Browse the German Expressionism Collection
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About the portfolio
Heather Hess, German Expressionist Digital Archive Project, German Expressionism: Works from the Collection. 2011.
The range of approaches in this portfolio evidences the lack of a single Bauhaus style. All of the contributors were "masters," or artist-teachers, at the school. Vasily Kandinsky, László Moholy-Nagy, and Lothar Schreyer created abstract compositions. Paul Klee offered a whimsical erotic scene, while Gerhard Marcks provided a sentimental representation of a mother and child. Lyonel Feininger's and Georg Muche's works are formal experiments showing Cubist influences. What all these prints had in common was the artists' belief in the mission of the Bauhaus and its goal of reshaping modern life through art and design. The sales of the portfolio benefited the school, which was in dire need of funds during the period of runaway inflation in the early years of the Weimar Republic.
As head of the Bauhaus printing workshop, Feininger directed the monumental project. In addition to designing the portfolio cover and lettering, he oversaw the hand-printing of the entire edition, a process that consisted of rendering more than eight hundred compositions of varying levels of technical complexity onto a range of papers. This painstaking production reflects Feininger's emphasis on the artistic, rather than the reproductive, aspect of printmaking as well as the Bauhaus's craft orientation in its early years.