Bauhaus, 1919–1928


In 1938, the Museum of Modern Art issued a press memo informing New York City editors that on December 7, the Museum would open “what will probably be considered its most unusual exhibition—and certainly one of its largest.” That exhibition was Bauhaus: 1919–1928, an expansive survey dedicated to this incomparably influential German school of art and design. This is the first edition of the classic catalogue of that important show. On display were nearly 700 examples of the school’s output, including works of textile, glass, wood, canvas, metal, and paper. It was a celebration of the remarkable creativity and productivity of the Bauhaus. The size and scope of this tribute indicated the importance of the Bauhaus to MoMA's development: the school had served as a model for the Museum’s multi-departmental structure, and inspired its multidisciplinary presentation of photography, architecture, painting, graphic design, and theater. This is the history of the Bauhaus, written by the people who ran it, just five years after the school was closed.

When we worked on our exhibit of Herbert Bayer’s banknotes, this was an invaluable resource. Eighty-two-years-old, this book doesn’t look a day over 80. Clean interior pages with the previous owner’s name crossed out on the inside cover. (Thanks a lot, Donna E. Massaria!) The exterior of the binding is about as one would expect, but the inside back cover has separated from the book block—but not in a way that would disrupt reading or make you feel nervous about spending time with the book. We’d keep it for ourselves if we didn’t already have a copy.

  • Editors: H. Bayer and W & I Gropius
  • Size: 7.7 × 10 inches
  • Pages: 224
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Condition: Fair+. Corners are worn and the back cover hinge is busted by still doing its job. Interior is largely clean. Previous owner’s name is on the pastedown but someone tried to cross it out with a marker and that’s left a mark on the first couple of leaves.
  • Publisher: Museum of Modern Art, 1938