A group of eleven pieces of furniture The Drawing Room by Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer for Georg and Ilse Hanstein including six letters by Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer as well as the original 1:1 design sketches
A group of eleven pieces of furniture
The Drawing Room by Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer for Georg and Ilse Hanstein
including six letters by Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer as well as the original 1:1 design sketches
Solid oak and oak veneer, stained dark brown and varnished. 1. Double-sided desk with two cabinets on either side and one in the apron. The black linoleum replaced, two locks enclosed but not attached (left drawer and apron drawer). H 76.5, W 160, D 79.5 cm.
2. "Desk armchair", covered with the original smooth undyed leather over renewed upholstery, the back rest removable. H 89, W 59, D 56.5 cm. With an older repair to the back left arm rest.
3. "Book board" with two-door lower section and shelves above. H 174.5, W 150, D 49.5 cm.
4. Round table on four square supports, the original brass fitting around the base lost. H 75.5, D c. 114 cm.
5. Six chairs covered with the original smooth undyed leather over renewed upholstery, back rests removable. H c. 91, W 48 cm, D 50.5 cm.
Weimar, architect's office of Walter Gropius, produced in Homberg (Efze) by carpenter master Körbel.
1. The desk: Design drawing "Desk 1:1", pencil and coloured pencil on paper. H 87.3, W 101 cm. Creases, small holes, stains, torn corners. Working sketch "Freestanding desk 1:10", pencil on paper H 22.4, W 31 cm. Studio traces, stains, creases. Ground plan "Sectional drawing of desk cabinet 1:1", pencil and coloured pencil on paper. H 15.2, W 62.8 cm. Creases, torn corners.
2. The chair: Ground plan and sectional drawing "Desk armchair 1:1", pencil and coloured pencil on paper. H 125.5, W 94 cm. Creases, small holes, tape. Working sketch "desk armchair 1:10", pencil and coloured pencil on paper. H 21.4, W 29.4 cm. Creases.
3. Book shelf: Ground plan "Book board 1:1", pencil and coloured pencil on paper. H 124, W 87.5 cm. Creases, tears, holes, stains, three strips of tape. "Horizontal section book board 1:1", pencil and coloured pencil on paper. H 59, W 88 cm. Creases, tiny holes. Working sketch "Book board 1:10", pencil on paper. H 28.6, W 25.2 cm. Studio traces, stains. Working sketch "Book board 1:10", with upper section, pencil on paper. H 28.6, W 25.2 cm. Creases, stains.
4. Round table: Sectional drawing "Round table 1:1", pencil and red pencil on paper. H 106, W 76 cm. Creases, torn corners, stains, small strips of tape. Working sketch "Table and chair 1:10", pencil on paper. H 21.7, W 35.8 cm. Creases, stains, torn corners.
5. Chairs: Ground plan and sectional drawing "Chair 1:1", pencil and coloured pencil on paper. H 120, W 85 cm. Creases, small holes, a strip of tape.
Annemarie Jaeggi first published both of the studies produced for the brothers Wilhelm and Georg Hanstein, designed by Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer between 1920 and 1924, in 1994.
Wilhelm Hanstein (1890 – 1945) studied engineering in Hanover and Munich and began working at the Kappe agricultural machinery factory in Alfeld, with whose owner Ludwig Kappe he was related, in 1918. Gropius and Meyer planned and realised the design of a new shop and warehouse for the Kappe firm in 1922. In around 1920, Wilhelm Hanstein became technical director and organisation engineer at the Fagus works. He was a classmate and friend of Karl Benscheid, son of the Fagus works' founder Carl Benscheid. Alongside Gropius and Meyer, Ernst Neufert was also in close contact with Wilhelm Hanstein and Karl Benscheid with regard to questions of standardisation and business organisation. Wilhelm Hanstein left Alfeld and the Fagus works to enter once more into active duty as an officer with the Wehrmacht in around 1936, moving with his family to the Breslau region.
The furnishings ordered for Wilhelm Hanstein in around 1920 have been lost since 1945 and are documented only in the photograph reproduced by Annemarie Jaeggi. The furnishings were known to consist of "a large double-sided diplomat's desk, a round table, four armchairs, a three-part open bookcase [on a cabinet stand], and possibly a small round side table." (cat. Adolf Meyer, p. 419).
By today's standards, Wilhelm Hanstein's reason for placing an order with the innovative Bauhaus designers seems almost bizarre - he already owned an antique chest made of bog oak from Lower Saxony and wanted all the new pieces to match it. Thus, Gropius and Meyer chose dark brown stained and varnished oak, which gives the pieces a heavy and squat appearance.
In the published photograph one sees that the round table rested on four curved supports (as opposed to the straight legs chosen for that of Georg Hanstein). The cabinet upon which the book case stands has three drawers, as opposed to the two-doored version delivered to Georg Hanstein, and Wilhelm Hanstein's piece also appears to have been panelled. As evidenced by the plans from Gropius' office, the bookshelf on stand appears to have been designed both in two parts and as a single item of furniture. Georg Hanstein received the cabinet and stand as one piece; the sides of the shelf and the cabinet below are continuous. What makes this piece of furniture especially interesting is the fact that the shelves are removable, resting on small metal bolts that can be placed at different heights in pre-drilled holes in the sides of the unit - a system that modern furniture makers have copied one to one. It is not known whether the seating furniture in Wilhelm Hanstein's study also had removable back rests.
In any case, Wilhelm Hanstein's brother Georg liked the completed ensemble so much that he commissioned an almost exact replica from Gropius three years later. At this time, Georg Hanstein (1896 - 1946) was a forestry assessor in Frielendorf (Kassel district). In 1924 he married Ilse Roth and was promoted (probably immediately after delivery of the furniture from Weimar) with relocation to the forestry office of Rod an der Weil in Hochtaunus. In 1933 he was transferred to Veckerhagen (today Reinhardshagen) near Hannoversch Münden. The furniture by Gropius and Meyer was passed on to his son Dr. Udo Hanstein, who took it with him when he moved, first to Rod am Berg, then Hannoversch Münden, then to Treis an der Lumda, then to the Lüneburger Heide. This important cultural legacy was preserved and cared for until his grandchildren's generation, with the first careful professional restoration of the round table and the seating being carried out in 2013.
The room for Georg Hanstein is unique within the work of Walter Gropius, because no other commission is as well documented as this. One can follow the planning and realization of the furniture through the six letters from Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer. The first letter, dated 4th May 1923 and signed by Walter Gropius himself, is still addressed to his brother Wilhelm with the opening line: "Mr. Neufert informs me that you want a room designed for your brother (...)". Later letters, dated 5th October and 23rd December 1923, as well as 31st January 1924, and 25th March 1924, were signed by Adolf Meyer, one of which bears the letterhead of the director of the State Bauhaus, overstamped in blue with "Architekturbüro Walter Gropius." In addition, there are two handwritten notes from the carpenter Körbel and a typed fee statement from the Gropius office, signed by Ernst Neufert, with the exact sum of the material costs that were charged. For each piece of furniture there is a working sketch and the original ground plan in 1:1, which Körbel obviously used, because the papers bear corresponding signs of usage.
In family ownership since its production.
Illustrated and described in Jaeggi, Adolf Meyer: Der zweite Mann. Ein Architekt im Schatten von Walter Gropius, Berlin 1994, p. 428 ff, obj. no. 179.