He is credited with the invention of tubular steel furniture but was equally accomplished as a woodworker.
In spite of a solid theoretical basis and a variety of design rules, many of the intentions of the Bauhaus artists and craftsmen remained unfulfilled, however.
A case in point was Breuer’s Lattenstuhl TI 1a (lath chair) with its cherry-wood frame and sloping cloth seat.
It was designed for mass production, but in the event only 26 examples were ever finished. This makes it a highly desirable collector’s piece.
Quittenbaum offered an example which had been in the same family since the 1920s. It was knocked down for a mid-estimate €40,000 (£36,035).
At the Koller (25% buyer’s premium) auction in Zurich one of Breuer’s Model 313 aluminum and wood chaise longues, designed in 1932-33, went slightly over estimate to sell for SFr6500 (£5295).
Even more sought after at Quittenbaum was Breuer’s red-painted folding metal chair 4 from 1927.
It was made either by Standard Möbel in Berlin or by Thonet in Frankenberg and had once belonged to an Austrian architect who had briefly worked with Le Corbusier in the late 1920s. Several bidders pushed the price to €54,000 (£48,650), more than three times the lower guide.
After the Quittenbaum sale, a canny buyer secured a prototype of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s (1886-1969) tubular steel and leather cantilever chair, model MR 20, for €8000 (£7210), just over half of what had originally been expected.
It is thought that van der Rohe – renowned as both a designer and architect – used parts of bicycle frames for this prototype. Later models of the chair were lighter and thinner, with the nickel plate more professionally executed.