Chair

Designed by Peter Behrens, German, 1868 - 1940. Made by Anton Blüggel, German (active Berlin).

Geography:
Made in Germany, Europe

Date:
c. 1902

Medium:
Oak, woven rush

Dimensions:
39 3/4 x 18 x 21 1/4 inches (101 x 45.7 x 54 cm) Seat height: 18 inches (45.7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

Object Location:

* Gallery 158, European Art 1850-1900, first floor

Accession Number:
1981-28-1

Credit Line:
Gift of Collab: The Group for Modern and Contemporary Design at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in honor of Elisabeth L. Fraser, 1981

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Label:
This chair was designed as part of a dining room display for an exhibition of modern interiors at the Wertheim Department Store in Berlin.

Additional information:
  • PublicationDesign, 1900-1940

    Peter Behrens designed this chair for an exhibition of "modern interiors" at the Wertheim department store in Berlin in 1902, to which several other well-known architects and designers contributed, among them the Germans Richard Riemerschmid and August Endell and the Englishman Hugh Baillie Scott. One critic considered Behren's dining room "one of the most interesting [interiors] of the whole series. It is a uniform creation where every shape is subject to the intention of an orderly will… A basic rectangular form… appears as flat ornament on the walls… in the porcelain service, the knotted carpet, and in relief on the silverwares. It takes three-dimensional form and… influences the shape of the furniture, the buffet and sideboard… as well as the construction of the backrest of the chairs."

    Behren's geometrically systemized interior presented a marked contrast to the dining room of his own house in Darmstadt completed the previous year. There he experimented with the freely curved lines used by the Belgian Art Nouveau designer Henry van de Velde, whose house near Brussels had been widely publicized in Germany. Only in its arched back and waisted legs does this chair recall that earlier style, while its form is defined by the flat rectangular pattern of the pierced crest rail and horizontal stretchers that join splat and back posts. In its embodiment of an abstract geometrical order, the chair anticipates Behrens's work for the Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG), where as a pioneer in the practice of industrial design, he conceived not only the buildings but also the products and publicity material of this electric company. Kathryn B. Hiesinger and George H. Marcus, from Guides to European Decorative Arts: Design, 1900-1940 (1987), p. 6.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.