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Farewell Dinner for Walter Gropius

  • Name (text):

    Farewell Dinner for Walter Gropius

    Word Count: 5

  • Kind of Event:
    Dinner
  • Start Date:
    09-03-1937
  • End Date:
    09-03-1937
  • Introduction:

    Friends and colleagues came together on 9 March 1937 to send off the architect Walter Gropius and his wife Ise Gropius, who had decided to leave for the United States.

    Word Count: 28

  • Content:

    Friends and colleagues came together on 9 March 1937 to send off Walter Gropius and his wife Ise Gropius, who had decided to leave Britain for the United States. The couple had arrived in London in Otober 1934, at the invitation of Jack Pritchard, owner of the Isokon furniture company and Lawn Road Flats (also known as the Isokon Building), where the Gropiuses lived during their stay in London (Burke 2015, 50f.; Daybelge 2019, 165–171). It was expected that Gropius, together with the architect Maxwell Fry, would design a second Isokon building for Manchester (Daybelge/Englund 2019, 83f.). In addition, the art historian Herbert Read planned to publish a book on Gropius with Faber & Faber. Gropius tried to establish himself as a freelance architect, but was only able to realise a few projects, among them Wood House in Shipbourne, Kent, and a villa in Chelsea.  Other projects – such as the Manchester Isokon building – failed, as did his plans to establish an English Bauhaus (Daybelge/Englund 2019, 119). In 1937, he accepted a professorship at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University in Cambridge/Mass.

    The farewell dinner, organised by Jack Pritchard and chaired by the biologist Julian Huxley, brought together many of the people Gropius had connected with during his stay in London and was held at the Trocadero Restaurant in Coventry Street on 9 March (Anker 2005, 9). It is likely that the Isobar, the restaurant at Lawn Road Flats, where Walter and Ise Gropius lived, had insufficient space to host the event. The Trocadero, meanwhile, was a more representative and well-known venue in London, with a history going back to the nineteenth century and having undergone redecoration in 1930 (http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/TrocaderoLeicesterSquareLondon.htm. Accessed 8 January 2021). The “Bill of Fare” menu was designed by László Moholy-Nagy, the Bauhaus artist who had also fled to London and was responsible for the Isokon brochures. The menu was printed by the Lund Humphries publishing house.

    The guest list of 135 shows that both local and émigré architects, artists and intellectuals were invited. Among the former were the architects Wells Coats, Maxwell Fry and art historian Herbert Read; the latter included artists and architects such as László Moholy-Nagy and Ernst L. Freud, as well as architecture historians Sigfried Giedion and Nikolaus Pevsner.
    The guest list reflects the multi-national nature of the artistic community in London at the time and features the names of many who subsequently departed the city. Of course, Gropius was under the first, moving to the United States, where he continued his architectural practice, taught at Harvard and became the ‘American Gropius.’ László Moholy-Nagy moved to Chicago and became director of the New Bauhaus. Nikolaus Pevsner, however, remained, and spent several years working on his monumental study, The Buildings of England. The architect Ernst L. Freud, son of Sigmund Freud, also continued to live in London, where he designed residential buildings and was involved in planning housing for migrants.

    Word Count: 482

  • Signature Image:
    László Moholy-Nagy, Bill of Fare, farewell dinner menu for Walter Gropius, London, March 1937, front page (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia, © László Moholy-Nagy).
  • Media:
    László Moholy-Nagy, Bill of Fare, farewell dinner menu for Walter Gropius, London, March 1937 (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia, © László Moholy-Nagy).
    László Moholy-Nagy, Bill of Fare, farewell dinner menu for Walter Gropius, London, March 1937, Alphabetical List of Guests (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia, © László Moholy-Nagy).
    Portrait of Walter Gropius, London, c. 1937 (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia). This photo was included in the Bill of Fare farewell dinner menu for Walter Gropius designed by László Moholy-Nagy.
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Anker, Peder. The Bauhaus of Nature. Louisiana State University Press, 2005.

    Burke, David. The Lawn Road Flats. Spies, Writers and Artists. The Boydell Press, 2014.

    Daybelge, Leyla. “The Lawn Road Flats.” Insiders Outsiders. Refugees from Nazi Europe and their Contribution to British Visual Culture, edited by Monica Bohm-Duchen, Lund Humphries, 2019, pp. 165–171.

    Daybelge, Leyla, and Magnus Englund. Isokon and the Bauhaus in Britain. Pavilion Books, 2019.

    Powers, Alan. Bauhaus goes West. Modern Art and Design in Britain and America. Thames & Hudson, 2019.

    Word Count: 78

  • Archives and Sources:

    Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia.

    Word Count: 6

  • Acknowledgements:

    My deepest thanks go to Bridget Gillies from University of East Anglia Archive for supporting me with images from the Pritchard Papers.

    Word Count: 22

  • Author:
    Burcu Dogramaci
  • Participants (selection):

    Serge Chermayeff, Ernst L. Freud, Sigfried Giedion, Julian Huxley, László Moholy-Nagy, Nikolaus Pevsner, Herbert Read, Ise Gropius, Walter Gropius.

    Word Count: 20

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    Trocadero Restaurant, 13–15 Coventry Street, Piccadilly Circus, London W1.

  • Metropolis:
    London
  • Entry in process:
    no
  • Burcu Dogramaci. "Farewell Dinner for Walter Gropius." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/1470/object/5141-7555508, last modified: 27-04-2021.
  • László Moholy-Nagy
    PhotographerGraphic DesignerPainterSculptor

    László Moholy-Nagy emigrated to London in 1935, where he worked in close contact with the local avantgarde and was commissioned for window display decoration, photo books, advertising and film work.

    Word Count: 30

    László Moholy-Nagy, Cover of sales leaflet for Marcel Breuer’s Isokon Long Chair, 1937 (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia, © László Moholy-Nagy).
    László Moholy-Nagy, Bill of Fare, farewell dinner menu for Walter Gropius, London, March 1937, front page (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia, © László Moholy-Nagy).Mary Benedetta. The Street Markets of London. Photographs by László Moholy-Nagy. (reissued 1972). Benjamin Blom, 1972, “Petticoat Lane: The Spectacle Man” and “Petticoat Lane: In a side street. Some Arabian visitors at a second-hand clothes stall” (Photo: Private Archive, © The Moholy-Nagy Foundation).Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, their triplets and Hattula Moholy-Nagy at 7 Farm Walk, the London home of László and Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, June 1936 (provided by The Moholy-Nagy Foundation).
    London
    Julian Huxley
    ZoologistPhilosopherWriter

    Julian Huxley was the director of London Zoo from 1935 to 1942 and worked closely with emigrant photographers, artists and architects, including Berthold Lubetkin, Erna Pinner and Wolf Suschitzky.

    Word Count: 27

    Editorial by Julian Huxley in the first issue of Animal and Zoo Magazine, no. 1, 1936, p. 6 (METROMOD Archive).
    Charlotte Wolff. Studies in Hand-Reading. Chatto & Windus, 1936, p. 77: Reading Julian and Aldous Huxley’s hands (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933–1945, Frankfurt am Main).Charlotte Wolff. “The Form and Dermatoglyphs of the Hands and Feet of certain Anthropoid Apes”. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, Series A, 1937, Part 3, 347 + Plate (Library of the Zoological Institute, University of Hamburg). At the zoo’s behest, Charlotte Wolff applied chirology to the primates at London Zoo.“Young Artists in the Zoo” reads the headline to this photo essay on the Animal Art Studio at London Zoo, published in the Animal and Zoo Magazine, vol. 2, no. 11, 1938, p. 18–19 (METROMOD Archive).Julian Huxley and Ludwig Koch. Animal Language. Photographs by Ylla. Country Life, 1938, cover (METROMOD Archive). Two records of animal voices were included with this sound book.Erna Pinner. “Map of geographical distribution.” Julian S. Huxley. Zoo. Official Guide to the Gardens and Aquarium of the Zoological Society of London, 1937, pp. 102–103 (ZSL Library, London, Original © Erna Pinner).Julian Huxley and Wolf Suschitzky. Kingdom of the Beasts. Thames & Hudson, 1956, pp. 157–158 (© The Estate of Wolfgang Suschitzky)László Moholy-Nagy, Bill of Fare, farewell dinner menu for Walter Gropius, London, March 1937: List of Toasts naming Julian Huxley as chairman of the event (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia, @ László Moholy-Nagy).
    London
    Herbert Read
    Art HistorianArt CriticPoet

    The British art historian Herbert Read established himself as a central figure in the London artistic scene in the 1930s and was one of the outstanding supporters of exiled artists.

    Word Count: 30

    Howard Coster, Herbert Read, 1934 (Art in Britain 1930–40 1965, 5).
    Howard Coster, Herbert Read, 1934 (© National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG x19537).“Map showing where some of the people connected with the modern movement in art lived in Hampstead during the 1930s.” (Art in Britain 1930–40 1965, 9).Mall Studios behind Parkhill Road in Hampstead, occupied during the 1930s by Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Cecil Stephenson and Herbert Read (Art in Britain 1930–40 1965, 8).Herbert Read. Art Now. An Introduction to the Theory of Modern Painting and Sculpture. Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1933, cover (METROMOD Archive).
    London
    Visual Pleasures from Everyday Things
    Booklet

    Visual Pleasures from Everyday Things is a booklet written in 1946 by the emigrated architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner with the aim of aesthetic education and teacher training.

    Word Count: 26

    Nikolaus Pevsner. Visual Pleasures from Everyday Things. An attempt to establish criteria by which the aesthetic qualities of design can be judged. Council for Visual Education (C.V.E.), 1946, cover (METROMOD Archive).
    Nikolaus Pevsner. Visual Pleasures from Everyday Things. An attempt to establish criteria by which the aesthetic qualities of design can be judged. Council for Visual Education (C.V.E.), 1946, title page (METROMOD Archive).Nikolaus Pevsner. Visual Pleasures from Everyday Things. An attempt to establish criteria by which the aesthetic qualities of design can be judged. Council for Visual Education (C.V.E.), 1946, pp. 2–3: Foreword by Herbert Read. (METROMOD Archive).Nikolaus Pevsner. Visual Pleasures from Everyday Things. An attempt to establish criteria by which the aesthetic qualities of design can be judged. Council for Visual Education (C.V.E.), 1946, pp. 8–9 (METROMOD Archive).Nikolaus Pevsner. Visual Pleasures from Everyday Things. An attempt to establish criteria by which the aesthetic qualities of design can be judged. Council for Visual Education (C.V.E.), 1946, pp. 14–15 (METROMOD Archive).
    London
    Isokon Company
    Architecture and Furniture Company

    The furniture design and architecture company Isokon was an important commissioner for emigrants such as Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius, László Moholy-Nagy, Ernst Riess and Edith Tudor-Hart.

    Word Count: 27

    Egon Riess, Isokon Penguin Donkey, 1939 (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia).
    Edith Tudor-Hart took a series of photographs of the construction and opening of Lawn Road Flats in 1934 (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia, © The Estate of Wolfgang Suschitzky).Edith Tudor-Hart, Lawn Road Flats’ Christmas card, 1934, cover (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia, © The Estate of Wolfgang Suschitzky).The Isobar, photo: Dell & Wainwright, c. 1937 (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia). Bar with designs by Marcel Breuer.Edith Tudor-Hart, Terrace of the Isobar overlooking the Isobar garden, c. 1930s (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia, © The Estate of Wolfgang Suschitzky). Isokon Long Chairs designed by Marcel Breuer.László Moholy-Nagy, Cover of sales leaflet for Marcel Breuer’s Isokon Long Chair, 1937 (Pritchard Papers, University of East Anglia, © László Moholy-Nagy).
    London
    Faber & Faber
    Publishing House

    Faber & Faber shows the importance of publishing houses as supporters of contemporary art movements and of the contribution of emigrants, helping to popularise their art and artistic theories.

    Word Count: 29

    Klee. With an Introduction and Notes by Herbert Read. The Faber Gallery. Faber & Faber, 1948, cover (METROMOD Archive).
    Klee. With an Introduction and Notes by Herbert Read. The Faber Gallery. Faber & Faber, 1948, pp. 2–3 (METROMOD Archive).
    London