The collection
Free-standing set of three black shelves set into a tubular-steel frame with rounded corners.

Étagère, B22

Designed by
Marcel Breuer (1902–1981)
Tubular steel, plastic laminate
Produced by
Gebrüder Thonet, Vienna, Austria
60 x 75.1 x 40 cm

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Liliane and David M. Stewart Collection, gift of Victoria Barr from the Estate of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred H. Barr Jr., D88.142.1*

Tubular steel and plastic laminate (which is made from layers of plastic bonded together) were favorite materials of Bauhaus architects in their furniture designs of the 1920s. Breuer studied and then taught at the Bauhaus from 1924 to 1928. His development of tubular steel-furniture made a tremendous impact on designers worldwide.

The leading manufacturer of tubular-steel furniture in that period was Gebruder Thonet in Vienna, already famous for its bentwood furniture. Since the 1920s, tubular steel furniture designed by architects has been considered the most suitable for modern interiors, and it is still popular today. Mass-production techniques eventually made it available for everyday use.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, photo: Denis Farley.