© 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
BR56.253.A-FF
People
Josef Hartwig, German (Munich, Germany 1880 - 1955 Frankfurt am Main, Germany)
Title
Set of 32 Chess Pieces
Classification
Recreational Artifacts
Work Type
game
Date
1922
Culture
German
Location
Level 1, Room 1520, Modern and Contemporary Art, Art in Germany Between the Wars
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Wood and felt
Dimensions
33.02 x 33.02 x 8.26 cm (13 x 13 x 3 1/4 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Julia Feininger
Copyright
© Josef Hartwig / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Accession Year
1956
Object Number
BR56.253.A-FF
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
Publication History

Leah Dickerman and Barry Bergdoll, Bauhaus 1919-1933: Workshops for Modernity, exh. cat., ed. David Frankel, Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York, 2009)

Exhibition History

Bauhaus 1919-1933: Workshops for Modernity, Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York, 11/08/2009 - 01/25/2010

32Q: 1520 Art in Germany Between the Wars (Interwar and Bauhaus), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 12/10/2018; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/05/2019 - 01/01/2050

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