Mention the Bauhaus and iconic design objects such as a Marianne Brandt teapot, an Anni Albers weaving or a Marcel Breuer chair come to mind. But the Bauhaus was more than an art school - it was the birth of a whole new philosophy of art. In this majestic biography of its charismatic founder, Fiona MacCarthy argues that Walter Gropius's visionary ideas still influence the way we live, work, and think today.
From 1910 to 1930 Gropius was at the very centre of European modern art and design. The Bauhaus stood for delight, experiment and creative freedom. Gropius gathered talents that included Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Josef Albers, and László Moholy-Nagy into an art school that became an alternative way of life. Once Hitler came to power in 1933 Gropius's situation became increasingly untenable. The Nazis opposed everything the Bauhaus stood for. Gropius's beliefs and his affiliations left him little choice but to leave Germany. His story is one of exile in a century of buffeting and conflict.
In this riveting book Fiona MacCarthy draws on new research to re-evaluate Gropius's work and life. She brings the reader into the world of an inspiring, energetic man and illuminates the events and people that shaped him - from his shattering experiences in World War One, to his turbulent marriage to the notorious Alma Mahler and the tragic early death of their daughter Manon, through his disorientating years in London, to his final peaceful and productive life with Ise Gropius and his late starring role in twentieth-century architecture and design in America. She challenges more recent views of Gropius as a doctrinaire modernist, exploring his intellectual and emotional life with psychological insight, wit and sympathy. This is biography at its finest and most vivid.