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BRUNO MATHSSON: Designer & Architect

At the Bard Graduate Center Gallery

By Glenn Loney



The Bard Graduate Center Gallery
18 W. 86th St.

Bruno Mathsson was one of the Pioneers of Swedish Modernism, but--if you think you may never have heard the name before--you have surely sat in one of his Modernist Chairs, worked at one of his Desks, or eaten from one of his tables…

This new exhibition at the Bard Gallery is, in fact, Mathsson’s first solo-show in the United States, even though examples of his revolutionary--and very User-Friendly!--furniture have been shown at MoMA and elsewhere.

Among architects & interior-designers, Mathsson was best-known for his modern bentwood furniture. His most popular furniture-forms--the lounge-chair, the easy-chair, and the work-chair--will be displayed at Bard, showing varied evolutions.

Mathsson prided himself on designing chairs that--while also cutting-edge Modern--were really comfortable to sit in as well! His handsome but very simple tables and desks were also easy to work with, taking full Visual-Advantage of the beauties of naked white birch surfaces.

Like Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed every detail of his houses & offices--although somewhat in reverse--Matthsson eventually wanted to place his furniture in the right kind of architectural-settings. So he began a parallel-career as an architect.

There are some 150 items in this show: furniture, plans, photos, models--all drawn from Swedish archives & sources--to give New Yorkers a new knowledge, or a better understanding, of what Mathsson contributed to our way of life, in a career ranging from the 1920s to the end of the 1980’s.