Carlo Scarpa & Marcel Breuer 'Delfi' Marble Table
Carlo Scarpa & Marcel Breuer 'Delfi' marble table, circa 1970, Italy.
H 29 in. x W 86.6 in. x D 35.25 in.
Good. This piece is in very good vintage condition with only minor wear associated with normal use.
Marcel Lajos Breuer (1902-1981)
Marcel Lajos Breuer was a Hungarian-born modernist, architect, and furniture designer. Breuer extended the sculptural vocabulary he had developed in the carpentry shop at the Bauhaus into a personal architecture that made him one of the world's most popular architects at the peak of 20th-century design.
First recognized for his invention of bicycle-handlebar-inspired tubular steel furniture, Breuer lived off his design fees at a time in the late 1920s and early 1930s when the architectural commissions he was looking for were few and far-between. He was known to such giants as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, whose architectural vocabulary he was later to adapt as part of his own, but hardly considered an equal by them who were his senior by 15 and 16 years. Despite the widespread popular belief that one of the most famous of Breuer's tubular steel chairs, the Wassily Chair was designed for Wassily Kandinsky, it was not; Kandinsky admired Breuer's finished chair design, and only then did Breuer make an additional copy for Kandinsky's use in his home. When the chair was re-released in the 1960s, it was designated "Wassily" by its Italian manufacturer, who had learned that Kandinsky had been the recipient of one of the earliest post-prototype units.
It was Gropius who assigned Breuer interiors at the 1927 Weissenhofsiedlung and led him to his first house assignment for the Harnischmachers in Wiesbaden in 1932. Sigfried Giedion extended their furniture collaboration at the Wohnbedarf in Zurich to include a furniture showroom and the great Dolderthal apartments just outside town.
In 1936, at Gropius's suggestion, Breuer relocated to London. Breuer's departure from then Nazi Germany has led some scholars to lump him with the group of Jewish architects and artists who fled the country at that time. Although Breuer's parents were Jewish, it was only in 1981 that Christopher Wilk, preparing his Interiors book for MoMA, found his formal renunciation of the Jewish faith before the Chief Rabbi of Frankfurt in the Breuer archives at Syracuse. Breuer had declared himself as non-religious in order to marry his Bauhaus sweetheart, Marta Erps (1902-1977).
While in London, Breuer was employed by Jack Pritchard at the Isokon company; one of the earliest proponents of modern design in the United Kingdom. Breuer designed his Long Chair as well as experimenting with bent and formed plywood. Between 1935 and 1937 he worked in practice with the English Modernist F. R. S. Yorke with whom he designed a number of houses.
In 1937, Gropius accepted the appointment as chairman of Harvard's Graduate School of Design and again Breuer followed his mentor to join the faculty in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The two men formed a partnership that was to greatly influence the establishment of an American way of designing modern houses – spread by their great collection of wartime students including Paul Rudolph, Eliot Noyes, I. M. Pei, Ulrich Franzen, John Johansen, and Philip Johnson. One of the most intact examples of Breuer's furniture and interior design work during this period is the Frank House in Pittsburgh, designed with Gropius as a Gesamtkunstwerk.