Erich Dieckmann, the forgotten man from the Bauhaus


Erich Dieckmann, the forgotten man from the Bauhaus

Reminiscent of a streamlined race car: armchair no. 8219 by Erich Dieckmann.

Photo: GRASSI Museum of Applied Arts, Leipzig, photo Christoph Sandig

With a big show, the Kunstgewerbemuseum commemorates the Bauhaus era’s important furniture designer – and his competitors.

Berlin. The curved lines on the steel tube seat no. 8219 are reminiscent of a streamlined race car. Everyone knows this incarnation of modernity. Like the heavy club chair with its distinctive, angular armrests.

However, hardly anyone knows the name of the designer Erich Dieckmann (1896-1944). Besides Marcel Breuer, he was the most important furniture designer of the Bauhaus. That he was forgotten for decades was due to the fact that he did not go to the Bauhaus in Dessau. And consequently got none of its charisma.

Dieckmann, the most influential designer of the Bauhaus

That should now change with the exhibition “Chairs: Dieckmann! The forgotten Bauhausler Erich Dieckmann “in the Kunstgewerbemuseum. For the first time in more than 30 years, around 120 pieces of furniture, graphics, drafts, drawings and contemporary positions pay homage to the designer in a major show.

To this end, the Museum of Decorative Arts and the Art Library are collaborating with the Art Foundation of Saxony-Anhalt and the Burg Giebichenstein Academy of Fine Arts. For Sabine Thümmler, it is also about making visible the most influential designer of the Bauhaus. “I also think it’s important that Dieckmann was a sustainable designer in the contemporary sense of the word,” emphasizes the director of the Kunstgewerbemuseum.

Dieckmann experimented with shapes and materials

Like his biggest competitor Marcel Breuer, Erich Dieckmann also experimented with shapes and materials. He prefers wood. But he also worked with steel. And was a master of stroke and outline. Early on, he developed cubic furniture that could be combined and expanded in many ways. In addition, they could be mass-produced cheaply at an early stage. Organic, curved designs were added later.

The exhibition consists of several parts. First and foremost from Dieckmann’s works. Many of the items shown belong to the internal fixtures. There are also composition studies, watercolors and designs for furniture from the art library, which has about 1,600 objects from the artist’s property. Interior shows how Dieckmann imagined living.

Convenient on the one hand, as the multifunctional wardrobe for a bachelor room proves, made for clothes and linen, but also with side shelves for books. On the other hand, perfect in terms of materials and design. As Dieckmann’s first wooden chair from 1923, which the Kunstgewerbemuseum has just acquired.

Looking at Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer

The section “The Others” presents exhibitions by designers who worked as Dieckmann between the First and Second World Wars. Kunstgewerbemuseum could fall back on its own rich stock of design objects by Mies van der Rohe or Marcel Breuer’s famous, cantilevered armchair “B 55”. A successful supplement and classification by Dieckmann.

Another area shows the works of students at Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Halle, who are intensively involved with Dieckmann and who have developed his favorite piece of furniture, the chair, to the present day under the title “Review of Sitting”. These include the “MQ1” chair by Karl Schinkel, which creates innovative sustainability with low-fat quark as a natural protein glue. Erich Dieckmann would have liked it a lot.

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