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Bauhaus& | Modern Textiles in The Netherlands

25. Mai 2019 - 3. November 2019

2019 marks 100 years since the Bauhaus, a progressive school for art, architecture and design, was founded in Germany. A century on, the school’s ideas and teaching methods continue to resonate around the world. The modern and idealistic design philosophy also left its mark on Dutch textiles. The exhibition Bauhaus& | Modern Textiles in the Netherlands highlights the influence of the Bauhaus on Dutch textile design and traces its history from past to present. A handful of Bauhäusler, as the students were called, graduated from the Bauhaus’ weaving workshop in Dessau and came to work the Netherlands. They inspired subsequent generations of textile designers and artists. This exhibition also focuses on four contemporary artists, whom the TextielMuseum commissioned to make new work that reflects on the heritage of the famous school.

Bauhaus& the weavers

The Bauhaus formulated a radically different view of design than the predominant ideas of the 19th century. In the weaving workshop, functionality, (affordable) mass production and consumable fabrics were a high priority. The exhibition immerses visitors in the world of the Bauhaus’ weaving workshop and displays the diversity of textiles, colour and material experiments by Gunta Stölzl, Anni Albers, Otti Berger and the students who would later work in the Netherlands. Through the eyes of Kitty van der Mijll Dekker, Greten Neter-Kähler, Lisbeth Oestreicher and Otti Berger, we see what the Bauhaus principles meant to them and how this shaped their own practice. Unique teaching materials from their student years, from the TextielMuseum’s collection, shed light on their approach: design with a high degree of technical proficiency, using new materials such as cellophane and iron yarn.

The female Bauhaus weavers were long overshadowed by their male colleagues like Paul Klee, Johannes Itten and Wassily Kandinsky, although their fabrics fully conformed to the Bauhaus ideal and enjoyed widespread popularity. These women have slowly gained recognition, including in prominent museums such as MoMA and Tate.

This exhibition serves to give Dutch weavers their rightful place in textile history.


Photo: Kitty van der Mijll Dekker in her weaving atelier in Nunspeet, 1935, collection TextielMuseum

Bauhaus& later generations
Kitty van der Mijll Dekker and Greten Neter-Kähler also left their mark on art curricula. For decades, they were lecturers at the Institute for Applied Arts Education, now the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. Their ideas, which owed much to the Bauhaus principles, found fertile ground in the work of new generations of designers and artists such as Herman Scholten, Margot Rolf and Maria Blaisse, and helped to ensure that textiles were given a ‘modern’ look. The ‘heavy’ and decorative textiles of Art Nouveau and the Amsterdam School, which had long been popular in the Netherlands, were replaced by light, airy fabrics with abstract designs. The development towards an autonomous textile art also takes place from the 1970s.

Bauhaus& the TextielLab
The TextielMuseum used the Bauhaus’ 100-year anniversary as an opportunity to invite four artists to produce new pieces for the museum’s collection in the TextielLab. Saskia Noor van Imhoff, Krijn de Koning, Marijn van Kreij and Koen Taselaar used the high- and low-tech possibilities in the TextielLab to shape their ideas, which were inspired by the Bauhaus.


25. Mai 2019
3. November 2019


Textielmuseum Tilburg
Goirkestraat 96
Tilburg, NL - 5046
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