Peter Blake: MARCEL BREUER: ARCHITECT AND DESIGNER. New York: Museum of Modern Art [published in collaboration with Architectural Record], 1949. First edition. Quarto. Blue cloth stamped in gold. 128 pp. 196 black and white photographs and illustrations. Former owners signature on front free endpaper. Uncommon in the cloth edition. A nearly fine copy.
8.5 x 11 hardcover book with 128 pages with 196 black and white illustrations and plans, and an extensive bibliography, includes a list of his major works and statements made by Breuer on the subject of modern architecture.
A fine early study of one of the greatest architects of the 20th century. Written while Blake was a curator at the Musem of Modern Art, he had access to the Breuer material in the museum's collection and more importantly to Marcel Breuer himself.
Includes information and images pertainig to the following Breuer projects: Thost House, Hamburg; L. Moholy-Nagy House; Haselhorts Housing, Apartments; Bauhaus Masters Housing; Bamboos Row Houses; Piscator Apartment; De Francesco Apartment, Berlin; Harnischmacher House, Wiesbaden; Werkbund Exhibition, Paris; Potsdamer Platz, Berlin; Elberfeld Hospital; Kharkov Theatre Project; Dolderthal Apartments, Zurich; Budapest Spring Fair Buildings; Wohnbedarf Furniture Store, Zurich; the Bristol pavilion; Stacking Isokon Chairs, 1935; Wheaton College Art Center, 1938; Civic Center of the Future, 1936; Haggerty House, Cohasset, Mass; Fischer House, Newton, Mass; Ford House, Lincoln, Mass; Breuer House, Lincoln, Mass 1939; Tompkins House, Hewlett Harbor, NY; Berlin Building Exhibition; Chamberlain Cottage, Wayland, Mass; Black Mountain College, North Carolina, 1939; Frank House, Pittsburgh, PA; Plas-2-Point Prefabricated House, 1942; Yankee Portable Prefabricated House, 1942; Multi-lens Window, Berlin; Stuyvesant Town, New York; Serviceman's Memorial, Cambridge, Mass; Bi-nuclear House, Floor Plans; Geller House, Lawrence, New York; Robinson House, Williamstown, Mass; Beach Restaurants, Mar del Plata, Argentina; Breuer House, New Canaan, Conn; and the Exhibition House in the Garden of the Museum of Modern Art, 1949.
Also includes work by Naum Gabo, Johannes Itten, Kasimir Malevich, Theo van Doesburg, Gerrit Rietveld, Paul Klee, Herbert Bayer, Wassily Kandinsky, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Piet Mondrian and others.
Marcel Lajos Breuer – Lajkó to his friends – was born on 21 May 1902 in the provincial city of Pecs, Hungary. His early study and teaching at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau in the twenties introduced the wunderkind to the older giants of the era of whom three – Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and Walter Gropius – were to have life-long influence upon his professional life.
By the time he left Germany in 1935 to join Gropius in London, Breuer was one of the best-known designers in Europe. His reputation was based upon his invention of tubular steel furniture, one big residence, two apartment houses, some shop interiors and several competition entries.
Two years later, Gropius asked him to join Harvard’s architecture faculty and, during WWII their partnership revolutionized American house design while teaching a whole generation of soon-to-be famous architects.
On his own in New York in 1946, Breuer saw a practice that had been essentially residential finally expand into institutional buildings with the UNESCO Headquarters commission in Paris in 1952 and the first of many buildings for Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville, MN two years later.
His New York-based firm moved through three ever-larger offices, with a branch in his beloved Paris to handle work in seven European countries; he gathered five young partners in the process.
By 1968, when he won the AIA’s Gold Medal, he could look back on such world-famous monuments as New York’s Whitney Museum (probably the best known), IBM’s La Gaude Laboratory (his personal favorite), the headquarters of the Departments of HUD and HEW in Washington DC (he finally felt American), and Flaine (an entire ski-town in the French Alps). In that same year, he won the first Jefferson Foundation Medal that cited him “among all the living architects of the world as excelling all others in the quality of his work.”
He retired in 1976 and died on the 1st of July 1981 after a long illness. [Robert F. Gatje FAIA]