Bauhaus Band
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© Estate of T. Lux Feininger

T. Lux Feininger
American, Germany, about 1928
Gelatin silver print
4 1/2 x 3 1/4 in.

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The sheer prevalence in number, of clowning and grimacing pictures, is an indication of what I am speaking of...not only were my "models" everlastingly ready to "cut up," but I, too, must have been very ready to photograph their antics. My self critique led me to conclude that I was protesting against something in these pictures...I had judged the "official" Bauhaus tone-setters...guilty of taking themselves too damned seriously, and that they needed "taking down."

Thus T. Lux Feininger recalled the mood informing his picturemaking during his time as a student at the German crafts school, the Bauhaus. This playful photograph shows three unidentified members of the Bauhaus band with their instruments humorously juxtaposed and a ladder that neither leans on any wall nor leads anywhere. The smiling man at the center, wearing a bow tie and bellboy's cap, strums the banjo held by the grinning man at the right, who in turn appears to singlehandedly support the ladder upon which a third man plays the slide trombone in a dramatic, downward thrust parallel to the lines of the ladder. Influenced by the Jazz Age, both players and photographers evoke the lively spirit of that revolutionary movement in music.