Walter Gropius: THE NEW ARCHITECTURE AND THE BAUHAUS. London/New York: Faber and Faber/the Museum of Modern Art, [n. d. 1936]. First American edition. Octavo. Oatmeal cloth stamped in red. 80 pp. 16 black and white plates. Spine cloth slightly darkened and endpapers faintly spotted. Uncommon in the first-issue state. A very good or better copy.
5.75 x 8.25 book with 80 glossy pages, including 16 full-pages black and white photographs. This is the book where Gropius attempted to spell out his theories of the new architecture he had incubated and formalized while Director of the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau from 1919 to 1928.
"Only work which is the product of inner compulsion can have spiritual meaning." -- Walter Gropius
American industrial, cultural and educational ambassadors were eager to embrace the refugees fleeing the coming storm in Europe. Joseph Hudnut invited Walter Gropius to join the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Association of Arts and Industries financed the New Bauahuas in Chicago under Moholy-Nagy, Josef and Anni Albers helped developed the experimental teachings at Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina, Mies van der Rohe assumed leadership of the Architecture program at the Armour Institute, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Alfred Barr and the Museum of Modern Art hosted art, architecture and design exhibitions devoted to the Bauhaus ideas.
The underlying idea Bauhaus formulated by Gropius, was to create a new unity of crafts, art and technology. The intention was to offer the right environment for the realization of the Gesamtkunstwerk [total work of art]. To achieve this goal, students needed a school with an interdisciplinary and international orientation. The Bauhaus curriculum offered a unique combination of research, teaching and practice that was unequalled by rival academies and schools of applied art. This educational paradigm was widely embraced by institutions in the United States trying to emerge from the depths of the Great Depression.
The Harvard Graduate School of Design is widely regarded as the cradle of American modern architecture. Professor Joseph Hudnut created the GSD by uniting the three formerly separate programs of architecture, landscape architecture, and city planning in 1935. He got rid of antique statuary, replaced mullioned windows with plate glass, and hired Walter Gropius to head the architecture program.
During his tenure at Harvard—from 1937 to 1952—Gropius oversaw the end of the academic French Beaux-Arts method of educating architects. Gropius’s philosophy placed an emphasis on industrial materials and technology, functionality, collaboration among different professions, and a complete rejection of historical precedent.
Assisted by Bauhaus colleague Marcel Breuer, Gropius educated a generation of architects who radically altered the landscape of postwar America, including Edward Larrabee Barnes, Garrett Eckbo, Lawrence Halprin, Dan Kiley, Philip Johnson, Eliot Noyes, I.M. Pei, Paul Rudolph, Edward Durell Stone, and many others.
According to a Museum of Modern Art advertisement in Shelter: A Correlating Medium For Housing Progress [New York: Shelter Research, Volume 3, Number 1, March 1938] a limited edition of 200 copies of THE NEW ARCHITECTURE AND THE BAUHAUS with an introduction by Joseph Hudnut has been printed in London. If this information is correct, the MoMA-published edition of this book is quite a rarity.
Born and educated in Germany, Walter Gropius (1883-1969) belongs to the select group of architects that massively influenced the international development of modern architecture. As the founding director of the Bauhaus, Gropius made inestimable contributions to his field, to the point that knowing his work is crucial to understanding Modernism. His early buildings, such Fagus Boot-Last Factory and the Bauhaus Building in Dessau, with their use of glass and industrial features, are still indispensable points of reference. After his emigration to the United States, he influenced the education of architects there and became, along with Mies van der Rohe, a leading proponent of the International Style.