Table (model B10)
Gallery Rotations Spring 2013
United States, born Hungary, 1902–81
Table (model B10)
Chrome-plated tubular steel and black-lacquered wood
Manufactured by Mücke-Melder (Thonet licence)
Chairs (model B33)
Chrome-plated tubular steel and canvas
Manufactured by Mücke-Melder (Thonet license)
Gift of Herbert and Susan Johe, 2012/1.283, 2012/1.284, 2012/1.285
The cantilever design of Marcel Breuer’s B33 chair eliminated traditional rear legs, reducing the frame to a single curving line. In paring down furniture to nothing more than a few surfaces—tabletop, seat, back—supported by gleaming, lightweight metal tubes, Breuer sought purely functional designs that would foreground light, space, and movement. These, he believed, were the fundamental necessities of modern life, particularly as lived at the Bauhaus, the innovative school of art, craft, and design in Germany where Breuer taught and first developed these designs. As an essential element of the school’s environment, Breuer’s metal furniture epitomized the Bauhaus’s utopian goal of merging art and technology with everyday life.
The cost of tubular steel, as well as reservations about metal in domestic spaces, initially limited Breuer’s designs to the Bauhaus and the homes of an intellectual elite. This furniture never attained the school’s ideal of transformative design for the masses, despite its growing popularity in the thirties. Nevertheless, Breuer’s attempt to integrate form, function, and mass-production became a key reference point in the evolution of modernist architecture and design.
Black square table mounted on a frame of continous steel tubing that curves down at the corners to form bowed legs.
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