archivesofamericanart: Archives Road Trip: No…


Archives Road Trip: North Dakota

In 1960 the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery hired Bauhaus architect and designer, Marcel Breuer (1902–1982), to design its new spiritual home in Bismarck. Breuer would later call this project his “jewel on the prairie.” In this 1963 photograph of the completed project, two Sisters converse in the strikingly modern cloister, a covered walkway that demarcated monastic space from everyday life. Precast, concrete “vees” carry the weight of the cloister roof and also frame sweeping views of the Great Plains. The monastery praised Breuer for embracing “Benedictine spirit in form and flexible function,” echoing the Bauhaus doctrine “form follows function.”

This photograph of the Cloister Walk in the Convent of the Annunciation by Shin Koyama is on view in our exhibition Off the Beaten Track: A Road Trip through the Archives of American Art on view through June 3 in our Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery in Washington, D.C. 

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