Until November, the TextielMuseum in Tilburg, the Netherlands, is showing an exhibition: ‘Bauhaus & Modern Textiles in the Netherlands’ focusing on the women of the Bauhaus. While male Bauhaus icons such as Marcel Breuer and Wassily Kandinsky have long been a focal point, the museum is putting the institute’s women in the spotlight.
The exhibition reveals how weavers Kitty van der Mijll Dekker, Greten Neter-Kähler, Lisbeth Oestreicher and Otti Berger have influenced Dutch textile design.
Despite striving for equality in the choice of occupations on offer at the Bauhaus, female students were strongly encouraged to opt for the weaving department. Crafts and working with ‘soft’ materials were considered female pursuits and had a lower status than painting or architecture.
Although the weaving department often stood in the shadow of the other departments, it is here that the Bauhaus ideals of functionality and affordable mass production flourished. Fabrics made in Dessau are some of the most commercially successful products of the entire school.
The exhibition takes you into the world of the Bauhaus weaving atelier and reveals the wealth of experimental textiles by teachers Gunta Stölzl (the only female Bauhaus Meister), Anni Albers and students that would later go on to work in the Netherlands. The unique teaching material offers an insight into the creative process: design based on technique, with attention to colour and new materials such as cellophane and steel thread.
Through the eyes of weavers Kitty van der Mijll Dekker, Greten Neter-Kähler, Otti Berger and Lisbeth Oestreicher you can see how the Bauhaus ideals shaped their work in the Netherlands, influencing later generations of textile designers and artists.
The ‘Bauhaus & Modern Textiles in the Netherlands’ exhibition can be seen at the TextielMuseum until 3 November 2019.