The architect and designer Marcel Breuer was one of the most influential supporters of modernism in the 20th century. Marcel Breuer Bauhaus left Europe in 1935 as the Bauhaus architects Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Europe for the United States in the 1930s. Breuer was forced to move to London to flee the Nazis because of his Jewish-Hungarian descent.
Marcel Breuer Bauhaus
Born in Hungary, Breuer became a Bauhaus student in 1920 and quickly impressed Gropius, the founder of the German school with his furniture design. His early work was influenced by the minimalist Dutch design movement De Stijl – especially the work of architect Gerrit Rietveld. In 1925, when he was head of the Bauhaus furniture workshop, Breuer Marcel used lightweight tubular steel frames for chairs, tables and benches – a technique that was soon adopted by Mies van der Rohe and others. His steel tube chair in S-shape without legs (cantilever / cantilever chair) became famous.
In 1928 Thonet and Marcel Breuer entered into an agreement for their own extensive collection of tubular steel furniture. The B32 (now S32) by designer Marcel Breuer has been in Thonet’s catalog from 1930 and is still a very good selling steel chair in countless versions. It consists of chromed steel and reed in a bentwood frame.
This B32 chair forced Breuer into a copyright agreement with the architect Mart Stam chair who had designed an almost identical chair a year earlier. Mies van der Rohe also designed a similar chair, but it was Breuer’s B32 that served as the model for countless other similar chair designs.
Breuer’s attention gradually shifted from design to architecture, and at Gropius’s urging, he joined Harvard as a mentor and in architectural practice in 1937. Marcel Breuer ran together Walter Gropius with an architectural firm until 1941.
In the early 1940s, Breuer opened his own architectural firm. He made many Breuer houses in New England – combining local fieldstone bases with sleek, wood-framed Modernist upper floors. In his later, larger commissions, Breuer mainly worked with concrete and stone, just like Le Corbusier. This can be seen in his best-known Brutalist design built in New York in 1966, the Whitney Museum of American Art.
In 1937, Breuer and Gropius moved to the US, both taught at Harvard for a while and worked briefly together in an architectural practice. Together they designed the Pennsylvania Pavilion for the 1939 New York World’s Fair, in addition to multiple private residences. Their partnership dissolved in 1941, but the two remained friends. In 1946 Breuer left Harvard and opened an office in New York. Over the rest of his career, Breuer designed more than seventy private residences and several university and office buildings. Notably, in 1948, the Museum of Modern Art in New York hosted a touring exhibition of his work, and the following year he commissioned him to design a house in his garden; both events significantly boosted Breuer’s career. In 1953 he designed the UNESCO headquarters in Paris with Pier Luigi Nervi and Bernard Zehrfulss, and in 1963 he designed the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
In 1947, New York’s Museum of Modern Art began a touring exhibition of his work.
Marcel Breuer architecture
Between 1955 and 1960 Breuer worked on three assignments in the Netherlands: the Bijenkorf in Rotterdam, the American embassy in The Hague (Marcel Bruer still had the assignment to make a design for a private house for Dr. Van der Wal, the director of the Bijenkorf in Amsterdam The house was situated in the villa park between the Mirandabad and Zorgvlied in the south of Amsterdam.The design was never executed.
Marcel Breuer chairs
The most famous pieces of furniture are made of tubular steel, including the Marcel Breuer Wassily chair and the Cesca chair. Whether tubular chairs or wood, Breuer’s design furniture is elegant designs of classic modernist design – useful and suitable for any environment.
Marcel Breuer died in New York in 1981.