Marcel Breuer

American, born Hungary (Pécs, Hungary [now Romania], 1902 - 1981, New York City, New York)

A native of Hungary, Marcel Breuer attended Allami Foreaiskola in Pecs before continuing his studies at the Bauhaus, a German art and architecture school founded by Walter Gropius that was in operation from 1919 to 1933.

Breuer went on to become a Bauhaus instructor in the mid-1920s, when his enthusiasm for the stability of a new bicycle he purchased gave him the idea of using tubular steel to design furniture forms. His "discovery" inspired an entire line of mass-produced steel furniture that epitomized the Bauhaus ideal: streamlined designs that expressed each object's functional and structural essence. The clean lines, hard edges, and simple geometric forms of the Wassily Chair, his most famous design, epitomized this "machine aesthetic."

After working for one year in London with F.R.S. Yorke, Breuer emigrated to the United States, where he taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He operated a practice in New York from 1946 until his retirement in 1976.

From June 3, 2013, through early 2016, SFMOMA's building on Third Street in San Francisco will be temporarily closed for expansion construction. Selected artworks in our collection are included in a range of off-site exhibitions during this period. We regret that the remainder of the collection will not be available for study during this time.

In the meantime, we invite you to explore a wide selection of our collection online. Please note that the information presented online is subject to revision. Please contact us at to verify artwork details.

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