Collections on Display
At the Gropius House, Bauhaus ideals remain alive, and throughout Gropius’s life, he and Ise continued to add newly designed furnishings that reflected their belief in the marriage of design and industry. Among their favorite additions was the pair of stools by Sori Yanagi of Japan. Gropius traveled to Japan in 1954 and found the Japanese aesthetic intensely inspirational. These stools, designed the year Gropius arrived in Japan, and perhaps acquired by him there, combine modern materials with the lilting curvilinear lines typical of Japanese design. The stools were given pride of place in the Gropius home, in the living room in front of the hearth.
The design for these tubular steel and canvas chairs is the result of Marcel Breuer’s improvisation with the handlebars of his Adler bicycle. This set of six Breuer chairs consists of three sections of continuous chrome-plated tubular steel bolted together with canvas back and seat covers. The Gropius House contains a significant collection of furniture designed by Marcel Breuer and fabricated in the Bauhaus workshops, including a convertible daybed, a cantilevered armchair, nesting tables, side tables, as well as the Gropiuses’ desk from the Director’s House in Dessau.
This “womb” chair was designed by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen in 1946, and manufactured in 1948 by Knoll Associates. It is one of the few pieces of furniture in the Gropius House not designed in the Bauhaus workshops. Ise Gropius said that it was given to Gropius on his seventieth birthday. The design for the chair was the result of Saarinen’s concern for the comfort of the sitter and the unity of its interior space and architecture. The original fabric remains intact.
Designed by Walter Gropius for his office in the Weimar Bauhaus, this piece of furniture is the oldest in the house. It was handcrafted in the woodwork shop of the Bauhaus school in 1923. This desk served Gropius well during the years in Weimar and Dessau until 1928 when he took it to Berlin. Part of the desk, the four glass shelves and the wooden support brackets on the right side, were broken in the transport to America. They were never repaired or replaced. In 1938 when the family moved into the Lincoln house, Ati, Walter and Ise's twelve-year-old daughter, chose to have this desk in her bedroom.
This painting was given to the Gropiuses by Herbert Bayer, one of their dearest lifelong friends. Bayer, born in Austria in 1900, was a student at the Bauhaus from 1921-1923, after which he became a Master in the print department. “Stable Tools,” an abstract rendering of agricultural tools hanging on a barnyard wall, moved to several locations in the Lincoln house and now can be seen in Ati Gropius’s bedroom in Lincoln.