Gerrit Rietveld

Dutch (Utrecht, Netherlands, 1888 - 1964, Utrecht, Netherlands)

Gerrit Rietveld was trained first as an apprentice to his father, a cabinetmaker, and then through a curriculum of night classes in architecture and design. He worked as a goldsmith while completing his schooling and started his own cabinetmaking business in Utrecht in 1911.

In the next decade Rietveld became one of the most influential figures in the De Stijl movement, a group of artists and designers who favored rectilinear compositions accented with primary colors. It was in this vein that he designed the Red and Blue Chair, a seat made of straight boards and battens, in 1919.

In the mid-1920s Rietveld designed a private residence for Truus Schröder. The house featured steel beams and industrial railings set off by solid red and white walls. Sliding panels enabled a flexible space; Schröder could choose between opening up a single expansive space or dividing it into separate sleeping, eating, or workrooms.

Rietveld's most ambitious architectural project, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, was not completed until 1973, nine years after his death.


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