On 3 December 1918, in Berlin, visual artists, writers, architects, and film-makers founded the November Group. Its name refers to the revolutionary events of November 1918 in Germany. The members of the group saw themselves as “revolutionaries of the mind”. They wanted to play an active part in the shaping society, mainly in the sphere of arts, and to be “radical as to the use of new means of expression”. From 1918 to 1922 the group, which existed until 1933, experienced their most powerful period, reflected in an unprecedented variety of styles and artistic experiments.
On the annual Great Berlin Art Exhibition the group had a room of their own, where German and European avant-garde presented their works. The artists’ association also organized their own periodical exhibitions, often together with members of their local branches, as the groups Rih and Üecht.
Principal initiators of the November Group were Max Pechstein, César Klein, Georg Tappert, Moriz Melzer, and Heinrich Richter-Berlin.
Among the major artists of the November Group there were Wassily Kandinsky, Heinrich Campendonck, Lyonel Feininger, Otto Freundlich, Paul Klee, Käthe Kollwitz, Hugo Häring, Erich Mendelsohn, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Alban Berg, Kurt Weil, and Bertold Brecht.
In visual arts and architecture, the concept of Classical Modern Art refers to the pioneering trends developing between 1900 and 1937. Whereas in the 19th century a plurality of styles caused the revival of past arts schools, in the first half of the 20th century, a multitude of new art styles revolutionised everything that had existed so far. Independently from each other, artists of different nationalities abandoned traditional styles, as e.g., representational painting and sculpting, in order to find out the truth behind the objects. Fauvism, cubism, constructivism, futurism, expressionism. dadaism, supremacism, and surrealism are among the major new art movements. Following their seizure of power in Germany, the National Socialists enforced the end of Classical Modern Art, i.a. by the propaganda exhibition “Degenerate Art”, or by the exclusion of artists from taking part in exhibitions, or their professional disqualification.
The Staatliche Bauhaus was founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius as a art college in Weimar. As the keynote of his education, the architect Gropius focussed on construction as well as on the mutual cooperation of all arts in construction. Before teaching architecture was given top priority, mainly renowned painters and sculptors as Lyonel Feininger, Johannes Itten, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Oskar Schlemmer and Gerhard Marcks were teaching at the college. Internationally, there was a strong demand for architects who had graduated from the Bauhaus; other graduates obtained high recognition for their artistic performance as painters, sculptors, and photographers.
Up to its liquidation by the National Socialists in 1933, the Bauhaus had developed into a home of the avant-garde in all liberal and applied arts. Its all-embracing creative principles gained national as well as international acceptance, marking the Classical Modern Art in architecture, art and design, and influencing, up to now, the work of artists in different fields.