Marcel Breuer 1902-1981

"The artist works with the highest level of feeling. The technician works with the highest level of logic." A key member of the Bauhaus, and a protege of its founder Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer was an influential architect who created of one of the great esthetic icons of the Modernist movement—the Wassily Chair. Born in Hungary, Breuer began studies at the Bauhaus at 18, quickly establishing himself as a design revolutionary. By using tubular steel as the main element in his chair designs, an idea he borrowed from bicycle handle bars, Breuer created a radically new material vocabulary for furniture, culminating in his iconoclastic Wassily Chair, a supremely architectural 1925 invention that remains synonymous with Modernism's focus on the new and experimental. In the 1930's, Breuer followed his mentor, Gropius, to Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, where he joined Harvard's faculty, and partnered with Gropius to form an architectural practice that would directly or indirectly transform the built American landscape. Breuer's own development as architect and designer would reach an apex with the Frank House, a palatial Pittsburgh residence he co-designed with Gropius, that exemplifies the duo's goal of a complete design statement, encompassing architecture, landscaping, and interior design. But his most famous solo commission resides in New York City. The Whitney Museum of American Art, completed in 1966, looms over Madison Avenue, a striking example of Breuer's embrace of concrete as preferred building material. Marcel Breuer was awarded the American Institute of Architects's Gold Medal in 1968.