
Sorg, Reto (2007): Der Tanz und das Gesetz der Bewegung bei Paul Klee, in: Paul Klee – Überall Theater, S. 220-226, Bern 2007.
Duvoisin, Huguette und Radizzani, René Hg. (2008): Gret Palucca. Schriften, Interviews, Tanzmanuskripte, S. 97-104, Basel.
Neumann, Eckhard Hg. (1985): Bauhaus und Bauhäusler. Erinnerungen und Bekenntnisse, S. 161, Köln.
Funkenstein, Susan (2012): Picturing Palucca at Bauhaus, in: New German Dance Studies, S. 45-62, Chicago.
Franco, Susanne (2001): Al Bauhaus sulle punte. Alfredo Bortoluzzi danzatore, coreografo e costumista. In: Alfredo Bortoluzzi. La lezione del Bauhaus, S. 41-52, Mendrisio.
[NO 2017, Translations: DK]