The origins of the Bauhaus lie in the late 19th century, in anxieties about the soullessness of modern manufacturing, and fears about art's loss of social relevance. The Bauhaus aimed reunite fine art and functional design, creating practical objects with the soul of artworks.

Given the equal stress it placed on fine art and functional craft, it is no surprise that many of the Bauhaus's most influential and lasting achievements were in fields other than painting and sculpture. The furniture and utensil designs of Marcel Breuer, Marianne Brandt, and others paved the way for the stylish minimalism of the 1950s-60s, while architects such as Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe were acknowledged as the forerunners of the similarly slick International Style that is so important in architecture to this day.