Erich Dieckmann, the forgotten designer

Erich Dieckmann, the forgotten designer From May 7 to August 28, 2022, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Berlin dedicates an exhibition to Erich Dieckmann, designer and professor at the Bauhaus. Source: Kunstgewerbemuseum / Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin — Image: Erich Dieckmann, Three chairs, 1925–1935, pencil and colored pencil on paper, © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek / Dietmar Katz. Along with today’s better-known Marcel Breuer, Erich Dieckmann (1896–1944) is considered the most important furniture designer of the Bauhaus. However, his relationship with the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, which he joined in 1933 in order to find steady work (going so far as to try to contact Göring and Goebbels), has overshadowed the legacy of a designer who, in the words of historian Justus Bier, created some of the most advanced and artistically valuable furniture of his time. Now, an exhibition at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Berlin attempts to shed light on Dieckmann’s career. In a press release, the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin explain that the exhibition at the Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin “features Dieckmann’s first chair — a wooden chair with cane webbing — which he designed as a student at the Bauhaus in 1923. It is followed by pieces that he developed for a standardized range of furniture around 1930 with the aim of fully furnishing rooms such as the study, the living room, and the bedroom. The corresponding designs and historical photos fill in the background to the furniture’s construction and illustrate its layout and effect in rooms. Dieckmann did not limit himself, however, to strictly geometric designs, moving on to create curvilinear models using bentwood, tubular steel, and rattan. Whatever the material, Dieckmann’s designs made full use of its creative potential. His tubular steel chairs and armchairs, in particular, display new curved, dynamic forms. His restrained wicker furniture designs were taken as prototypes for garden furni-ture, repeatedly copied or adapted by others.” Along with examples of furniture, the exhibition also includes several drawings by Dieckmann, part of a group of 1,600 drawings by the designer that were acquired -and subsequently digitized- by the Kunstbibliothek Berlin. “By showing the drawings in connection with the furniture, the entire creative process becomes apparent, from the early explorations of form, often quite abstract, through the functional and material design development to the production of the finished object.” In addition to Dieckmann’s works, a section of the exhibition includes works by his contemporaries, such as Marcel Breuer, Mies van der Rohe, and Eckart Muthesius. #2022 #theartwolf

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