The Masters’ Houses of Dessau

They are the most famous colony of artists of the 20th century. At their time they epitomize modern living. Archetype for housing projects in Israel, in the USA, South America: The Masters’ Houses of Dessau. Daring and revolutionary buildings. In the summer of 90 years ago the first inhabitants moved in. Among them the director of the New Bauhaus Walter Gropius and the artists Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Oskar Schlemmer, Georg Muche and László Moholy-Nagy. They were teachers and so-called “masters” at the legendary school of arts that opened its doors on 4th of December 1926 in Dessau. By the end of the 1920s the Bauhaus people had established themselves in the town of Dessau and enjoyed a high prestige. They received guests from other German cities and from abroad. All famous artists of that time came at some point: Bela Bartók, Igor Strawinsky, Gret Palucca, Kasimir Malewitsch, Paul Hindemith, Marcel Duchamp, Solomon Guggenheim. The little colony had – and still has until today – a legendary reputation. A hotspot of the avant-garde that was later disfigured by the Nazis and partly destroyed by bombs on 7th March 1945. During GDR times the cubic villas were overbuilt and forfeited. Only after the fall of the Berlin wall the colony was restored and built anew and can now again tell its exciting history. We meet heirs of the Bauhaus like Konrad Feininger and Dirk Scheper, and other former residents like Ralph Walter Hagemann, and we talk about the influence these Masters’ Houses had and still have.

30 min., MDR
on Air: November 2016