Dining Table and Chairs,designed by Donald Deskey
This dining table and four chairs were acquired by Alfred H. Barr Jr., first Director of the Museum of Modern Art, around 1931 for use in his apartment at 424 East 52nd Street in Manhattan. This set, along with other tables also purchased from Ypsilanti Reed, went with the Barrs when they moved to a new apartment around the corner at Two Beekman Place. Barr himself designed this interior, incorporating artwork he collected, as seen on the pedestal behind the table. Tubular-steel furniture was invented in Germany in the 1920s, and Barr had seen the work of such masters as Marcel Breuer and Mies van der Rohe in magazines and on his visits to Europe.
Rather than ordering the furniture from Germany, which would have been expensive, he settled for American designer Donald Deskey’s adaptations of Breuer’s designs. Tubular-steel furniture appealed to Barr’s sense of simplicity and unornamented funtionality as essential to modern design which he promoted at MoMA.