The first Virtual Exhibition created by the documenta archiv explores the question in which way Bauhaus concepts have inscribed themselves in the documenta idea. It will be available from August 15, 2019 at www.documenta-​bauhaus.de.

In an art-​historical approach, the exhibition follows indications as to the extent to which the first four documenta exhibitions referred to the Bauhaus or were influenced by it. The most important actors, the institutions involved, the exhibited works, the appreciation of art and the visual appearance of the documenta are examined. In addition to vivid illustrations, numerous impressive features, cross-​references and background information will enrich the narratives.

With almost 300 artworks, seventeen Bauhaus masters and students were represented at the first documenta exhibitions. In the first decades, the visual appearance of the documenta also shows parallels to Bauhaus graphics. The virtual exhibition documents these references and presents people, institutions and artworks involved in entertaining stories and close-ups.

The curator in charge, Dr. Birgit Jooss, director of the documenta archive, emphasizes: "We understand our first virtual exhibition as a curated presentation on the Internet, which starts from a relevant topic, is formally consistently implemented in exactly this medium and is self-contained. It is important for us to be able to reach not only the people on site, but all people worldwide."

The project was generously supported by the Hessische Kulturstiftung. Managing director Eva Claudia Scholtz emphasizes: "Thanks to an interdisciplinary cooperation around the documenta archiv in Kassel, we gain an impression of the ambivalent significance of the Bauhaus as a historical horizon for the first documenta exhibitions. I am delighted that in its anniversary year the relations between the great Kassel art show and the Bauhaus and its artists are being critically honoured."

The Narratives of the Virtual Exhibition
The Virtual Exhibition presents a total of nine longer stories and fourteen shorter close-ups.


  • Arnold Bode's first plan for documenta: art across national and genre borders
  • Bauhaus artists at the first documenta, 1955
  • b + d – A comparison of visual identity
  • Bauhaus artists at the second documenta, 1959
  • Experiences and principles of the Bauhaus for the New Kassel Werkakademie in the postwar period
  • Kassel in the 1920s - contacts to the Bauhaus
  • Applied art and design – the first three documenta exhibitions and their relation to Bauhaus ideas
  • Arnold Bode's contacts in Berlin in the early 1930s
  • Bauhaus artists at the third documenta, 1964


  • Werner Haftmann, the gray eminence of documenta
  • "A pantheon of superior men": Bauhaus artists in photo portraits
  • "Quintessence" of New Building: Bauhaus architectures in photo portraits
  • Fritz Winter - From Bauhaus to documenta
  • Hans Soeder and the reformation of the Kassel Art Academy
  • Arnold Bode as designer
  • The Rasch Wallpaper Factory - a cooperation project with the Bauhaus and Arnold Bode                     
  • The Städtische Werklehrer-​Seminar in Berlin
  • The Kroll Opera in Berlin – connections to Kassel and Dessau
  • "Do German designers have to be furious?" – the case of Wagenfeld
  • Primary colors and shapes at the Bauhaus
  • Brian Jungen's "Dog Run" at documenta 13

Project Team
Idea and concept: Birgit Jooss
Project management: Andrea Linnenkohl
Assistance: Verena Bornmann, Laura Diermann
Research and texts: Verena Bornmann, Laura Diermann, Martin Groh, Birgit Jooss, Harald Kimpel, Andrea Linnenkohl, Anna Rühl, Nathalie Schmidt
Digitization: Michael Gärtner, Lena Voss, Alexander Zeisberg
Translation into English: Burke Barrett
Design: Sven Thiery, L2M3 Stuttgart, Germany
Technical realization: Nina Grooten, Lutz Issler, Systemantics
Funding: documenta archiv, Hessische Kulturstiftung

Our sincere thanks go to all owners of copyrights and personal rights who kindly allowed us to publish the pictures in the virtual exhibition.

Image material
You can download images here.
Part of the "bauhaus | documenta" project
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus, the documenta archiv and the University of Kassel have launched a joint project that, for the first time, reflects the two institutions Bauhaus and documenta in comparison. This also includes the exhibition "bauhaus | documenta. Vision und Marke", which can be visited at the Neue Galerie in Kassel until 8 September 2019. Another part of this project is the Virtual Exhibition, which will go online this evening.

Project coordinators: Birgit Jooss and Philipp Oswalt

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