Modernist 20th Century /07 December 2003


Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Barcelona coffee table
Jerry Griffith
Germany, c. 1968
stainless steel, glass
40 w × 40 d × 16 h in (102 × 102 × 41 cm)

This example was made by Jerry Griffith in Chicago under the supervision of Mies van der Rohe. The Griffith tables have extremely precise corners, and less reinforcement at the central cross than later production examples by Knoll. The tables were hand made for each project specified by Mies, and very few were produced. Jerry Griffith made this table in 1968 for a private client. The table was never purchased by the client, however, and subsequently acquired by Rick Biles, a student of Mies' at IIT and an intern at Griffith's workshop.

provenance: Rick Biles acquired directly from Griffith Private Collection, Chicago

estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $2,832

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Ludwig Mies van der Rohe 1886–1969

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was one of the most prominent modernist architects of the twentieth century, known for his pure creations of architectural form. Mies van der Rohe was born in 1886, in Aachen, Germany. His father was a stone mason, and as a child, Mies was fascinated by the rich materials his father used to build. In 1909, despite a lack of formal training, Mies moved to Berlin to work for an architect. He showed such promise that famed architect, Peter Behrens hired Mies to work at his firm. Mies soon joined the Deutscher Werkbund, a movement that sought to work in the style of William Morris and the Arts & Crafts movement through the creation of objects and buildings that were both functional and useful.

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