The 2019 anniversary year brought the women of the Bauhaus to renewed attention. But much is still in the dark: Of the approximately 460 female students recorded at the Bauhaus, for example, only two-thirds of their biographical data is known. Traditional role concepts, marriage and name changes or the often difficult living conditions of single women meant that they were not always able to freely develop their artistic talent, their work has not been preserved and their lives have left hardly any traces in the archives. The National Socialist takeover in 1933 had a particular impact on female Bauhaus members. Persecuted by the Nazi regime, some met an early death. They became victims of Stalinist purges in exile, died due to illness or in the bombing nights of the Second World War.
The exhibition project "Forgotten Bauhaus Women" by the University of Erfurt and the Klassik Stiftung Weimar is now dedicated to researching these fates, more than thirty of which will be presented at the Bauhaus Museum Weimar from October 2021. "Remembering the early different Bauhäusler women contributes to the differentiated reappraisal of Bauhaus history under National Socialism and exile and thus links the discourse on gender and contemporary history," explains Professor Patrick Rössler from the University of Erfurt. But not all women were persecuted; some even conformed to the new ideology and joined the NSDAP: "These life paths should be shown in their diversity in order to prevent the false impression that there was one, typical women's fate in the 1930s," says Dr Anke Blümm (University of Erfurt/Klassik Stiftung Weimar).
Supported by funding from the Thuringian State Chancellery, the new scientific findings are being translated into a biographical exhibition concept that presents archive material and works of art. These illustrate the breadth of female artistic talent that spanned almost all of the Bauhaus workshops - from architecture, photography and advertising to bookbinding, ceramic work, painting, sculpture and textile design in the weaving mill. "The exhibition theme fits in perfectly with the Klassik Stiftung Weimar's efforts to focus on the ambivalent relationship between modernism and National Socialism," emphasises Professor Wolfgang Holler, Director General of the foundation's museums. Information boards in Weimar's city centre will draw attention to selected Bauhaus women in public spaces. A comprehensive catalogue will be published to accompany the show.