Front / Recto

  • Title Untitled (Bauhaus Weavers [Bauhaus Weberinnen])
  • Negative Date 1928
  • Print Date 1928–44
  • Medium Gelatin silver print
  • Dimensions Image 3 5/16" (8.4 cm)
    Mount 5 13/16 × 5 1/2" (14.8 × 14 cm)
  • Place Taken Dessau
  • Credit Line Thomas Walther Collection. Gift of Thomas Walther
  • MoMA Accession Number 1615.2001
  • Copyright © 2015 Charlotte Beese
  • Description

    The Bauhaus weaving workshop, composed primarily of women, was among the school’s most successful and experimental workshops. Influenced by the color and formal theories of Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Johannes Itten, the students experimented with traditional and industrial dyeing and weaving techniques. Lotte Beese took no formal classes in photography, but she made a number of photographs during her years in Dessau and is known especially for her Bauhaus portraiture. Uniting her interest in portraying fellow students with her intimate participation in the weaving workshop, where she studied textile design under Gunta Stölzl, Beese’s image of a circular cluster of progressive young women weavers was featured on the cover of the Bauhaus journal in 1928, with a headline beckoning, “Young people, come to the Bauhaus!” Beese likely shot this picture from a ladder or with her camera mounted on an elevated tripod, using a Rollholder that she described as a “rickety second camera.”

    The picture is printed on Velox, a Gaslight Paper known for its warm highlights and light texture. The material was marketed to amateurs because it required no enlarger or darkroom; it could be exposed in the comfort of one’s parlor, just inches from an ordinary gas jet or electric bulb. Bauhaus artists experimented with Velox and other contact papers before a formal photography program was established at the school.

    To achieve the picture’s circular format, Beese prepared a masking layer with a round window 8.5 centimeters (3 3/8 inches) in diameter, which she placed over the unexposed photographic paper and the rectangular negative. This stacked construction was then exposed to light and processed, resulting in a circular image in the center of a white sheet of paper. She then carefully trimmed around the image edge and retouched a few white lines and spots. At some point the print was mounted to black paper, whose rough, hand-torn edges and embossed line along one side indicate that it once was part of an album.   

     —Mitra Abbaspour, Hanako Murata

Back / Verso

  • Mount Type Mount
  • Marks and Inscriptions Inscribed in pencil on mount verso, bottom left: CEO 348. Inscribed in pencil on mount verso, bottom right: Tondo Beese. Inscribed in pencil on mount verso, bottom right: 52.
  • Provenance The artist; to Alma Siedhoff-Buscher (1899–1944), Frankfurt; by inheritance to the estate of Alma Siedhoff-Buscher (Joost and Lore Siedhoff), Frankfurt, 1944 [1]; purchased by Egidio Marzona, Berlin/Bielefeld, 1978–79 [2]; possibly to Galerie Berinson, Berlin [3]; to Thomas Walther [4]; given to The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2001.
    [1] Egidio Marzona, conversation with Simon Bieling, Berlin, August 2005; and Marzona, conversation with Thomas Walther, Berlin, April 2014.
    [2] Ibid.; and MacGill/Walther 2001(4), p. 1. The image was published in Egidio Marzona, Bauhaus Photography (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1987), pl. 113 (as Bauhaus weavers, 1928).
    [3] MacGill/Walther 2001(4), p. 1. This direct transfer is questionable: a print of the same size sold at an auction at Christie's East, New York (lot 139), May 26, 1982.
    [4] Ibid.; and Hendrik Berinson, conversation with Simon Bieling, Galerie Berinson, Berlin, February 18, 2005.

Surface

  • Surface Sheen Semireflective
  • Techniques Mount
    Contact print
  • PTM
    Detail view of the recto of the artwork made using reflectance transformation imaging (RTI) software, which exaggerates subtle surface details and renders the features of the artwork plainly visible. Department of Conservation, MoMA
  • Micro-raking
    Raking-light close-up image, as shot. Area of detail is 6.7 x 6.7 mm. Department of Conservation, MoMA
    Raking-light close-up image, processed. Processing included removal of color, equalization of the histogram, and sharpening, all designed to enhance visual comparison. Department of Conservation, MoMA

Paper Material

  • UV Fluorescence Recto negative
    Verso no data
  • Fiber Analysis No fiber data available
  • Material Techniques Developing-out paper
    Gaslight paper
  • XRF

    This work was determined to be a gelatin silver print via X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry.

    The following elements have been positively identified in the work, through XRF readings taken from its recto and verso (or from the mount, where the verso was not accessible):

    • Recto: P, S, Cl, Ca, Zn, Sr, Ag, Ba, Pb
    • Mount: Al, Si, P, S, K, Ca, Ti, Fe, Zn

    The graphs below show XRF spectra for three areas on the print: two of the recto—from areas of maximum and minimum image density (Dmax and Dmin)—and one of the verso or mount. The background spectrum represents the contribution of the XRF instrument itself. The first graph shows elements identified through the presence of their characteristic peaks in the lower energy range (0 to 8 keV). The second graph shows elements identified through the presence of their characteristic peaks in the higher energy range (8 to 40 keV).

    Areas examined: Recto (Dmax: black; Dmin: green), Verso or Mount (blue), Background (red)
    Elements identified: Al, Si, P, S, Cl, K, Ca, Ti, Ag, Ba
    Areas examined: Recto (Dmax: black; Dmin: green), Verso or Mount (blue), Background (red)
    Elements identified: Fe, Zn, Sr, Ag, Pb

In Context

Related Images

Research photograph taken in October 2011 by Lee Ann Daffner of two gelatin silver prints by Lotte (Charlotte) Beese. The Bauhaus Weavers, Dessau. 1928. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Cover of Bauhaus 2, no. 4 (1928). Editor Hannes Meyer. Photograph by Lotte (Charlotte) Beese.

Historical Publications

  • bauhaus 2, no. 4 (1928): cover (as bauhausfoto lotte beese, with cover headline "junge menschen kommt ans bauhaus!").

Related People

Related Links

For best results, please enable JavaScript.