The Artist | Development into a world artist | The Breakthrough | The Internationalist | The Design | The Master | Furniture
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into a world artist
Bruno Mathsson was born a joiner. His father, Karl Mathsson, was a master joiner of the fourth generation and it was therefore obvius that Bruno would follow in his fathers footsteps. He learnt his trade from the bottom and thus acquired a thorough knowledge of wood technology and well-developed feeling for the qualities of wood . For young Bruno this was, however, not enough. Early he was fascinated by the possibilitis he found in developing the form and function of furniture by using new wood tecnology. The functionalistic ideas caught his mind. In the 1920s and 1930s he became deeply absorbed in studies on his own. He borrowed piles of literature on design from the curator at the Röhsska Konstslöjdsmuseet (Röhsska Arts and Craft Museum) in Gothenburg, Axel Munthe, and by degrees he himself grew into one of the most celebrated interpreters of the functionalistic school of ideas. In 1931 Bruno Mathsson carried out his first practical experiment in functionalism, the chair ¨Gräshoppan¨ (The Grashopper), inspired by a scholarship granted by Värnamo Hantverks- och Industriförening (Värnamo Craftsmen- and industrial association) and a visit to the birth place of functionalism in Sweden, the Stockholm Fair in 1930. At Värnamo Hospital, who bought the chair for the reception area, people found it so ugly that it was put away in the attic. One item only has been preserved at the Bruno Mathsson show room in Värnamo. Now Bruno Mathsson had got his appetite whetted and enthusiastically he continued the experiment with the so called bent-wood technique. He created work chairs and reclining chairs in this technique and, at the age of 29, he had his first one-man show in 1936 at the Röhsska Arts and Craft Museum in Gothenburg. The walk along the road to success had started.