Just 23 years old, Herbert Bayer was called upon to design a series of Notgeld for Thuringia, a liberal stronghold and then capital of Germany. It was the 8th of August in the year 1923. Virtually overnight, he realize a compelling, functional concept in the programmatic ideas of the Bauhaus.
He was a painter and currently a so called “youngmaster” of the famous Bauhaus in Weimar. From 1925 on he led his own workshop at the Bauhaus Dessau: typography and advertisement.
The famous “Bauhausausstellung” was forthcoming in the year 1923 between Juli and September and was crucial to clarify the identity and the objectives of the Bauhaus. The “Notgeld” is the first testimony to the famous change in the Bauhaus, when Walter Gropius expose the slogan “art and technology” a new unit, a new orientation from craft to a technical base.
The “Hundred-million”- notes are a continuation of the smaller “Million”-notes. The Milliard notes followed those.
Bayer has managed a draft dividing values and series, just as outstanding as modern.
Especially striking is the choice of changing colours, which have been issued in a nearly sequence of one to three days. The colours changed consistently and that couldn’t be just dependant on the availability of printing inks. The notes provided a beautiful colour range for everybody. Bayer managed the rotating sequence of primary-colours: yellow, red, blue with secondary-colours (mixtures two primary): orange, green, purple and tertiary-colours (mixtures two secondary): citrin, russet und olive. His teacher in the Bauhaus Wassily Kandinsky started with these colours his theories.
Bayer seems to invite his audience, like Kandinsky did. He spread out the sound of individual colours, as in conjunction with others.
The circulation of the notes, swiftly and in large quantities rallied support for methods and ideas of the school. They pleaded for innovation rather than withdrawal, for artistic ethos instead an empty pathos.
With these notes Herbert Bayer already showed his great potential. He became one of the leading and internationally renowned typographers of the century.
A real piece of Bauhaus design!
Cp.: Kat. Herbert Bayer: Das künstlerische Werk 1918-1938, Bauhaus Archiv Berlin 1982, p.29.
Quittenbaum Kunstauktionen München: Höhepunkte der Design-Geschichte III – Design made in Germany, 27. November 2006, Los 138, Taxe for one bill: 260$, 200€.