Peter Keler (1898 – 1982)
Bauhaus-Cradle according to the preliminary course of Wassily Kandinsky
»The cube was king, and its sides were yellow, red, blue, white, grey, and black. They gave these Bauhaus cubes to their children to play with and to Bauhaus snobs as a gimmick. The square was red. The circle was blue. The triangle was yellow. You sat and slept on the colourful geometry of the furniture.« In 1930, this is how the second Bauhaus director, Hannes Meyer, described the products of the formal, geometric Bauhaus period between 1922 and 1924, which can also be taken to include, with some qualification, Walter Gropius’ director’s chair. Peter Keler’s cradle is of course a particularly typical example of this phase in terms of furniture, and originally formed part of a bed design for man, woman and small child. The man’s part of this bed had rectangular head and feet sections, while those for the woman’s section formed a semi-circle. The child’s cradle then complemented the male and female forms with the triangle, and can be understood in terms of its colour scheme as a three-dimensional interpretation of Kandinsky’s relationship between colour and form within the Bauhaus curriculum. Keler’s cradle marks a transition for the Bauhaus: the expressive articulation of the first Bauhaus phase under Itten is rejected; art should not decorate products, but instead, artistic forms and colour schemes should be seen as a unified whole. This amalgamation, taken from craft design and constructivism in art, is geared in the first instance to elementary forms and colours, which remain recognizable as such, and provide an additive rather than an integrative solution. Such a simple, formal doctrine is also an indication of the longing for organized conditions, which are threatened by war, civil unrest and inflation. The cradle does indeed represent the beginning of a new style. It demonstrates a clear, simple, and straightforward order. It has, however, the capacity to be agitated, and even to topple over.
Material & Colour
Frame: blue, yellow, red and white lacquered, wickerwork of natural cane wickerwork, steel pipe laquered
Designer: Peter Keler
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