Peter Keler

artist and furniture designer, born 1898, died 1982

His block chair of 1925 is a three-dimensional manifesto. The reduction to a simple cube – even more radically than Josef Hoffmann and Walter Gropius before him and Le Corbusier with Grand Confort after him – identifies the model as a minimalist type. From the functionalist point of view, what is today referred to as the “Bauhaus Cube” (re-edition from Tecta) represents the natural counterpart to the cubic shapes in both a building’s exterior and interior design. But Keler was neither a rchitect nor theorist. In the early 1920s, the Holstein native was part of the artists’ circle in Worpswede. Heinrich Vogeler, enamoured of the English Arts and Crafts movement, had transformed his house there into a “total work of art” and therewith defined the avant-garde colony as a project for Lebensreform (lifestyle reform). Keler’s extensive oeuvre expresses this vision of overhauling all aspects of life, with clear political overtones. He worked as painter, graphic artist, photographer and furniture designer, and later taught architecture and visual arts as well.