Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

"Wassily" Armchair

Designer:
Marcel Breuer (American (born Hungary) 1902–1981)
Date:
1925
Medium:
Chrome-plated steel, canvas upholstery
Dimensions:
30 1/4 × 30 1/4 × 26 3/4 in. (76.8 × 76.8 × 67.9 cm)
Classification:
Furniture
Credit Line:
Purchase, Lita Annenberg Hazen Charitable Trust Gift, 1988
Accession Number:
1988.256
Not on view
Marcel Breuer attended the Bauhaus from 1920 to 1924 and became head of its carpentry workshop in 1925. Also in 1925, Breuer bought his first bicycle. He was so impressed by its lightness and strength that he had decided to make furniture from tubular steel. His first experimental tubular steel piece was the club style armchair about which he said, "It is my most extreme work both in its outward appearance and in the use of materials; it is the least artistic, the most logical, the least 'cosy' and the most mechanical." It became known as the "Wassily" chair because of Kandinsky's admiration for it.
[Barry Friedman Ltd., New York, until 1988; sold to MMA]

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Century of Design, Part ll: 1925-1950," May 9–October 29, 2000, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Modern Design: Selections from the Collection," May 30–October 5, 2008, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Highlights from the Modern Design Collection: 1900 to the Present," June 23, 2009–May 1, 2011, no catalogue.

Christopher Wilk. Marcel Breuer: Furniture and Interiors. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 1981, pp. 39–40, 54, fig. 25 (Museum of Modern Art, New York collection), calls it "Club Armchair".

Derek Ostergard in Bent Wood and Metal Furniture: 1850–1946. Ed. Derek Ostergard. Exh. cat., American Federation of Arts circulating exhibition. New York, 1987, pp. 270–71, 273, 280, no. 67, ill. (collections Mr. and Mrs. Al Luckett, Jr., Boulder, Co.; Wissenschaftlich-kulturelles Zentrum, Bauhaus, Dessau), calls it "Club chair, Model No. B3".

Karrie Jacobs. "The Art of the Design Museum." Metropolis 10 (December 1990), p. 63.

Elizabeth Wilhide. Living with Modern Classics: The Chair. New York, 2000, pp. 18–19, ill. (color) and ill. title page (color), calls it "Wassily chair, model no. B3".

Barry Bergdoll in Barry Bergdoll and Leah Dickerman. Bauhaus 1919–1933: Workshops for Modernity. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 2009, p. 53.

Leah Dickerman in Barry Bergdoll and Leah Dickerman. Bauhaus 1919–1933: Workshops for Modernity. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 2009, p. 35, ill. p. 24 (photograph, "Untitled (Woman in B3 club chair by Marcel Breuer)," private collection).

Frederic J. Schwartz in Barry Bergdoll and Leah Dickerman. Bauhaus 1919–1933: Workshops for Modernity. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 2009, pp. 228–31, no. 302, ill. (color) (Museum of Modern Art, New York collection), calls it "Club chair".



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