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Marcel Breuer
EARLY 'ISOKON LONG CHAIR'
Estimate
6,0008,000
LOT SOLD. 7,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
21
Marcel Breuer
EARLY 'ISOKON LONG CHAIR'
Estimate
6,0008,000
LOT SOLD. 7,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Bauhaus_Defining a Century

|
London

Marcel Breuer
EARLY 'ISOKON LONG CHAIR'
branded MADE IN / ESTONIA
laminated birch, plywood
71.8 by 142 by 62 cm.   28 1/4  by 55 7/8  by 24 3/8  in.
1935-36
produced by Venesta, Estonia and Isokon, London
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Professor David Mowbray Balme
Origin Modernism, London
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Literature

Exh. Cat., New York, Museum of Modern Art, MARCEL BREUER: Furniture and Interiors, July - September 1981, p. 127, fig. 126, p. 132, fig. 129 for a drawing, p. 145, fig. 147
Exh. Cat., New York, IBM Gallery of Science and Art (and travelling), Bent Wood and Metal Furniture: 1850-1946, 1987, p. 159, fig. 5-67 for a technical drawing, p. 321, no. 109
Magdalena Droste, Manfred Ludewig, Eds., MARCEL BREUER DESIGN, Cologne 1992, p. 28 for an advertisement, p. 29, p. 132, p. 133, fig. 54
Exh. Cat., Weil am Rhein, Vitra Design Museum, MARCEL BREUER: DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE, September 2003 - May 2004, p. 114, 115 and 139
Jan van Adrichem, Ingeborg de Roode, Eds., The Furniture Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam: 1850-2000 / From Michael Thonet to Marcel Wanders, Rotterdam 2004, frontispiece, p. 116, cat no. 072

Catalogue Note

The Isokon Furniture Company was co-founded by Londoner Jack Pritchard in 1935 to promote modern furniture design within the UK. A follower and devotee of the design principles and aesthetics of the Bauhaus, Pritchard successfully invited Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus, to relocate to London in 1934, with Marcel Breuer following shortly thereafter in 1935. An employee of the Venesta Plywood Company, Pritchard envisioned executing this material on modern designs: ‘The principal material to be used in the preliminary work must be plywood…The furniture will be primarily useful and its aesthetic qualities will be due to its form rather than superimposed ornament…’.

On the suggestion of Gropius, then the Controller of Design for Isokon, the first design for the firm was to be a reclining lounge chair designed by Breuer. The initial design was based off of an earlier aluminium chaise Breuer had designed circa 1932. The transition of material from metal to wood was difficult, forcing Breuer to make multiple modifications to the design to suit the new material.

The seat of the model was executed in Estonia at one of the Venesta plants and shipped in plywood crates also produced by the firm. Once the seat arrived in London, the frame of the chair was created from the plywood of the shipping crates themselves, making efficient use of the material and minimising waste. The outbreak of the Second World War effectively severed Isokon’s connection to their Estonian producer, making early examples scarce. The model is held within the permanent collections internationally, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Bauhaus_Defining a Century

|
London