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Chaise Longue no.313

Marcel Breuer (American, b. Hungary, 1902–1981)

Embru-Werke AG (Swiss, b. 1904–present)

1932 (manufactured 1934)

Medium aluminum and beech Measurements H: 28 15/16 x W: 56 3/16 x D: 23 7/16 in. (73.5 x 142.7 x 59.53 cm) Credit Berdan Memorial Trust Fund Accession Number 1997.41 Location Not on View

Narrative

A student and later faculty member at the Bauhaus in Germany, Marcel Breuer was a seminal figure in the twentieth-century design movement that advocated the use of industrial materials to manufacture affordable, functional furniture. This chaise longue is a perfect example of his principles in practice. In 1933, the International Bureau for Applications of Aluminum, a trade organization for the aluminum industry, held a competition in Paris for lightweight and versatile aluminum seating furniture. Breuer submitted five prototypes—a stool, an office chair, a side chair, an armchair, and chaise longue no. 313. His work took the top honors from both participating juries. By 1934, Breuer’s designs from the competition were in full production by several manufacturers. In this chaise, four angled intersecting planes imply a human shape. Breuer created the planes from a ladder of springy aluminum strips. He also employed several ingenious devices to avoid the appearance of rigidity in a largely rectilinear object rendered with crisp metal elements, including rounding the head rest and avoiding right-angle supports. The sleek metalwork frame seen here originally supported a single flexible cushion.