Witold Rybczynski: I'm puzzled by your describing Cranbrook as an Arts and Crafts Bauhaus. You've got it turned around! In the 90's the Prussian government sent architect Hermann Muthesius to its London Embassy for nine years to spy on why the Brits were beating them in massproduced design.
Even though HM would later (1907) help found the Deutsches Werkbund, he totally missed the real story in the 90's--Christopher Dresser, who said after he left the Philly Centennial Expo for a research trip to Japan: "I went to Japan a mere decorator, but returned a designer." Indeed I regard him as the de facto founder of ID. From 1877 on he created mass produced designs for several Brit factories, almost 50 years before Gropius promised the same but delivered only rarely--say,with William Wagenfeld and Marianne Brandt.
There's a pathetic bleat on a wallboard by Gropius in Bremen's new museum on hometown boy Wagenfeld that he was one of the very who achieved what he hungered after. Muthesius got sidetracked by his infatuation with William Morris, who hated factories! His long years of espionage resulted only in a splendid set of books on Arts and Crafts Villas. Cranbrook, on the other hand, was factory oriented from the get-go, with Knoll Asociates, the Eames pair,usw.
Eliel's 1911 Helsinki Main Train Station is what gave him the international rep that made George Booth get him to head Cranbrook. Albert Kahn was also involved. I would say Johannes Itten, a spiritualist Goofus, got Gropius so off on the wrong foot of A&C that he never really overcame the misorientation, and Hannes Meyer was a Commie flack, followed by Mies who was too busy(according to my old Chicago friend Bertrand Goldberg--Mies' best and last student in the Class of 1933) trying to explain to Nazi propagandist Alfred Rosenberg that he was not the same Mies whose first acclaimed work (1926) was a Denkmal to Communist founders Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemborg that he never really ever got around to directing the Berlin Bauhaus! Gropius's first St(artist) faculty is basically an A&C fantasy that led to the Free Art dodge that has turned our Art Schools into Shtick Factories.
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