katt both

Marcel Breuer and his ‘Harem’. Marta Erps-Breuer, Katt Both and Ruth Hollos-Consemüller, 1927.

The photo, taken by Consemüller, a student and photographer at the Bauhaus, captures the junior master Marcel Breuer around 1927. The title of the picture refers to the women standing next to him as Breuer’s ‘harem’. The women appear self-confident, with cool gazes and tousled shocks of short hair, and in modern dress. Marcel Breuer is looking at his companions sceptically, with his arms crossed. These are ‘my’ women?!

© Klassik Stiftung Weimar / Bauhaus

Levi first sees him at the gym. 

He’s about a head taller than Levi is, has messy hair that’s always tied up in a small pony tail, and has the brightest, most beautiful eyes Levi’s ever seen, and not to mention, the most muscular forearms. His name is Eren, Levi soon finds out from a friend, and Levi’s been trying for months now to have a conversation with him that goes beyond ‘hello!’ and ‘how long are you going to be on this machine?’. 

Levi finally thinks he’s mustered up the courage to talk to the bright-eyed beauty. He finishes his workout, cleans up and leaves earlier than usual in the hopes of catching Eren on his way out of the gym, and he does. 

“Oh, hi Levi!” Eren smiles, and Levi suddenly realises that he’s never seen Eren dressed casually: he has a pastel pink crop top that’s probably the same shade as the blush on Levi’s face (and God, the abs) and a pastel blue skater skirt that’s paired with pastel blue shoes. But Levi’s eyes are immediately drawn to the blinding smile that Eren gives him.

And Levi doesn’t know why he thought he could talk to Eren, because upon realising that Eren knows his name, Levi’s heart skips a beat.

Marcel Breuer accompanied by his “harem”  Martha Erps, Katt Both, Ruth Hollos 1927

Erich Consemüller

The photo, taken by Consemüller, a student and photographer at the Bauhaus, captures the junior master Marcel Breuer around 1927. The title of the picture refers to the women standing next to him as Breuer’s ‘harem’. The women appear self-confident, with cool gazes and tousled shocks of short hair, and in modern dress. Marcel Breuer is looking at his companions sceptically, with his arms crossed. These are ‘my’ women?!

The title expresses the precise opposite of what the photo itself shows – the modernity, emancipation, equality, or even superiority, of the women in it. The actual date of the photo is hard to judge from their haircuts and clothing. It could just as well have been made in the 1980s, when women’s emancipation was reaching new heights.

Marcel Breuer is looking at the Bauhaus women disconcertedly, with a distanced gaze and a dismissive posture. From 1925 to 1928, Breuer headed the carpentry workshop at the Bauhaus as a junior master. The women shown include Breuer’s wife Martha Erps (left) and Ruth Hollós, the wife of the photographer. The architect Katt Both is standing in the middle. The viewer is caught by the penetrating gazes of Both and Erp. Ruth Hollós-Consemüller, by contrast, seems to be suppressing laughter as she looks towards the photographer (her husband). The photo’s title may possibly have been given to it when they were examining the final product later and someone jokingly remarked that the women were apparently Breuer’s ‘harem’. But what is the role played by Marcel Breuer in the harem? Is he its sultan/patriarch or eunuch/superintendent? In the role-play, Breuer seems to be looking at the women to check that they are properly spruced up. Erich Consemüller’s photo once again reflects the modern basic feeling and relaxed fun that were characteristic of the Bauhaus.