Peter Blake, Alexey Brodovitch [Designer]: MARCEL BREUER: SUN AND SHADOW [The Philosophy of an Architect]. London, New York, Toronto: Longmans, Green & Co., 1956. First edition [published simultaneously as the Dodd, Mead and Co. edition]. Quarto. Tan cloth embossed and stamped in white. Printed dust jacket. 206 pp. 314 black and white photographs and plans. 8 pages in color. Stunning original book design by Alexey Brodovitch. Cloth lightly sunned. Jacket with a trace of clipping to top and bottom edges. Interior unmarked and very clean. A nearly fine copy in a very good or better dust jacket.
8 x 10.75 hardcover book with 206 pages and 314 black and white photographs and plans and 8 pages of color images. Incredible book choked full of Breuer's designs and philosophies, all joined together by a wonderfully original book design by legendary art director Alexey Brodovitch.
". . . [Breuer's] architecture is, therefore, more than mere shelter: it is the framework not only for comfortable, but also for civilized and intelligent living. -- Peter Blake, 1949
This book offers a comprehensive study of Marcel Breuer's enormously influential designs for furniture, interiors and architecture: Wooden Furniture; Tubular-Steel Furniture; Aluminum Furniture; Interiors; Architecture in Germany, Switzerland, England and the United States; Isokon Furniture; the Museum of Modern Art Competition, and much more. An early, extraordinarily comprehensive volume. Contents:
This volume includes photographs, illustrations, and/or floor plans for the following projects: Alworth House, Duluth, Minn.; Bauhaus Masters, Bambos Row Houses; Bauhaus, Dessau; Beach Restaurants, Mar del Plata, Argentina; Berlin Building Exhibition; Binuclear House, Floor Plans; Black Mountain College, North Carolina, 1939; Boroschek Apartment, Berlin; Breuer House, Calder Mobile, Lincoln, Mass.; Breuer House, Floor Plan, New Canaan, Conn.; Breuer House, Lincoln, Mass 1939; Breuer House, Living Room, Lincoln Mass.; Breuer House, New Canaan, Conn.; Budapest Spring Fair Buildings; Caesar Cottage, Lakeville, Conn.; Cantilevered House, New Canaan, Conn.; Chamberlain Cottage, Wayland, Mass.; Civic Center of the Future, 1969; Clark House, Orange, Connecticut; de Bijenkorf Store, Rotterdam; De Francesco Apartment, Berlin; Diagrams 3 Basic Tubular Steel Chairs, 1928; Dolderthal Apartments, Zurich; East River Apartments, New York; Elberfeld Hospital; Elementary and High Schools, Litchfield, Conn; Exhibition House Museum of Modern Art, 1949; Gane's Exhibition Pavilion, Bristol; Geller House, Lawrence, New York; Grieco House, Andover, Mass; Haggerty House, Cohasset, Mass.; Harnischmacher House, Wiesbaden; Haselhorts Housing, Apartments; Hillside House, Floor Pan; House at Angmering-on-Sea, Sussex, England; Isokon Chair, 1935; Kharkov Theatre Project; Kniffin House, New Canaan, Conn.; L. Moholy-Nagy House; Low Cost Housing, New Kensington, Pa.; Maerisch-Ostrau House; McIntyre Plant, Westbury, New York; Member Housing, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey; Monastery of St John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minn; Multi-lens Window, Berlin; Neumann House, Croton on Hudson, New York; Pack House, Scarsdale, New York ; Piscator Apartment; Plas-2-Point Prefabricated House, 1942; Plywood Nesting Chair, 1945; Potsdamer Platz, Berlin; Robinson House, Williamstown, Mass; Sarah Lawrence Art Center, Bronxville, New York; Serviceman's Memorial, Cambridge, Mass.; Showroom, "Scarves by Vera", New York; Ski Hotel Obergurgl, Tyrol; Smith College Dormitories, Northampton, Mass.; Stacking Isokon Chairs, 1935; Stillman House, Litchfield, Conn; Stone Table, Breuer House, New Canaan, Conn.; Stuyvesant Town, New York; Summer House, Wellfleet, Mass.; Thompson House, Ligonier, PA.; Thost House, Hamburg; Tompkins House, Hewlett Harbor, NY.; Torrington Manufacturing, Oakville, Canada; UNESCO, Paris; Vassar Cooperative House, Poughkeepsie, New York; Ventris Apartment, London; Weizenblatt House, Ashville, NC.; Werkbund Exhibition, Paris; Wheaton College Art Center, 1938; Wohnbedarf Furniture Store, Zurich; Wolfson House, Millbrook, New York and the Yankee Portable Prefabricated House, 1942.
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]
Alexey Brodovitch (1898-1971), legendary art director for Harper's Bazaar and his own landmark magazine Portfolio, passionate teacher of graphic design, advocate of photography and collaborator with many prominent photographers, is often credited with having a major influence on the acceptance of European modernism in America.
"Astonish me!" was Brodovitch's often quoted exhortation to students attending his "Design Laboratory" classes over the years. Though borrowing "étonnez-moi!" from the Russian ballet master Sergei Diaghilev, with this charge, Brodovitch indeed set in motion the application of the modernist ethos to American graphic design and photography.