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Artists Walter Gropius
Walter Gropius Photo

Walter Gropius

German Architect

Movements and Styles: Bauhaus, The International Style

Born: May 18, 1883 - Berlin, Germany

Died: July 5, 1969 - Massachusetts, USA

Walter Gropius Timeline

Quotes

"Artists, let us at last break down the walls erected by our deforming academic training between the 'arts' and all of us become builders again! Let us together will, think out, create the new idea of architecture"
Walter Gropius
"Architects, sculptors, painters, we must all return to the crafts! For there is no 'professional art'."
Walter Gropius
"Painters and sculptors, become craftsmen again, smash the frame of salon art that is around your pictures, go into the buildings, bless them with fairy tales of color, chisel ideas into the bare walls - and build in imagination, unconcerned about technical difficulties. The boon of imagination is always more important that all technique, which always adapts itself to man's creative will"
Walter Gropius
"The true task of the socialist state is to exterminate this evil demon of commercialism and to make the active spirit of construction bloom again among the people"
Walter Gropius
"We want to create the purely organic building, boldly emanating its inner laws, free of untruths or ornamentation"
Walter Gropius
"The ultimate goal of all artistic activity is the building! To decorate it was once the noblest task of the visual arts, they were indissoluble components of the great art of building"
Walter Gropius
"Art and technology, a new unity! Technology does not need art, but art very much needs technology - example: architecture! They differ in nature; therefore their addition is not possible, but their common creative source must be explored and rediscovered by those who are endeavoring to establish the 'new idea of building'. The means: through preparatory training for these people in the crafts and technology"
Walter Gropius
"As to my practice, when I built my first house in the U.S.A. - which was my own - I made it a point to absorb into my own conception those features of the New England architectural tradition that I found still alive and adequate. This fusion of the regional spirit with a contemporary approach to design produced a house that I would never have built in Europe with its entirely different climatic, technical and psychological background"
Walter Gropius

"We cannot go on indefinitely reviving revivals...Neither medievalism nor colonialism can express the life of the 20th-century man. There is no finality in architecture - only continuous change"

Walter Gropius Signature

Synopsis

Not only was Walter Gropius one of the pioneers of modern architecture, he was the founder of the Bauhaus, a revolutionary art school in Germany. The Bauhaus replaced traditional teaching methods with a flexible artistic community, focusing on a collaborative approach to learning and the creation of integrated design projects. Later, the Bauhaus also incorporated mass production techniques into its output, designing objects and buildings for a wide audience. The school taught some of the most famous names in modernism as well as attracting established artists working within the fields. Despite its relatively short-lived existence, the Bauhaus and the design styles associated with it were hugely influential on a global scale, but particularly so in the United States where many of the artists moved before and during the Second World War to escape persecution by the Nazis.

Key Ideas

Gropius believed that all design should be approached through a study of the problems that needed to be addressed and he consequently followed the modernist principle that functionality should dictate form. He applied these beliefs to wider social issues, designing affordable housing in the interwar period and seeking to improve physical conditions for factory workers through his architecture.
As well as pushing boundaries in architectural design, Gropius also experimented with innovative building and assembly techniques using prefabricated units and new materials such as reinforced concrete. Similar ideas were later utilised to create cheap, mass produced housing in the 1940s (known as prefabs).
Gropius is credited with the introduction of modernist architecture to the United States through his design of the Gropius House and his teaching at Harvard University. Gropius's buildings were in stark contrast to previous architectural styles and were characterised by their cubic design, flat roofs and expanses of glass that allowed for a merging of interior and exterior spaces.

Biography

Walter Gropius Photo

Childhood

Walter Gropius was born in Berlin to Walter Adolph Gropius, a government official and Manon Auguste Pauline Scharnweber, the daughter of the Prussian politician Georg Scharnweber. His parents were wealthy and well connected and Gropius spent his summers on the estates of landowning members of the family. Walter Gropius Senior had a keen interest in architecture and Gropius's uncle, Martin Gropius, was also an established architect, his biggest commission being the design for the Museum of Decorative Arts in Berlin (1881), consequently Gropius's interest in architecture was encouraged from a young age.

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Walter Gropius Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Walter Gropius
Interactive chart with Walter Gropius's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Peter Behrens
Adolf Meyer
Le CorbusierLe Corbusier
Ludwig Mies van der RoheLudwig Mies van der Rohe

Personal Contacts

Paul KleePaul Klee
Josef AlbersJosef Albers
László Moholy-NagyLászló Moholy-Nagy
Wassily KandinskyWassily Kandinsky
Marcel BreuerMarcel Breuer

Movements

ExpressionismExpressionism
Arts and Crafts MovementArts and Crafts Movement
ConstructivismConstructivism
De StijlDe Stijl
DadaDada

Influences on Artist
Walter Gropius
Walter Gropius
Years Worked: 1907 - 1969
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Lyonel FeiningerLyonel Feininger
Maxwell Fry
John Harkness
Norman Fletcher
Jean Fletcher

Personal Contacts

Herbert BayerHerbert Bayer
Hannes MeyerHannes Meyer
Marianne BrandtMarianne Brandt
Karel Teige
Marcel BreuerMarcel Breuer

Movements

The International StyleThe International Style
BauhausBauhaus
BrutalismBrutalism

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Alexandra Banister

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kate Stephenson

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Alexandra Banister
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kate Stephenson
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