Marianne Brandt (1893-1983) was a German designer, painter, sculptor, photographer, metalsmith. She began her education in art in 1911 at a private art school in Weimar to study painting. Afterwards, she joined the Bauhaus art school in Weimar where she studied painting with the artists. Later she became head of the Bauhaus Metall-Werkstatt (Metal Workshop) in Dessau (1927). She later worked at Walter Gropius architecture office from July to December 1929.
She worked as head of the design department of the company Ruppelwerk Metallwarenfabrik GmbH in Gotha until 1932. In 1949, she worked at the University of Applied Arts (now the Berlin Weißensee School of Art) until 1954. In the year, 1954 she also supervised the exhibition, The German applied art of the GDR) in Beijing and Shanghai in 1953-54.
The women in design
Bradt was recognized worldwide for her artistic, unique approach to metalwork. She was the only appointed female individual in the Bauhaus design department. She out shown among her other peers with her attention to art and incorporating in her metal pieces.
Objects of Metal
She specializes in work in metal, well known for designing objects such as metal ashtrays, tea, and coffee services, lamps, and other household objects are among the best in the Weimar and Dessau Bauhaus.
She is considered one among the many individuals responsible for the success of the Bauhaus Art Movement. She is well known for her works of objects in metal craft and photography skills. During that period, she was well known for her delicate artistic touch in industrial design. She stood out among other men for her skills in industrial products made from metal/glass. She was one among the few whose designs were produced in mass during the interwar period.
Her ideologies mainly focus on creating a beautiful piece of objects which blends modern ideology with deep-rooted functionalism yet defining the principles of the innovative Bauhaus movement. She is also known for her exceptional number of photographs and photomontages. Her design of household objects like lamps, ashtrays and teapots are considered timeless, artistic examples of modern industrial design.
The design of her objects mainly focuses on a functionalist perspective that was a unique approach for her time. The household objects designed used clean yet simple lines reflected the Modernist influence of her mentor. She created many household pieces, of which the most recognized include ashtrays, teapots (Especially the now-iconic Model No. MT 49 teapot, 1924), coffee sets, and lamp designs. The lamps designed were most recognized among other objects.
The works designed by Brandt one can identify as it was, designed yesterday but Brandt created these pieces a long time ago. The idea thought processes were more advanced and more modern with the industrial feel of the Bauhaus art movement period.
Her interest in photography began in 1923 with a self-portrait, Selbstporträt mit Lilien (Self-Portrait with Lilies). In the year 1929, she became active with the Bauhaus magazine. She was well known for her photography skills at the Bauhaus. Her photographs showcased the most unusual angles, self-portraits, disorienting and distorting reflections in glass and metal surfaces.
Most of her photographs focus on creating experimental still-life compositions. Her most striking photograph is a series of self-portraits of herself. These self-portraits represent her as a strong and independent New Woman of the Bauhaus.
The lacquered steel bedside table lamp appears to be simple yet with intricate attention to detail! It has no decoration or added style of any particular designer. Its design is generic with a very thoughtful design process in which each aspect of the lamp is given importance.
She was one of the female individuals who people respected and appreciated for her approach to stand out with skills among the sea of the male population. She was among the female individuals who helped shape the Bauhaus Art movement. She was an inspiration to many!
Marianne Brandt in her “Letter to the Younger Generation” (1970) said:
“At first, I was not accepted with pleasure—there was no place for a woman in a metal workshop, they felt. They admitted this to me later on and meanwhile expressed their displeasure by giving me all sorts of dull, dreary work. How many little hemispheres did I most patiently hammer out of brittle new silver, thinking that was the way it had to be and all beginnings are hard. Later things settled down, and we got along well together.”