Collecting Bauhaus

2 – 5 December 2019
Bauhaus Building /
Bauhaus Museum Dessau

It was in the year 1947, when Walter Gropius and Charles Kuhn realized their joint idea for a Bauhaus Study Collection at the then Germanic Museum of the Harvard University. Meanwhile the collection of the present Busch-Reisinger Museum in Cambridge has become one of the largest convolutes of Bauhaus objects in North America. Like many Bauhaus-related collections all over the world, its development is directly connected to the dramatical history of closure, expulsion and exile in the 20th century.

The Conference:

The international conference Collecting Bauhaus will be the final event of the centenary. Curators, collectors, art historians, teachers and representatives of museums are invited to come to Dessau and talk about the globally dispersed histories of objects and collections of the Bauhaus.   

The Bauhaus Archive Berlin, die Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and the Klassik Stiftung Weimar are the institutions with the three largest Bauhaus collections of the world. However, the Bauhaus is not just national but international heritage. Bauhaus objects and convolutes are dispersed all over the world. The closure of the Bauhaus by the National Socialists, the defamation of its works as “degenerated”, flight and emigration have led to the situation that Bauhaus objects are being collected all over the world.  

The conference Collecting Bauhaus shows that the new Bauhaus Museum Dessau is part of a worldwide network of museums with Bauhaus collections. They are often linked with both private fates in the turbulent 20th century and the mechanisms and dynamics of the international art market. The participants will talk about the multifaceted provenances of the collections and the varying exhibition and teaching strategies, and on this basis, discuss issues of a global Bauhaus historiography. And finally, it should be reflected on how the global interconnections can be made fruitful for a Bauhaus museum in the 21st century.   


Museum of Modern Art, New York, US
Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung, Berlin, DE
Klassik Stiftung Weimar, DE
Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, US
China Design Museum, Hangzhou, CN
gta Archive, ETH Zurich, CH
Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany, US
Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum, Munich, DE
Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, NL
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, NL
Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, DE
Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, DE
and many more …

The Bauhaus Dessau Foundation is a non-profit foundation ­under public law. It is institutionally funded by the German­ ­Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media, the State of Saxony-Anhalt, and the City of Dessau-Roßlau. The Conference Collecting Bauhaus is generously funded by: