Bauhaus in Bristol

In the 1930s Bristol furniture manufacturer Crofton Gane was a passionate promoter of Modernist design. He built up a wide range of contacts and became a close friend of Bauhaus furniture designer and architect Marcel Breuer.

Gane commissioned a variety of work from Breuer including the Gane Pavilion for the Royal Agricultural Show in Bristol in 1936, regarded by Breuer as one of his two most seminal buildings alongside the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

In Autumn 2019, the Stradling Collection commemorated this partnership and joined in the worldwide celebrations marking the centenary of the Bauhaus – history’s most famous art school.

The Bauhaus In Bristol exhibition explored how the ideas of the Bauhaus came to Bristol in 1935 via one of its most celebrated figures, Marcel Breuer and his association with Bristol furniture retailer Crofton Gane.

Crofton Gane with Marcel Breuer at the reception before Breuer’s talk on his Unesco building held at the Architectural Association, Bedford Square, London, May 1958.
Architectural Press Archive/RIBA Collections

The exhibition was accompanied by Breuer in Bristol, a symposium held at Bristol’s Arnolfini in November 2019. This event brought together leading historians of twentieth-century design in an exchange of ideas about Marcel Breuer, the development of Modernism in the UK, and how ideas pioneered at the Bauhaus continue to inform modern-day art and design education at the University of the West of England.

watch a short film of the Breuer in Bristol Symposium 2019 from Arnolfini, Bristol

The Bauhaus in Bristol web-resource provides a lasting record of the exhibition and symposium covering key elements of the story, including ➤ a concise biography of Marcel Breuer ➤ the story of PE Gane and Company ➤ photographs and a description of Breuer’s house for Crofton Gane ➤ the Gane Pavillion and how Ken Stradling and the Ken Stradling Collection enriches and conserves the ➤ modernist legacy in Bristol. There is also a selection of ➤ fascinating publications for download.

The exhibition and symposium were made possible by the generous support of Arts Council England’s Lottery Project and the Gane Trust. Photo-scans are taken from the Gane archive held at Bristol Archives, whose assistance we gratefully acknowledge

Text is copyrighted Oliver Kent, Cleo Witt and Chris Yeo and may not be reproduced without the authors’ permission