About the Photographer
Initially trained as an architect, Herbert Bayer studied painting and typography at the Bauhaus, the influential German design school founded in Weimar by Walter Gropius. When the school was relocated to Dessau, Germany in 1925, Bayer was offered a position on the faculty and appointed as the head of the printing and advertising workshop. The same year Bayer began to experiment with photography, but it wasn't until 1928, when he moved to Berlin, that he devoted concentrated energy to the medium. In 1929 he began to work with techniques of photomontage, using multiple negatives to create a new unified image or combining sevel photographic elements in collages that he would then rephotograph. These works have a witty and fantastical sensibility that leans towards surrealism. This is evident in Bayer's untitled piece from 1932 in the museum's collection, in which he fragments a photograph of two kissing lovers into a loose cluster of squares and overlays it on a picture of a moonlit river.
Photography would play a role throughout Bayer's life but he was most prolific, and best known, as a designer, painter, and architect. In 1938 Bayer emigrated to New York, and in the following decades work for companies including the Container Corporation of America, and as an architect and consultant for Aspen Development in the budding resort town of Aspen, Colorado. In his later decades Bayer was also highly active as a painter. Many of his works moved directly out of his studio into private collections, many in Aspen, but the Denver Art Museum now holds the Herbert Bayer Archive, the largest concentration of his work, with almost 9,000 pieces in various media.