Rudolf Steiner (1861 - 1925) was one of the most influential – and also one of the most controversial – reformers of the twentieth century. He founded the Waldorf schools, inspired artists such as Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky and Joseph Beuys and is regarded as one of the key initiators of organic architecture. In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Steiner’s birth, the Vitra Design Museum presented the first major retrospective on his oeuvre.
Steiner created his most important work of architecture just 15 kilometres from the Vitra Design Museum in Dornach, Switzerland: the Goetheanum built from 1924 to 1928. It still ranks as an architectural milestone, marking the first use of concrete to construct a sculpturally formed edifice of such imposing size. Yet Steiner’s horizons went far beyond architecture and design. Trained as a scientist and philosopher, Steiner advocated a holistic view of humanity and gave over 5,000 lectures espousing the worldview of anthroposophy in which art, science and spirituality are united. Hundreds of clinics, bank institutes, farms and Waldorf schools bear witness to the wide dissemination of Steiner’s ideas. Many aspects have long established themselves in the social mainstream – including biocosmetics, a heightened environmental consciousness and biodynamic agricultural products, to name a few examples.
To illustrate the diversity of Steiner’s work, the Vitra Design Museum assembled a wealth of artefacts, encompassing 45 pieces of furniture, 46 models, 18 sculptures, over 100 original drawings and plans, as well as dozens of additional documents ranging from posters to letters written to Steiner by Franz Kafka, Piet Mondrian, and Else Lasker-Schüler. Early Expressionist films and works by Wassily Kandinsky, Lyonel Feininger, Erich Mendelsohn, Bruno Taut and Frank Lloyd Wright illustrated the vital reciprocal influence between Steiner and notable contemporaries. The connection between Steiner and contemporary designers was also documented, such as with works by Olafur Eliasson, Konstantin Grcic and Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec.
13.09.2014 - 11.01.2015, Kunsthal Rotterdam, Netherlands
26.02.2014 - 11.05.2014, Emma Espoo, Espoo, Finland
09.02.2013 - 02.06.2013, MART, Rovereto, Italy
14.10.2011 - 01.05.2012, Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany
22.06.2011 - 25.09.2011, MAK Vienna, Vienna, Austria
04.02.2011 - 22.05.2011, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany
13.05.2010 - 21.11.2010, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany