Fundamentally not an ornament – the Bauhaus

Sessel Sitzmaschine Marcel Breuer, Thonet,

The idea of bringing together arts and crafts reached a new peak in the German Bauhaus movement. The timelessness of the style is still popular and resonates a century later, as pieces from the upcoming Design auction demonstrate.

next year: 100 years Bauhaus

Next year will be the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus. Although the Staatliches Bauhaus, established as an art school in 1919 in Weimar by Walter Gropius, formally existed only until 1933, it has considerable influence to this day. That is hardly surprising when you consider that the fundamental concept of Bauhaus, that is to unify the traditionally
separate areas of fine, applied and performing arts, led to a reorientation that went beyond the arts.

“form follows function”

The Bauhaus philosophy also placed the design motto of sculptor Horatio Greenough from 1852, “form follows function”, in a new context – by doing without any kind of ornamentation. Abstract and abstracted patterns were intentionally omitted from furniture designs.

A good example of this is the model B3 lounge chair designed in 1925 by Marcel Breuer. When he created it, Breuer was already a junior master and head of the furniture workshop at the Bauhaus in Dresden, having started his apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker at the Weimar Bauhaus in 1920. The model B3 lounge chair was also known as “Wassily” for Wassily Kandinsky, who worked with Marcel Breuer at the Bauhaus. An early “Wassily” fetched 12,500 euros at Dorotheum’s last Design auction on 2 November 2017.

Sessel Thonet blau Metall
A “Wassily” lounge chair, Model B3, designed by Marcel Breuer 1925, manufactured by Thonet, France, 1930s
realized prize €12,500

Bauhaus and Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky

Another person worth mentioning in this context is the Austrian Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky. Though she did not work directly at the Bauhaus, she met the architect
Ernst May in the 1920s during a collaboration with Adolf Loos.

Gewürzschrank Schütten Laden Kasten
Wall cabinet with 10 drawers and six spice containers, drawers designed by Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky in collaboration with the Harrer/Hanau company, 1929, realized prize €2,755


A wall cabinet with drawers and spice containers designed by Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky found a new owner for 2,577 euros at the Dorotheum Design auction.

a model B25 lounge chair

Sessel Sitzmaschine Bauhaus gelb Stoff
Lounge Chair B 25 designed by Marcel
Breuer, 1928/29, manufactured by Thonet, c. 1930, c. 108 x 60 x 33 x 85 cm
estimate €12,000 – 20,000

The upcoming Design auction on 6 June 2018, will include important pieces from the Bauhaus era, including a model B25 lounge chair. It was designed in 1928/29 by Marcel Breuer and produced by Thonet for only a short time. It first appeared in the 1929/30 Thonet catalogue
and had disappeared from it by 1935.

Designs by Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky will also be featured in the auction. The catalogue contains one of her multi-part kitchens from this era with numerous drawers and spice containers.


6 June 2018, 4 pm
Palais Dorotheum Vienna

Get in contact with our specialist for more information!

Mathias Harnisch, Specialist in Design

Design at Dorotheum

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