© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Bauhaus artists and designers sought to revolutionize society by radically reshaping the environments in which people lived. The objects in this case, products of the school’s metal, pottery, and carpentry workshops, reflect innovative approaches to the design of everyday household items—from the minimalist rethinking of the ornate tea glasses of eastern Europe to the transformation of chess pieces into pure geometric form. The design of decorative art objects at the Bauhaus was as strongly informed by modern artistic theories as the paintings and sculpture produced there. The table lamp, for example, made in the metal workshop when the constructivist artist László Moholy-Nagy served as its director, explores the circular form in three dimensions: as a disk, cylinder, and sphere. Now considered an icon of Bauhaus design, in 1924 the lamp failed to achieve the Bauhaus goal of creating objects well suited for industrial production, due to its high fabrication cost. Relatively few Bauhaus objects were mass-produced, in fact, despite the school’s efforts to establish partnerships with industry. The objects’ extreme modernity and frequently high prices made them less appealing to the general public and relatively uncommon outside the homes of artists and intellectuals and the Bauhaus buildings.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
BR49.259
People
Josef Albers, American (Bottrop, Germany 1888 - 1976 New Haven, Conn.)
Title
Tea Glass Holder
Classification
Vessels
Work Type
holder
Date
1926
Culture
German
Location
Level 3, Room 3500, Special Exhibitions Gallery
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Chrome-plated steel and ebony
Dimensions
13.34 cm (5 1/4 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF analysis showed that the metal band on both holders (BR49.258 and .259) had high levels of chromium, iron and nickel, corresponding to chrome-plated steel. Chrome plating of steel is a two phase process with the clean steel first electroplated with nickel and then subsequently plated with chromium, hence both nickel and chromium are present. Kathy Eremin, January 2013

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Walter Gropius
Copyright
© The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Accession Year
1949
Object Number
BR49.259
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
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Exhibition History

Bauhaus Art and Design, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 06/07/1982 - 10/30/1982

32Q: 1520 Art in Germany Between the Wars (Interwar and Bauhaus), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014 - 12/10/2018

The Bauhaus and Harvard, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/08/2019 - 07/28/2019

Subjects and Contexts

The Bauhaus

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu