Alvar Aalto - Design and Design Art New York Thursday, May 24, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    For the interior designed by Marcel Breuer for Mr. and Mrs. Smith, London, 1935-1936

  • Literature

    Goeran Schildt, Alvar Aalto: The Complete Catalogue of Architecture, Design and Art, New York, 1995, p. 249 for an example of the armchair; Pirkko Tuukkanen, ed., Alvar Aalto Designer, Vammala, 2002, pp. 69 and 162 for examples of the side chairs

  • Catalogue Essay

    Mr. Smith was the brother of Mrs. Grote. Prof. Dr. Ludwig Grote was the director of Städtische Galerie in Dessau and a close friend of the Bauhaus.

  • Artist Biography

    Alvar Aalto

    Finnish • 1898 - 1976

    In contrast with the functionalism of the International Style (as well the neoclassicism put forward by the Nazi and Soviet regimes), Alvar Aalto brought a refreshing breath of humanism to modern design: "True architecture exists only where man stands in the center," he wrote. Aalto designed furniture in stack-laminated plywood composed of Finnish birch, which was cost-effective and lent warmth to his interiors. Aalto also revived Finnish glass design with his entries in the various Karhula-Iitala glassworks competitions throughout the 1930s.

    In 1936 he won first place for a collection of colorful, wavy vases in various sizes titled Eskimoerindens skinnbuxa (The Eskimo Woman’s Leather Breeches). The vases were an immediate success and the most popular size, now known as the "Savoy" vase, is still in production today. Aalto's freeform designs, in harmony with human needs and nature, anticipated the organic modernism of the 1950s and 1960s; in particular, his innovations in bent plywood had a major impact on designers such as Charles and Ray Eames.

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Two armchairs, model no. 415, 1929 and two side chairs, model no. 2

Each armchair: birch, bent laminated birch plywood; each side chair: birch, laminated birch plywood, fabric. Manufactured by Huonekalu-Ja Rakennustyötehdas, Finland and retailed by Finmar, Ltd., UK. Each with manufacturer’s celluloid label “Finmar Ltd. Design Reg. 787811-19 Made in Finland” and stamped “Aalto Made In Finland” (4).
Each armchair: 27 1/4 in. (69.2 cm) high; each side chair: 31 3/8 in. (79.5 cm) high

$12,000 - 18,000 

Design and Design Art

24 May 2007
2pm New York