Bogler Vase Red Egg
Theodor Bogler, the Bauhaus and Maria Laach Abbey.
The artist, ceramist and later monk Theodor Bogler may not have had a linear career, but he had a logical one. Obviously, he was gifted; hence, he could recognise when a stage of life was inevitably coming to an end and sense where he should direct his next steps. In 1919, at the age of 22, he was one of the first to enrol at the Bauhaus. A survivor of the First World War and former officer, he was now looking for an apprenticeship as an architect. He planned to complete his studies in Weimar at the still young Bauhaus since he was attracted to Walter Gropius, the founder of the art school. Unfortunately, studying architecture was not yet possible at the Bauhaus. Disappointed, he went to Munich and enrolled in architecture at the Ludwig Maximilian University; however, it wasn’t long before he was back in Weimar. What took him was the basic idea of the Bauhaus, the combination of artistic and manual work. And it was obviously in keeping with one of Theodor Bogler’s essential traits that he left his original idea of studying architecture behind and chose to pick up on one of the most straightforward and earthy crafts: pottery. He had no previous knowledge of this craft. He qualified by his enthusiasm for the Bauhaus idea and his will to design.
Apprenticeship in Living Ascetically in Dornburg.
At the time, the pottery workshops of the Bauhaus in Dornburg an der Saale could certainly rival any monastic convent in the sparseness and squalidity of the living conditions. Bogler took his journeyman’s examination after three years, as was customary at the Bauhaus. In the same year, it was 1922 by now, he married. Formally, the productions of this Bauhaus workshop stood between tradition and avant-garde at that time. In 1922, however, Gropius had already taken the idea a step further and implemented a stronger orientation towards modern industrial production. Bogler was amenable to this development and put the idea into practice by experimenting with casting moulds that enabled the serial production of originally handmade ceramics. For him, this was not a devaluation of the handicraft work on the potter’s wheel, especially since the production of the moulds was an art in itself requiring a lot of experience. However, one thing was important to him: The finished piece should show the manufacturing process, i.e. one should be able to distinguish between handicraft (turned on the wheel) and industrial work (mould-cast) straightaway.
Simple and Honest while Full of Fine Sensations and Passions.
Once again, Bogler was to bring about an entirely new impulse into his life and to take a completely new step. In 1925, his wife had already died, and Bogler started radically anew: Just two years later, after his conversion to the Catholic Church, we find him as a novice in the Benedictine Abbey of Maria Laach. Thus Theodor Bogler became a monk, studied theology and was ordained as a priest. His versatile talents and dynamic character gave him a wealth of tasks at Maria Laach. Above all, he had to lead the monastery as its prior through the war and post-war years. But he kept the potter’s wheel turning, even in Maria Laach, even after finishing his theology studies. So it was only logical that from 1951 until he died in 1968, he directed the art workshops of the monastery and the publishing house – and had a formative influence on the artistic work at the abbey. F. K. Fuchs characterized Bogler’s works created during his time at the monastery as “simple and honest, full of fine sensations and passions”.
Article Number 66669
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