The group of students who take centre stage in The Hiding Game are entirely invented. Others are not. Here’s a little more about some of the real people who walk this novel.
Architect Walter Gropius was the founder and director of the Bauhaus between 1919-28. He set up his school to unify fine and applied arts, women and men, and the arts and crafts. He wanted to bring to the masses modernist architecture and simple, rationalist designs for everyday objects.
Brandt is famous for her designs in metal: teapots, lamps, and ash-trays – all based around simple and repeating shapes. But she was also a photographer, and her photomontages beautifully document the life and spirit of the Bauhaus.
An Austrian mystic who embraced Eastern spiritualism, Itten personified the more expressionistic personality of the Bauhaus in the early Weimar years. Itten advocated the artist reconnecting to their body via garlic diets, fasting, and breathing exercises. His work on colour theory influenced other Bauhaus masters, and his preliminary course (the Vorkurs) changed art-school pedagogy forever.
Kandinsky was one of the most famous artists at the school, though he had arrived in Germany nearly penniless after surviving the Russian Revolution and the Great War. He was fascinated by the effect of form on colour, and was a pioneer in European Abstractionism. He was one of the few members of staff who saw out the end of the Bauhaus in Berlin in 1933.
Ehrlich was a student at the Dessau Bauhaus, and became a typographer, designer, and eventual town planner. He was arrested as a Communist and sent to Buchenwald Concentration Camp in 1935. His training was soon discovered and he was offered the opportunity to escape the camp if he managed the construction office. It was from here he designed the Buchenwald gate: Jedem das Seine – an act of collaboration, or, with its Bauhaus font, an act of resistance?
Berger was a weaver who worked at the Bauhaus as a student, then as a Master, from 1925. Her woven wall-hangings are characterised by repeating forms and warm colour palettes. Tragically, she was murdered in Auschwitz in 1944.