Bauhaus Museum Dessau is one of the best places to learn about the movement and its artwork since it has the world’s second-largest collection of Bauhaus-related objects. Only the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin has more to show regarding the topic!
We visited the Bauhaus Museum in Dessau back in the summer of 2021. During that trip, we visited Dresden, Leipzig, Halle, and Dessau, and this museum was one of the most memorable parts. It was the first destination on our trip to celebrate the COVID-19 booster shot.
I have been working as a designer for more than 15 years, and the Bauhaus has heavily influenced my work and design perspective. Their work was presented to me when I wasn’t sure if this was the direction I wanted to take in life, and it changed my way of seeing the work I was doing.
Because of that, a visit to Dessau and to the Bauhaus Museum was more than necessary. I just don’t know why it took me so long to go there.
A brief introduction to the Bauhaus Museum Dessau
The Bauhaus Museum Dessau opened on September 8, 2019, to celebrate a hundred years of the Bauhaus. Before that, the collection from the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation wasn’t displayed in the way it deserved, and this is the first place where it can be seen as it is.
But the history of this museum goes back a few years. In 2015, Addenda Architects, a Barcelona-based architectural firm, won the international competition for the museum. They were chosen between the almost a thousand entries because they represented the Bauhaus spirit in a pragmatic and straightforward design.
Some of the elements in the building can be traced to the Bauhaus school building in Dessau. The impression of transparency, the lightness, and the place surfaces… The Bauhaus Museum Dessau feels like a manifesto of contemporary culture presented in the shape of architecture.
Even its location feels essential to the whole concept. The museums can be found between the city center and Beckerbruch Park, which continues the urban legacy and connects nature and construction. Also, it is an easy place to go once you leave the Dessau train station.
The structure of the Bauhaus Museum Dessau feels massive at the same time that it doesn’t. It’s a little odd since its size could be described as somewhere between a city block’s size and a building’s size. Maybe I got that feeling because of the way it reflects the city surrounding it or its four facades oriented towards the cardinal points. We will never know!
The Exhibition in the Bauhaus Museum Dessau
In November 1976, the Galerie am Sachsenplatz in Leipzig charged the city of Dessau for 148 works related to the Bauhaus School. It amounted to 145,000 Ostmark, ranging from furniture to ceramics, a mixture of pieces available. All these items were first exhibited in the Bauhaus building in December 1976 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Bauhaus.
This purchase created the core collection of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, which, nowadays, has almost 50,000 items.
Versuchsstätte Bauhaus. The collection is the name of the permanent exhibition at the Bauhaus Museum Dessau. It has over a thousand objects, from furniture and lights to textiles and works of graphic art and photography. All of this with a strong focus on the students and the school itself.
The exhibition’s goal is to present the day-to-day reality of the school and not focus on the design icons and masters that used to teach there. This is why the thematic sections are focused on the concept of teaching developed at the Bauhaus school and how it was a versatile testing ground for design within the manufacturing industry. As well as a creative and imaginative breeding ground for visual communication.
One of the most exciting points of the exhibition is how it presents the Bauhaus design ideas that are so familiar today in a historical context. At the same time, the exhibition presents the constraining factors of the time and the multiple crises that the school went through.
There, you will see that the Bauhaus school wasn’t supported by anyone. It faced criticism in a time of political change and cultural uncertainty. Making its existence even more important in my eyes.
Whenever you visit the Bauhaus Museum in Dessau, don’t forget to get a copy of Bauhaus Dessau’s book. The Collection. There, you will see an in-depth presentation of the collection available. It includes many works from Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and László Moholy-Nagy, one of my favourite teachers at the school. It’s more than worth it!
The Bauhaus Museum Dessau is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 until 18:00, and you can buy tickets here.
Bauhaus Museum Dessau: Visiting the second-largest collection of Bauhaus-related objects in the world