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Call No.: DES.2010.0002.011320691
Repository: Special Collections, Frances Loeb Library, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University
Title: Breuer, Marcel, 1902-1981. The Breuer Lectures Collection: An Inventory.
Quantity: 0.5 linear feet
Quantity: Extent is approximate
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The collection is comprised of 17 lectures and writings by Marcel Breuer, both in manuscript and/or typescript form.
Marcel Lajos Breuer was born in Pécs, Hungary, on May 21, 1902. Starting in 1920 he attended the Bauhaus at Weimar, headed by Walter Gropius, and whose program would transform design education worldwide. Breuer graduated in 1924, and soon after Gropius appointed him as Bauhaus master and head of the carpentry workshop, where he stayed until 1928 (teaching both at Weimar and at Dessau). In 1931-1932 he travels throughout Italy, Spain, Greece and Morocco, and in 1933 he settles in Berlin to open his own architectural practice. He has to leave Germany, and from 1934 to 1937 he works in England, in partnership with F.R.S. Yorke. He emigrates to the United States in 1937 where he joins the faculty of Harvard's Graduate School of Design, where he will teach from 1938 to 1946. At Harvard he was an admired teacher, where he succeeded in interpreting the new design to a new generation of architects. Together with Gropius they set up an architectural practice, a partnership that would last from 1938 to 1941, when a controversy over the role of architecture distances them (while Gropius had a program for social reform, Breuer's interests were mainly formal and technical). When he leaves Harvard, he moves to New York, where he continued his successful practice. Marcel Breuer died on July 1, 1981, in New York City.Marcel Breuer is known worldwide both as a designer of furniture and as an architect. He did not belong to the generation of the founders of modernism, including Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, but to the generation that immediately followed them. He was among the pioneers of the invention of the tubular steel chair, and by 1923 his furniture design was known for its modern language of pure geometrical form and simplicity of design, with an emphasis on structure. Among his chairs is the Wassily Chair (1925), and the cane-backed Cesca Chair (1928). Although he is best known for his furniture design and early architectural projects of single-family houses of the 1930s and 1940s, he practiced through the mid-1970s and was commissioned several larger buildings with a diversity of architectural programs. His early European works include Haselhorst Housing (Spandau, Germany, 1928), Elberfeld Hospital (Elberfeld, Germany, 1928), Kharkov Theater (Kharkov, Ukraine, 1931), Harnischmacher House (Wiesbaden, Germany, 1932), Dolderthal Apartments (Zurich, Switzerland, 1934), and House at Angmering-on-Sea (Sussex, England, 1936; with F.R.S. Yorke).In the United States he initially devoted himself to the design of single family houses. His work in association with Gropius reveals interests in standardization, mass production, construction techniques, typology, simple plans, free circulation, and interior walls reduced to light-weight partitions. The early houses include: Breuer House, (Lincoln, Massachusetts, 1939), Fischer House, (Newton, Pennsylvania, 1938), Haggerty House (Cohasset, Massachusetts, 1938), Ford House (Lincoln, Massachusetts, 1939). Among Breuer's houses made of prefabricated elements, are the Yankee Portables and Plas-2-Point, that were capable of being disassembled. His later houses include Geller House, (Lawrence, Long Island, New York, 1945), Robinson House (Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1947), Tompkins House, (Hewlett Harbor Village, Long Island, New York 1946), Breuer House (New Canaan, Connecticut, 1947), Caesar House (Lakeville, Connecticut, 1951), Neumann House (Croton-on-Hudson, New York, 1953), and Hanson House (Lloyd Harbor, Huntington, Long Island, New York, 1950), among others. His later works include the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, New York, 1963-1964) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (Washington D.C., 1963-1968).
The arrangement of the collection follows the original order of files received. Lectures have been included in a single series, and are numbered A001 through A017.
The Breuer Lectures Collection is comprised of 17 lectures and writings by Marcel Breuer, both in manuscript and/or typescript form.