Marcel Breuer

Irene Bayer, Portrait of Marcel Breuer, ca. 1928
Bauhaus Archive / Museum of Design, Berlin

Irene Bayer, Portrait of Marcel Breuer, ca. 1928
Bauhaus Archive / Museum of Design, Berlin

Marcel Breuer received a scholarship to attend the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in 1920. He switched to the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar the same year and attended Johannes Itten’s preliminary course. From 1920/21 to 1924, he studied at the carpentry workshop taught by Walter Gropius. In 1924, he passed his journeyman’s examination at the Chamber of Crafts Weimar and initially became an associate journeyman in the carpentry workshop with flexible working hours and a fixed salary. His job was to facilitate between the masters of form and the masters of works.

After his appointment by Walter Gropius as a junior master in 1925, he directed the furniture workshop, also known as the carpentry workshop, until 1928. In 1925, he created the B3 chair, the first design for a tubular steel chair for domestic use. In 1926/27, Breuer founded the company Standard Möbel GmbH with Kálmán Lengyel in Berlin. That same year, he married fellow Bauhaus member Martha Erps.

Breuer left the Bauhaus in 1928. He opened an architecture office in Berlin, employing the former Bauhaus student Gustav Hassenpflug. Breuer continued to work as an interior designer and furniture designer (Piscator apartment) in Berlin. However, his many architecture projects were not realised. In 1933, Breuer moved his office to Budapest. Two years later, he relocated to England and founded an architecture office together with the architect F. R. S. Yorke. In 1937, he moved to the United States and received a professorship for architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design with the help of Walter Gropius. Together with Gropius, he directed an office in Cambridge, Massachusettes, until 1941. The same year, Breuer established his own architecture office, which he moved to New York in 1946. In 1956, he founded the practice Marcel Breuer and Associates, Architects in New York. This realised a number of major projects in the United States and Europe (Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, UNESCO Building in Paris).

Literature:
Droste, Magdalena / Ludewig, Manfred: Marcel Breuer Design, Köln 1992
Vegesack, Alexander von / Remmele, Mathias: Marcel Breuer, Design und Architektur, Vitra Design Museum Weil am Rhein 2003.