Gunta (Aldegunde) Stölz.  Drawing: Design for Double Woven Cloth, ca. 1926. Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund. 2011-3-1. 

Pulsating Life

Gunta (Aldegunde) Stölzl is known for her weaving and teaching at the Bauhaus. Her compelling textile designs, which play on line and color, appeal as independent artworks in themselves.

Stölzl began at the Bauhaus as a student, where she trained in the fine and decorative arts. In a diary entry from 1919-1920, Stölzl remarked on the process: "[Hans Itten's] first words were about rhythm. One must first educate one's hand, first make the fingers supple. We do finger exercises just like a pianist does. In the beginning we already send through what it is that rhythm occurs; and endless circular movement begun with the fingertips, the movement floods through the wrist elbow and shoulder it the heart; one must feel this with every mark, every line; no more drawing that is not experienced, no half understood rhythm. Drawing is not the reproduction of what is seen, but making whatever one senses through external stimulus (natural internal too) flow through one's entire body; then it re-emerges as something entirely personal, as some kind of artistic creation or, more simple, as pulsating life..." This "pulsating life" that Stölzl wrote of can be seen in staccato rhythm of the blocks of color and short black lines placed around the border of the design.

Color was also an essential element for Stölzl. Before entering the Bauhaus she practiced art on her own, painting vibrant watercolor landscapes, while she worked as a nurse during the brutal years of World War I. Stölzl brought this vibrancy to her textiles as well. Her woven rugs and wall-hangings, as well as her designs for factory-produced textiles, are composed of subtly interrelated forms and colors. Stölzl also sought out this aesthetic in her students. The beginning of her introductory textile classes was a period in which the students could experiment with the art form, rather than impressing technical skills upon them. Stölzl would then analyze the students' aesthetics, particularly looking for a sense of color, which she viewed as a prerequisite for aptitude in textile work.

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