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Institute of Design


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(established 1944)

The Institute of Design in Chicago was established by László Moholy‐Nagy in 1939 following a number of short‐lived antecedents beginning with the New Bauhaus in Chicago established in 1937 under the directorship of Moholy‐Nagy with fellow ex‐Bauhaus staff member Walter Gropius as consultant. Although sponsored by the Association of Arts and Industries, the levels of financial support were insufficient to prevent the closure of the institution in 1938. In the following year, Moholy‐Nagy founded the School of Design in Chicago, injecting his own financial support underpinned by that of former colleagues from the New Bauhaus. Important also in funding terms was the Chicago industrialist Walter P. Paepcke, founder of the design conscious Container Corporation of America, whose commitment maintained the institution's financial viability for a number of years. The new School marked an important landmark in American design education, imbued with the spirit of the German Bauhaus and its legacy of the fusion of art, science, and technology as seen in Moholy‐Nagy's posthumous book, Vision in Motion (1947). In 1944 the name of the institution was changed to that of the Institute of Design and in 1946, following Moholy‐Nagy's death, Serge Chermayeff was appointed as the new director. In 1949 the Institute of Design was incorporated into the Illinois Institute of Design at Chicago and was granted university status. After a short interregnum following Chermayeff's resignation in 1951 Jay Doblin was appointed as the new head of the Institute, with four major departments of visual design, product design, photography, and art education providing focus for students after they had completed the obligatory foundation course.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.


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