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Side Chair, Model B5

Decorative Arts and Design

On View: Decorative Art, 20th-Century Decorative Arts, 4th Floor
In 1925, Marcel Breuer arrived as a teacher at the Bauhaus, the German school of art, design, and architecture that had recently moved to Dessau. Soon thereafter, he purchased an Adler bicycle, whose strength, flexibility, and lightness—made possible by its tubular steel frame—greatly impressed him. That same year, Breuer began making furniture from polished tubular steel, starting with the Wassily Chair—named after his friend and fellow Bauhaus instructor, the painter Wassily Kandinsky—and extending to side chairs and tables, examples of which are on view here.

Though it lasted only from 1919 until 1933, when it closed under Nazi pressure, the Bauhaus was highly influential due in part to the number of vanguard figures who were affiliated with it. Many of them, because of the persecution of Jewish people and those deemed “degenerate,” fled Germany and established themselves in the United States. The school advocated the equality of the arts and elevation of craft, echoing the ideals of the earlier Arts and Crafts and other movements. However, in later years, the Bauhaus became more widely associated with industrial production, of which Breuer’s tubular steel furniture is among the best-known examples.
MEDIUM Chromium plated tubular steel, blue Eisengarn canvas
DATES ca. 1926
DIMENSIONS 33 3/4 × 18 × 23 in. (85.7 × 45.7 × 58.4 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alexis Zalstem-Zalessky
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Decorative Art, 20th-Century Decorative Arts, 4th Floor
CAPTION Marcel Breuer (American, born Hungary, 1902–1981). Side Chair, Model B5, ca. 1926. Chromium plated tubular steel, blue Eisengarn canvas, 33 3/4 × 18 × 23 in. (85.7 × 45.7 × 58.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alexis Zalstem-Zalessky, 59.236.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 59.236.2_colorcorrected_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 59.236.2_colorcorrected_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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