Gunta Stölzl
1897 - 1983

Her aim was to create “models for industry”. And this came to fruition: the first companies began to order Bauhaus materials and the textile workshop took on commissions such as designing curtains and wall coverings for the café at the Friedrich Theater in Dessau, or complete textile furnishing for the trade union school in Bernau. Bedspreads were made for the studio house at the Bauhaus, as well as textile upholstery for the tubular steel chairs of Bauhaus architect and designer Marcel Breuer.

When the Bauhaus established its construction department, the textile workshop was nearly bursting at the seams: innovative textiles now had to be developed for every conceivable living space under the concept of “New Building”: light-absorbing, washable curtains, noise-reducing tapestries, durable and wear-resistant piece goods. To deliver modern, technically perfect products, Gunta Stölzl developed an eight-semester training course in Dessau which began in 1929 and could be completed alongside the Bauhaus diploma. Teaching was separated into two divisions: “Developing functional fabrics for interior design (models for industry)” and “Speculative engagement with material, shapes, colors in tapestries and rugs”.  

The new products were presented at sales exhibitions such as the Leipzig trade fair. Ultimately, the weaving mill progressed to become one of the most financially successful and profitable Bauhaus resources, or as Gunta Stölzl calculated, “the highest-earning workshop”. But this also added continual pressure for economic success: the trend for reproducible mass goods was unmistakable. Stölzl suffered from the constantly increasing pressure: “Everything has to yield a profit – that is, it has to have monetary value. This capitalistic enterprise is not ideal. It’s just like everything else outside,” she complained.

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