860 Lake Shore Drive

Mies van der Rohe used this chair design in Philip Johnson’s New York City apartment. Donald Powell first met Philip Johnson in the early 1950s, when Johnson designed a house for the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts Director, Richard Davis, next door to the Powell family residence on the shores of Lake Minnetonka in Wayzata, Minnesota. Powell came home every day after school and checked on the progress of the house. Powell/Kleinschmidt worked with Johnson decades later when they designed the Mayer Brown & Platt offices at Johnson’s 190 S. LaSalle Street tower. When Powell told Johnson he was using the chair in his apartment in 1983, Johnson loaned one to him so that the fabricators at Interior Crafts could study it more closely. The armchair is Powell/Kleinschmidt’s own design; Mies only designed the side chair.

Image courtesy of Jon Miller (c) Hedrich Blessing

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is one of the most celebrated modernist architects of the twentieth century, known for developing the International Style in Germany and abroad, which emphasized function, balance, clean lines and the use of glass and steel.

Mies van der Rohe was born in 1886 in Aachen, Germany, a center of heavy industry. His father was a stonecutter and Mies, who was never formally trained in architecture, often worked with his father, developing his exceptional sensitivity to materials at a young age. At 15, he apprenticed with several architectural firms in Aachen, and in 1905 he moved to Berlin to work for architect and furniture designer Bruno Paul. He received his first independent commission in 1907, the Riehl House in Postdam, and it caught the attention of Peter Behrens, the most progressive architect of the era. Mies joined the firm, where he met Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius, who were also working under Behrens. From 1915 to 1918, he served in the war and, upon returning to Berlin, became involved in the very active artistic scene of the 1920s, when Bauhaus De Stijl and Expressionism were all emerging. In 1924, Mies met Lilly Reich, whom he collaborated and was involved with for many years; together, they designed the Barcelona chair, which debuted at the Mies-designed Germany pavilion for the World’s Fair in 1929 and is now regarded as one of the most iconic designs of the modern era.

Auction Results Ludwig Mies van der Rohe