Artistic polymath Herbert Bayer was one of the Bauhaus’s most influential students, teachers, and proponents, advocating the integration of all arts throughout his career. Bayer began his studies as an architect in 1919 in Darmstadt. From 1921 to 1923 he attended the Bauhaus in Weimar, studying mural painting with Vasily Kandinsky and typography, creating the Universal alphabet, a typeface consisting of only lowercase letters that would become the signature font of the Bauhaus. Bayer returned to the Bauhaus from 1925 to 1928 (moving in 1926 to Dessau, its second location), working as a teacher of advertising, design, and typography, integrating photographs into graphic compositions.

He began making his own photographs in 1928, after leaving the Bauhaus; however, in his years as a teacher the school was a fertile ground for the New Vision photography passionately promoted by his close colleague László Moholy-Nagy, Moholy-Nagy’s students, and his Bauhaus publication Malerei, Photographie, Film (Painting, photography, film). Most of Bayer’s photographs come from the decade 1928–38, when he was based in Berlin working as a commercial artist. They represent his broad approach to art, including graphic views of architecture and carefully crafted montages.

In 1938 Bayer emigrated to the United States with an invitation from Alfred H. Barr, Jr., founding director of The Museum of Modern Art, to apply his theories of display to the installation of the exhibition Bauhaus: 1919–28 (1938) at MoMA. Bayer developed this role through close collaboration with Edward Steichen, head of the young Department of Photography, designing the show Road to Victory (1942), which would set the course for Steichen’s influential approach to photography exhibition. Bayer remained in America working as a graphic designer for the remainder of his career.

Introduction by Mitra Abbaspour, Associate Curator, Department of Photography, 2014
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Introduction
Herbert Bayer (April 5, 1900 – September 30, 1985) was an Austrian and American graphic designer, painter, photographer, sculptor, art director, environmental and interior designer, and architect, who was widely recognized as the last living member of the Bauhaus and was instrumental in the development of the Atlantic Richfield Company's corporate art collection until his death in 1985.
Wikidata
Q213637
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Introduction
Bayer worked variously as advertising artist, photographer, painter, sculptor, architect and landscape designer, reflecting his training at the Bauhaus from 1921 to 1925. In 1925, he took over the printing and advertising offices of the Bauhaus in Dessau, where he designed Bauhaus publications. Photography became his preferred mode of expression in the 1930s and his work from this period shows the influence of Surrealism. His photomontages typically show blended levels of reality and dreamlike images. He moved to New York in 1938 where he curated two Bauhaus exhibitions which toured internationally from 1967 to 1971. American architect and author, former member of Bauhaus.
Nationalities
Austrian, German, American
Gender
Male
Roles
Artist, Architect, Sculptor, Painter, Photographer, Designer, Author, Graphic designer, Typographer, Art director
Name
Herbert Bayer
ULAN
500009369
Information from Getty’s Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License