The present lot comes from one of Rufus Stillman’s many interiors designed by Breuer. Stillman, Breuer’s greatest patron, commissioned more than twenty architectural projects as well as numerous furnishings—both professionally and personally—from the architect over the course of three decades. This desk was locally crafted by James Evangelisti in the 1970s and made to Breuer’s original specifications. 

Table and Desk for Breuer House, 1958. Image from the Marcel Breuer Digital Archive
We can say that James Joyce was above all a writer for writers, Marcel Breuer can be considered a designer for designers. —Dino Gavina

This desk design was first produced for Marcel Breuer’s own home in New Canaan, Connecticut; drawings in the Marcel Breuer Archive date the all wood construction form to 1958. Italian entrepreneur, Dino Gavina visited Breuer in his home and added the Canaan desk design to his production line by 1962. Knoll acquired Gavina in 1968 and in 1970 a variation of the desk, Desk Canaan II featuring aluminum pulls and a different drawer configuration was put into production. 

Breuer Desk Canaan II: Preliminary Design for Knoll Image from the Marcel Breuer Digital Archive

I am as much interested in the smallest detail as in the whole structure.

Marcel Breuer

Marcel Breuer

Marcel Breuer’s parents encouraged their children to take interest in culture and the arts from an early age, and when the Hungarian born designer turned eighteen he secured a scholarship to the prestigious Fine Arts Academy in Vienna. Uninterested in the lengthy discussions about aesthetic tradition and eager for a more practical education, he took a job in an architectural firm. When a friend told him about a new art school in Weimar Germany called the Bauhaus, Breuer promptly enrolled. Under the guidance of director Walter Gropius, Breuer became one of six apprentices to join the furniture workshop, producing his earliest known design in 1921, the African Chair. Breuer graduated in 1924 and after a brief time in Paris, returned to the school as the head of the of the carpentry worship in 1925. Inspired by his first bicycle, Breuer began working on designs for a chair made of tubular steel. The revolutionary steel club armchair, known as the Wassily, remains one of his most well-known designs to date.

Learn More

Auction Results Marcel Breuer