Mies was a pioneer of modernist architecture and influenced an entire generation of architects. Born in Germany to a Catholic family of stonemasons he had an extraordinary drawing talent which led him to his architectural career as an apprentice at the studio of Peter Behrens in 1908. Here he worked alongside Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius which led to his appointment as director of the Bauhaus, the last director before its closure by the Nazis.
Mies emigrated to America and headed the architectural school at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. His avant-garde architecture established a style that expressed the spirit of modernism. He sought to represent the modern just as Classical and Gothic did for their own eras. He is known for the clarity and simplicity of his structural order meeting free-flowing open space.
In 1929 Mies designed the luxurious cantilever Barcelona Chair as part of his designs for the Barcelona Pavillion, the entry for the International Exposition that year. His use of cantilevers enhance the sense of lightness through delicate structural framing.
In 1930 he designed the modern classic of the Brno Chair. With its clean lines and continuous steel, it has become a modern classic and can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art.