The Bauhaus Lunch


Why Bauhaus Lunch in China?

Prof. Jian HANG

5 years ago,  since the CAA introduced the collections of Bauhaus and the Modern European Design into China, besides those temporary exhibitions, we have always wanted to share these treasures with Chinese academic field and the higher education of art in China as well. So, we take this opportunity, before the upcoming 2016 IACBI Annul Conference , to open the Bauhaus and Modern Design Seminar in order to bring all the young researchers in the field of design together and to learn the latest research results. In this way, to foster an active atmosphere for discussion and to produce some new inspirations for our researchers. This is the first time for us to open this seminar, and there will be more in the future. It is a gift from the Bauhaus Institute of CAA for national counterparts.

We all know the Bauhaus Lunch. And I always praise highly of it. Actually, during the time when the Bauhaus was in the Weimar, running a school like the Bauhaus was a very difficult thing in that particular environment of the whole European education of art and design. Indeed, at the beginning, Gropius established the Bauhaus with a very idealism, but the realities always win. In Germany where had just experienced the World War I, even the city like Weimar, a cultural center of country, had a rough-and-tumble trend of thought and the material. And the Bauhaus Lunch, actually, is a free lunch for students. During the lunch, students could talk about the personal ideals freely and looked forward to the future of the Bauhaus.

The later comments on the Bauhaus Lunch said that it not only saved the school from the early crisis, but also provided a space and a form in which teachers and students could discuss together for the development of Bauhaus. In my point of view, no matter from the perspective of the new ideas or education, the Bauhaus Lunch is still value to us.


Why Paul Klee? 

Fang HU

The main course are inspired by the letters that Paul Klee sent to his family during Weimar time. They mostly come from his recipe and are made of the local ingredients, such as the water from the Spring of Hupao and sweet-scented osmanthus of Hang Zhou. 

The lunch takes place in a students center and we turned the stage into a back kitchen. We integrate theater, dining room and odeum into a whole space.


the Menu

Paul Klee was a painter and an observer. He was always glad to show the appreciation for the dancing of the teachers and the students in the ball with a pipe in hand. He was also fond of sitting at the back of the classroom to observe the classes of his colleagues. Besides, he was a creative cook. The intuition, the sense of proportion and the enchantment emerged when painting could become his inspiration of cooking. He was an expert of cooking with limited ingredients and turning them into a delicious cuisine.

“I seem to happen to enter into the wizard's kitchen. There is no doubt that the whole Bauhaus is already a laboratory. However, there are truly magic potions boiling on the stove. The studio is filled with a charming and strong smell which mixes the smells of coffee, tobacco, canvas, paint, pure French varnish, lacquer, and alcohol.”

----Lothar Schreyer



Natural Enemy of Hunger

Self-baked baguette and caviar

There will always be a pleasant surprise in the kitchen. Klee was obsessed with the details of food. He was so creative to make a extraordinary new dish which he called caviar on bread and vividly painted it in a letter. This kind of food drove him to spend a holiday in a small town near Bonn for the town offered it as breakfast everyday. Klee said, “Hunger and thirst can be an earth-shattering event for me.”



Intuition Salad

Home-brewed fermented glutinous rice, Hangzhou sweet-scented osmanthus, seasonal chestnuts, purple cabbage, celery and lily bulbs

The menu of Brussels salad was mentioned several times in Paul’s cooking notes. There is a kind of chicory which is called Brussler in Berne where Paul once lived. Paul seemed to prefer the chewy vegetables which both had the taste of bitterness and sweetness. For a time Paul wrote down the menus of his lunch and dinner in his diary. He recorded the cooking methods of the menu but not the specific numbers. Moreover, he preferred to decide through intuition rather than weigh the ingredients carefully.



Deconstruction and Restructure of Vegetables

Li Riverside taro, perilla leaf, water of tiger spring, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and asparagus

Klee enjoyed recombining the same ingredients, just as how he dealt with the arrows, stairs and other repeated emerging elements in his paintings. He added cream and cheese to almost every kind of food, however, the shapes and the proportions of cream and cheese were special for different cuisines.



Observe as Klee Did

Simmered cattle, including beef, ox-liver, ox-heart, ox-lung, ox-intestine and ox-tongue

Klee was fascinated with art as well as the cooking of viscus. When cooking the viscus, he observed them from the perspective of a painter. In spite of the shapes of hearts, kidney, liver and lung, he judged the functions of these organs through his own procedures. His language, abbreviation and instructions applied in writing cooking methods were special. He recorded his cooking experience with leisure and cheer, which was just like his painting.



Risotto for Important Friends

Mushrooms, eggs, rice and chive

Risotto was Klee’s specialty dish. Once he tasted it in1902 when traveling in Italyt, it was always mentioned in his diary and letters. In 1916, when Klee’s friend Frantz Mike, who was also a painter, came back from the front of the first World War to Munich, Klee was overjoyed and cooked risotto especially for him. It demonstrated that Paul was willing to cook for the people he cherished.



Everlasting Music

Johann Sebastian Bach: Prelude and Fugue No.13 in F-sharp major BWV 858

The Klees were satisfied with the life offered by Bauhaus. Shortly after, they began to play chamber music regularly. The concerts were usually twice a week. When Klee wanted to get rid of the daily routine including painting, teaching and housework and to relax, then his friends could enjoy the first-class music performance.


On the 31st of March, 1925, Mr. and Mrs. Klee held their farewell concert in Bauhaus. It was the third time for the couple to perform a duet in public during these several months. The couple cooperated to perform Bach’s and Mozart's sonatas at the concert. Besides, Lily soloed two preludes and fugues of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier.



Apple of Klee

Organic apples from the Loess Plateau, cinnamon powder, butter and white sugar

The Europeans all like apples, and Pual is not a exception. Paul liked food as well as painting. On the 22nd of January, 1918, Paul wrote in his diary, “It would become my greatest hope to eat an apple.” It shows that the commonest food in peacetime would become very precious in the war.


Project Credits

  • Design Team Fang HU 陈晶 Carina Qiu 徐佳欣 赵媛媛 李昕颖 杨滢玉 Jules Gorget
  • Project Coordinator 张春艳 骆钰槟 王上
  • Visual Communication 王正莹 梁献文
  • Chef  马坤山, Backer 吴勇
  • Pastry 吴李瀛
  • Volunteers  Ian Ballantyne 张力 苟华英  龚艺红 海雯倩
  • Piano 丁慰春
  • Photograph 郭奕麟 曾永强
  • 中国美术学院包豪斯研究院主办,2016