2019 marks 100 years since the founding of the Bauhaus School of Art and Design in Weimar, Germany. Unusually for its time, women were admitted to the groundbreaking institution – however they were met with ambiguous responses from faculty and administration and placed into ‘feminine’ and ‘domestic’ courses, such as weaving. A new book remembers some of these overlooked women: Bauhausmädels. A Tribute to Pioneering Women Artists (Taschen, 2019) documents 87 artists and artisans through texts and photographs.
‘The Bauhaus gal knows what she wants and will make it anywhere,’ wrote an anonymous writer in German newspaper Die Woche, in 1930.
Elsa Franke studied at the Bauhaus Dessau from 1929-31. She trained in typography and advertising under Joost Schmidt and in photography under Walter Peterhans.
Margaret Leiteritz was a librarian and painter. After graduating from the Bauhaus in the late 1920s, she worked as the school’s representative to the Rasch wallpaper factory, where she oversaw production and colour selection.
Margarete Willers was a textile designer and painter. She worked at the Dessau Bauhaus in an experimental workshop attached to the handweaving department. In 1935 she was awarded the right to train apprentices and taught students until 1966.
Hilde Hubbuch was a portrait photographer. In later life she moved to America and photographed New York’s upper classes, specializing in children and young people.
Lis Beyer trained and later worked in the weaving workshop at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau. She was head of the weaving class at the Max Schule in Würzburg, and made work throughout her life.