'Long Chair'

Ref: 1829
  • Designer / Maker

    Designed by Marcel Breuer (1902-81)

    Manufactured by the Isokon Furniture Company (1931-39)

  • Detail

    Birch

    69 x 61 x 142 (approximate maximum dimensions)

    Estonian, probably mid-1930s

  • Provenance

    Sir Leslie Martin (1908-2000), architect of the Royal Festival Hall, London (1951)

  • Literature

    Christopher Wilk, Marcel Breuer Furniture and Interiors, 1981, pp.128-33 (for a discussion of this model)

  • Collection

    Private collection

  • Notes

    This chair, examples of which are in many public collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, and the Power House, Sydney, is made from a bent birch frame and a moulded birch-faced plywood seat.

    ‘The Long Chair exemplifies the transformation and adaptation of a design from one medium to another.  The first iteration of the bent form lounge chair by Breuer was a frame for a reclining chair in aluminium and steel with wood arm rests … [The chair] was Breuer’s first foray into bentwood and the first chair produced by the newly formed British based Isokon Furniture Company, founded by Jack Pritchard …

    Although the chair’s design derives from Breuer’s earlier work, the use of plywood is influenced by the molded furniture of Finnish architect Alvar Aalto.’

    Quoted from the Museum of Modern Art website.

    Leslie Martin, the original owner of the present chair, was part of the North London circle of modernists that included Jack Pritchard, as well as Wells Coates and Ben Nicholson.  It thus seems likely that he acquired this example at an early date.