Walter Peterhans

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Walter Peterhans (12 June 1897 – 12 April 1960) was a German photographer best known as a teacher and course leader of photography at the Bauhaus from 1929 through 1933 (and at the Reimann School in Berlin), and his subsequent immigration to Chicago in 1938 to teach the 'visual training' course to architecture students at Illinois Institute of Technology under the direction of Mies van der Rohe. There were ten units or tasks to this course, to be followed over four semesters. The course was so successful, it survived Peterhans by over thirty years. At the Bauhaus, Peterhans' teaching involved using the theories of Kant, Plato and Pythagoras to show how beauty is constructed in the mind, and how it can be created in works of art.

In 1953 Peterhans was part of the initial core faculty at the Ulm School of Design (Hochschule für Gestaltung, 1953-1968) in Germany, which became an renowned, influential design school.

Peterhans' own work in the 1930s was close-up, still-life silver gelatin prints of everyday objects, and he came to the Bauhaus at the invitation of Hannes Meyer. In America he was briefly married to American architect Gertrude Lempp Kerbis before he married Brigitte Schlaich, also an architect, in 1957.