Chair (model B33)

Accession Number

Chair (model B33)

Marcel Breuer

Object Creation Date
designed 1927-1928; produced circa 1935

Medium & Support
chrome-plated tubular steel and canvas

32 in x 19 1/4 in x 24 in (81.28 cm x 48.9 cm x 60.96 cm)

Credit Line
Bequest of Herbert W. and Susan L. Johe

Label copy
Gallery Rotations Spring 2013
Marcel Breuer
United States, born Hungary, 1902–81
Table (model B10)
circa 1935
Chrome-plated tubular steel and black-lacquered wood
Manufactured by Mücke-Melder (Thonet licence)
Chairs (model B33)
circa 1935
Chrome-plated tubular steel and canvas
Manufactured by Mücke-Melder (Thonet license)
Gift of Herbert and Susan Johe, 2012/1.283, 2012/1.284, 2012/1.285
The cantilever design of Marcel Breuer’s B33 chair eliminated traditional rear legs, reducing the frame to a single curving line. In paring down furniture to nothing more than a few surfaces—tabletop, seat, back—supported by gleaming, lightweight metal tubes, Breuer sought purely functional designs that would foreground light, space, and movement. These, he believed, were the fundamental necessities of modern life, particularly as lived at the Bauhaus, the innovative school of art, craft, and design in Germany where Breuer taught and first developed these designs. As an essential element of the school’s environment, Breuer’s metal furniture epitomized the Bauhaus’s utopian goal of merging art and technology with everyday life.
The cost of tubular steel, as well as reservations about metal in domestic spaces, initially limited Breuer’s designs to the Bauhaus and the homes of an intellectual elite. This furniture never attained the school’s ideal of transformative design for the masses, despite its growing popularity in the thirties. Nevertheless, Breuer’s attempt to integrate form, function, and mass-production became a key reference point in the evolution of modernist architecture and design.

Physical Description
Cantilever chair frame formed by a continuous line of thin steel tubing (connected under the seat with an additional piece of tubular steel), with separate lengths of black canvas wrapped around it at the seat and back.

Primary Object Classification
Furniture and Furniture Accessories

Primary Object Type

Additional Object Classification(s)
Decorative Arts

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design (discipline)
seating furniture

2 Related Resources

Architects of Modernism
(Part of: Architecture and Buildings)
Line of Progress
(Part of: F20 / W21 Gibelyou - ALA 350 - Predicting the Future)

& Author Notes

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