Chair by Gunta Stölzl and Marcel Breuer from 1921

Chair by Gunta Stölzl and Marcel Breuer from 1921

The presence in Weimar of Theo van Doesburg, co-founder of the De Stijl movement, and the design principles that he promoted influenced the development of the Bauhaus from 1921 at the very latest. The chair made in 1921 by Marcel Breuer and Gunta Stölzl displays distinct formal evidence of the principles of the Dutch art group. Everything about this chair is rectangular: backrest, seat, the cross-section of the chair legs; even the woven tapestry strips form squares or rectangles. The colours for this piece were also selected according to the De Stijl concept with a palette limited to red, blue and yellow enhanced by black, white and grey.

Siebenbrodt, Michael (Ed.): Bauhaus Weimar: Designs for the Future, Ostfildern-Ruit 2000.

via Gunta Stölzl – Bauhaus Master .

Once more an indication De Stijl had indeed influenced Bauhaus.

About Gunta Stölzl

Gunta Stölzl (5 March 1897 – 22 April 1983) was a German textile artist who played a fundamental role in the development of the Bauhaus school’s weaving workshop, where she created enormous change as it transitioned from individual pictorial works to modern industrial designs. She was one of a small number of female teachers on the Bauhaus’ staff and the first to hold the title of “Master”.

Her textile work is thought to typify the distinctive style of Bauhaus textiles. She joined the Bauhaus as a student in 1919, became a junior master in 1927. She was dismissed for political reasons in 1931, two years before the Bauhaus closed under pressure from the Nazis.

The textile department was a neglected part of the Bauhaus when Stölzl began her career, and its active masters were weak on the technical aspects of textile production. She soon became a mentor to other students and reopened the Bauhaus dye studios in 1921. After a brief departure, Stölzl became the school’s weaving director in 1925 when it relocated from Weimar to Dessau and expanded the department to increase its weaving and dyeing facilities. She applied ideas from modern art to weaving, experimented with synthetic materials, and improved the department’s technical instruction to include courses in mathematics. The Bauhaus weaving workshop became one of its most successful facilities under her direction.

via Wikipedia

De Stijl Magazine – J.J.P. Oud Bench vs Berlage Bench

J.J.P. Oud bench in magazine De Stijl
For me learning about De Stijl, a group of artists, designers and architects, but also the name of a Dutch magazine by the same name, is part of uncovering the history of chair design. Therefore I’m sharing this find of the scans of the first 3 volumes of the magazine “De Stijl” by … the University Library of the University of Iowa.
De Stijl magazine was edited by Theo van Doesburg. Leiden, 1917-1932. In total 8 volumes with 90 numbers were published.

The print is from the hall of a Dutch holiday home designed by J.J.P. Oud with benches integrated in the structure of the hall.

Berlage Bench Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

Although Hendrik Petrus Berlage was not part of De Stijl as he was from a slightly older generation of architects, he must have influenced the members of De Stijl. He integrated a bench in a similar way in the The Hague City Museum of Modern Art (Gemeentemuseum Den Haag). Unfortunately The angle of my lens was not wide enough to capture both benches at once:-)

Update 2023: later I found out that Oud knew Berlage and worked with him and thus is most likely influenced by him as well.

Tubular Steel Armchair by Theo van Doesburg

Tubular Steel Chair by Theo van Doesburg
Photo by Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal
Photo of Van Doesburg tubular chair for his studio in Meudon

And thanks to this online gallery of the Guardian Theo van Doesburg comes to Tate Modern I can add a fourth chair known to be designed by Theo van Doesburg, shortly before his untimely death in 1931. The old photo of this chair thanks to the Netherlands Institute for Art History, which mentions the chair was for his studio in Meudon.

Corner Chair by Theo van Doesburg’s Friend Thijs Rinsema

Corner Chair by Theo van Doesburg

Corner Chair by Theo van Doesburg’s Friend Thijs Rinsema

Originally this was the third part of our mini series about Theo van Doesburg (click for part 1 and part 2).

However there is doubt that these chairs were designed by Theo van Doesburg himself. One of our readers pointed out the threesome was designed by Thijs Rinsema, a friend of Van Doesburg.

Chair by Theo van Doesburg or Thijs Rinsema?

Chair by Theo van Doesburg
As we have the habit of publishing one type of chair per post and I had 3 photos of a chair designed by Theo van Doesburg I rather share my second photo immediately after the first post about him.