- Gallery Text
Former Bauhaus student Marcel Breuer designed the first version of this chair in 1925, the year he was appointed master of the school’s cabinet-making workshop. Inspired by the curved handlebars of his bicycle, Breuer had begun to explore tubular steel as a material suited to both modern furniture design and industrial production. Radically updating the old form of the upholstered club chair, Breuer created a light and visually transparent composition of intersecting lines and planes that evokes abstract geometric sculpture. The popularity of his metal furniture led Breuer to establish his own firm, Standard Möbel, which in 1929 was purchased by Thonet, the manufacturer of this chair. The original Eisengarn (iron yarn) fabric panels are now lost and have been replaced with a modern version of the sturdy, functional material. Samples of the original fabrics produced in the Bauhaus textile workshop can be found in the museums’ collections.
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
Marcel Breuer, American (Pecs, Hungary 1902 - 1981 New York, N.Y., USA)
Manufactured by Thonet, Inc.
- Club Chair (B3)
- Other Titles
- Alternate Title: "Wassily Chair"
- Work Type
- designed 1925, manufactured 1929-1932
- Creation Place: Europe, Germany
- Physical Descriptions
- Nickel-plated steel tubing and modern canvas
- 75.5 x 76.2 x 68 cm (29 3/4 x 30 x 26 3/4 in.)
steel tube diameter: 2 cm (13/16 in.)
- Inscriptions and Marks
- inscription: left edge, lower back fabric panel, white chalk, handwritten: RM
- [Thonet] sold; to private collector (c. 1932-1948) gift; to the Busch-Reisinger Museum.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Anonymous gift
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- Modern and Contemporary Art
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- This model is a variation of Breuer's tubular steel chair that was produced by Thonet between 1929 and 1932. The particularities of this version are the crossbar at the base of the frame and a bowed strut underneath the seat. (The strut stabilizes the hanging seat in contrast to the front bar on the frame of Breuer's version.) See Alexander von Vegesack, Deutsche Stahlrohrmöbel. Munich: Bangert Verlag, 1986, p.72.
The narrower back is inside the structural frame. (In Breuer's version it is outside the frame. The chair is comprised of 8 tubular metal parts, 14 six-headed screws, and 7 panels of fabric. (K. Mims, 7/12/02 )
- Publication History
Peter Nisbet and Emilie Norris, Busch-Reisinger Museum: History and Holdings, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1991), p. 48, ill.
- Exhibition History
From Werkbund to Bauhaus: Art and Design in Germany 1900-1934, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge
A Tribute to Walter Gropius, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 05/16/1983 - 07/01/1983
HAA 1 Survey Course (S421): Landmarks of World Art and Architecture [Spring 2009], Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 02/12/2009 - 05/10/2009
HAA 1 Survey Course (S421): Landmarks of World Art and Architecture (Spring 2010), Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 02/05/2010 - 05/09/2010
32Q: 1520 Art in Germany Between the Wars (Interwar and Bauhaus), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014 - 12/10/2018
The Bauhaus and Harvard, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/08/2019 - 07/28/2019
- Subjects and Contexts
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