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Pioneers of Design Education.

New Perspectives on German Schools of Decorative Arts before the Bauhaus

Pioneers of Design Education.

New Perspectives on German Schools of Decorative Arts before the Bauhaus

Date

2021 – 2025

Team

Dr. Sandra König (DE)
Dr. Anna-Sophie Laug (DE)
Alexandra Panzert (DE)
Kerstin Stöver (DE)

Expertise

Decorative Art
Design Education
Education History
Institutional and Personal Networks
Theory & Practice
Collections of Teaching Materials
Social History
Education of Women / Women in Teaching
Economic History

Links

Project page on the SKD site

During the 19th century, when industrialisation profoundly altered living conditions and manufacturing, schools of decorative arts (Kunstgewerbeschulen) emerged as innovative places for arts and crafts education. At the same time, museums of decorative arts were established to educate the taste of designers and consumers alike. Schools and museums of decorative arts were often linked on an institutional level.

Although early German Schools of Decorative Arts were pioneers of modern design, they still lack basic art historical research, especially from their origins in the middle of the 19th century up to the Weimar Republic. A deeper understanding of the development of the school system before the Bauhaus period has yet to be gained and there has been no focus on individual institutions. The network will depict the many facets of the schools from this period, the  challenges they faced, and the solutions they developed which are still relevant today, such as theory-practice relationships and issues of social design.   

Our approach:
Scholars from universities, art schools, museums, and the freelance world use the extensive and interdisciplinary network to exchange ideas and discuss German schools of decorative arts in their socio-cultural and international context. They are interested in basic knowledge about the schools’ histories and general themes, like curricula, reforms, collections of teaching materials, typology, personalities, and historical networks.

People at the Königlich-Sächsische Kunstgewerbeschule Dresden – photograph in the studio? Labelled Stall“, 1903/1905 © Archive Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden, Bildarchiv, Sign. 08.01/4, Nr. 1

Building of the Königliche Kunstgewerbeschule Dresden, um 1912 © Private collection

Gertrud Heinrich: Staatliche Akademie für Kunstgewerbe, Teaching Material Collection, 1941 © SLUB Dresden / Deutsche Fotothek / Gertrud Heinrich

Rudolf Kroll: Dresden. Studio party at the Kunstgewerbeschule, 1911/1915 [detail] © SLUB Dresden / Deutsche Fotothek / Rudolf Kroll

Prof. Margarete Junge‘s women‘s class at the Königlich-Sächsische Kunstgewerbeschule Dresden, 1911 © Archive Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden, Bildarchiv, Sign. 08.01/15
Prof. Margarete Junge‘s women‘s class at the Königlich-Sächsische Kunstgewerbeschule Dresden, 1911 © Archive Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden, Bildarchiv, Sign. 08.01/15