Sprechstunde im Haus Rabe
“The villa is like a sugar lump to us. Not every white cube is by the Bauhaus, however.”

Consultations at Haus Rabe

inaugural exhibition

Haus Rabe is undoubtedly a significant gesamtkunstwerk, but for many citizens of Zwenkau, it is much more than that. They associate very personal memories and stories of their own with this unique building. The exhibition entitled Sprechstunde im Haus Rabe (Consultations at Haus Rabe) is devoted to the attitudes of Zwenkau citizens to the building.

Several interviews give an insight into how it felt to be a patient at the surgery of Dr. Erich Rabe, who practised here for a long time, and later of Dr. Gabriele Schwarzer. The exhibition gives neighbours and teachers who helped out with repairs in the house and gave their pupils their first taste of modern architecture a chance to speak their mind. It also conveys an impression of what it was like to be a child playing with friends in an original Bauhaus building.

Finally, the interviews show the wishes of Zwenkau citizens with regard to Haus Rabe’s future.

in spite of their different viewpoints, the citizens of Zwenkau all have one thing in common: the knowledge that there’s a special house in their neighbourhood – a house that the doctor’s surgery once turned into a walk-in work of art.

The acquisition of the house by the Leipzig Cultural Foundation means that Haus Rabe is finally being opened to the public again.

The first guests were those involved in the exhibition. Portraits of the interviewees were made in the rooms of this piece of Bauhaus heritage during the “Consultations at Haus Rabe”. Memories of times gone by and the timeless charm of Haus Rabe conjured up some wonderfully touching moments which were recorded in words and images.

“I’ve got no patience with decorative frills.” Oskar Schlemmer, artist and architect

The living hall

The two-storey living hall forms the heart of the building. In the southern section, it extends from the middle level to the upper floor and takes up the entire depth of the house. Light floods into the L-shaped living hall from two sides. Towards the street, the light shines through a window with etched panes, and towards the garden, it shines through a glass conservatory which is almost two storeys high. The spaciousness and generosity of the living hall with its consistent colour scheme and colour-coordinated interior furnishings radiates through the entire house. The bold colours of linoleum floor, walls and ceiling structure the space and mark off different living areas such as the dining area, the library or the inglenook. Round and curved forms break up and enliven the sober rectilinearity of the layout.

The mural composition by Oskar Schlemmer is also integrated organically into the interior furnishings and carries on the play of light and shadow. For Schlemmer, this cross and circle shape symbolizes universal nature – with the round shape possibly standing for intuition and the angular one for rationality. Against this background, Schlemmer expert Prof. Dr. Herzogenrath interpreted the metal composition as depicting the trinity of nature, mind and soul.

architect and artist

Adolf Rading

Adolf Rading built for human beings, modern living concepts and communal living. As an architect applying the principles of Neues Bauen (New Architecture), he was a proponent of the architectural avantgarde of the 1920s. His notion of architecture was addressed to human beings, and he focused his efforts on their needs. Generously dimensioned communal spaces with natural light were designed to evoke a feeling of spaciousness, and bright colours were to affect and lighten up the human psyche.

Adolf Rading was born in Berlin on 2 March 1888. After completing his O-levels and training to be a bricklayer, he studied at the Städtische Baugewerkschule (Municipal College for the Building Trade) in Berlin from 1905 to 1908. After several stays in other countries, he became an assistant in architectural bureaux from 1910 to 1919.

After the 1914-18 war, which Adolf Rading experienced as a soldier at the front, his friend and mentor August Endell called him to the Staatliche Akademie für Kunst (State Art Academy) in Berlin as a teacher of architecture in 1919. He was an integral part of the institutional network of Neues Bauen, designing contributions to the Werkbund exhibitions held in Stuttgart in 1927 and in Breslau in 1929.

Oskar Schlemmer

Oskar Schlemmer was one of the most influential proponents of modernism in Germany. His wall designs in the workshop building of the Bauhaus in Weimar (1923) were destroyed at an early date, and his murals in the Folkwang Museum in Essen (1928) seem to be lost forever too, making the multifaceted wall designs from 1939/31 at Haus Rabe in Zwenkau the only gesamtkunstwerk of comprehensive complexity to survive (1930/31).

This outstanding total work of art is a unique and authentic example of its kind.

The team of building owner, architect and artists offered ideal conditions allowing Schlemmer’s notions of wall design to be realized in an ideal way. The “arrangement with three figures” which Schlemmer later used almost exclusively as a motif for mural designs was realized for the first time here. In his plan Natur – Kunst – Mensch (Nature – Art – Man) which he established in 1928 for teaching at the Bauhaus, he depicted universal nature as a cross surrounded by concentric circles. It seems natural to use this motif as a key to interpreting his work.

The designs used by Schlemmer at Haus Rabe are of great significance in terms of art history. The motif of the group of three as well as the formal solution for the relationship between image and architectural space mark the beginning of a new artistic development. In addition, the free and congenial cooperation between architect, artist and client turns this work into a shining example of wall design in the 1930s.

Heiraten im Haus Rabe

Bauhaus weddings

Tying the knot at Haus Rabe in Zwenkau – stylish Bauhaus weddings

You can also get married in the magnificent piece of cultural heritage which is Haus Rabe. Weddings are carried out by the registrars of Zwenkau town council in the living hall of the house with its many works of art. At the subsequent sparkling wine reception, you have the opportunity to use the house and garden as a backdrop for wedding photographs and give your guests a brief tour of the house.

To this end, Haus Rabe can be booked for a maximum of 20 persons for a duration of two hours. All appointments for weddings in this piece of cultural heritage are organized by the registrars of Zwenkau town council and then coordinated with Haus Rabe.

If you require further information on this subject:

Wedding applications



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sponsored by:
Kultur Medien
Kulturraum Leipziger Raum