Sotheby’s Story Café reunites the women weavers of the Bauhaus
Christopher Farr x Sotheby’s Story Café brings together again the pioneering women weavers of the Bauhaus; Gunta Stölzl and Anni Albers. The display will run until late May 2023, as part of the Sotheby’s (Women) Artists Campaign. Sotheby’s Story Café, in the heart of Mayfair, continues our long-standing relationship with the auction house.
Tucked just around the corner from New Bond St, the prestigious corner site with its generous Georgian proportions and five expansive windows allow passersby an insight into the world of the women artists. The striking patterns and bold colours work together in union much like the actual relationship between Stölzl and Albers; Stölzl, the first female master at the Bauhaus and Albers under her tutelage. Timeless and modern, the wallcoverings are ‘Child’s Check’ from the new Anni Albers collection, paired with the Gunta Stölzl ‘675’ rug, handknotted in handspun wool. The window nooks invite visitors to settle in amongst the printed and woven textile seating and cushions from the Anni Albers collection. Additional rugs from Gunta Stölzl are displayed through the Sotheby’s gallery entrance.
Until Stölzl arrived at the Bauhaus, the weaving workshop had been a somewhat neglected department but was transformed into one of its most successful facilities. During her tenure, she updated the focus from pictorial work to more industrial designs, introducing radical ideas from the world of modern art to weaving, and initiated experiments in materials and methods that helped shift weaving into the modern age. As that time the only female master of the Bauhaus, textile artist Gunta Stölzl is arguably the single most influential figure in the modern history of Western woven art.
Joined later by Anni Albers – who was prevented from studying other disciplines as a woman – the two artists formed a close bond, with Albers later taking over as head of the department of Weaving. Her work prompted a new awakening in the importance of textile art. This kickstarted a lifelong passion for textiles’ tactile and aesthetic possibilities and led her to the US, where she became the first textile artist to be honoured with a show at the Museum of Modern Art – and the most famous weaver of the modern age.
The influence of the legendary Bauhaus school of design and its bold new approach to opening creative minds is described by Gunta Stölzl in her first few days there…
‘Just two days and how rich they have been…Gropius’ (sic) first words were about rhythm. First, one has to train one’s hand, make the fingers flexible; we do finger exercises just as pianists do. We begin to feel what makes rhythm come into being, endless circular motions, starting with the tips of the fingers, the movement flows into the wrist, the elbows, the shoulders, up to the heart. One has to feel it in every stroke, every line; no more drawing without feeling, no more half-comprehended rhythm. Drawing is not replicating what we see, but instead letting flow through the entire body that which we feel through external stimulus (as well as through purely internal stimulus, of course). It then comes out again a something that is definitely one’s own, some artistic creation or, more simply, pulsating life. When we draw a circle, the emotion of the circle has to vibrate throughout the entire body.”’
The Story Café is Open to the Public:
Monday to Friday 8:30 AM–4:30 PM
Saturday 11:00 AM–4:30 PM, Sunday 12:00 PM–4:30 PM
Corner of St Georges St & Conduit St, Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond Street, London, W1A 2AA