Kandinsky/Klee House

The East German town of Dessau seems unassuming at first glance. A concrete road opens up before us as we exit its sleepy train station early in the morning, slowly leading us to Dessau’s famous seven white letters, emblazoned on a building’s side: “B A U H A U S”. Busses stop intermittently, though travel groups have yet to descend on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The brainchild of Walter Gropius and his pivotal concept of unifying education in the arts and crafts, the seminal art school established the town as a hub for creative production between 1925 and its dissolution in 1933.

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Strung along Ebertallee, a short stroll from the educational facilities, three identical semi-attached houses embody some of Gropius’ spatial inventions, realized with a keen emphasis on simplicity and usefulness in materials and design. Reading the list of their former residents feels like browsing an A-list of Modernist household names: Lyonel Feininger, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Georg Muche, Oskar Schlemmer, Paul Klee, and Vasily Kandinsky, to name the most celebrated figures. We’re here to visit the Westernmost building of the three, and to trace integral periods in the lives of Swiss-born artist Klee and Russian painter Kandinsky. Pine trees line the avenue, their leaves glistening in the morning light. Sunlight streams through the dense woods and into the generous floor-to-ceiling windows of the street-facing studios.

Read more in Issue no.12

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