Gerrit Thomas Rietveld - Design Masters New York Tuesday, December 16, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Redelé family, Dordrecht, the Netherlands
    Thence by descent to the present owners

  • Literature

    Peter Vöge, The Complete Rietveld Furniture, Rotterdam, 1993, p. 135, cat. no. 275 for the design drawing recorded in the Rotterdam New Institute Archive

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1947, Dutch entrepeneur J.M. Redelé commissioned Gerrit Thomas Rietveld for the renovation and furnishing of his house in Dordrecht, a traditional villa from the 1920s. For this commission, Rietveld worked closely together with Truus Schröder who during the project maintained an extensive correspondence with Mrs. Redelé-Schilthuis about the curtains, upholsteries and other furnishings. A complicating factor was that most materials were still scarce in the post-war years. This led Rietveld and Schröder to be pragmatic but at the same time find innovative solutions such as a floor in which slats from the original parquet were sunk into a rubber-like composite material. For Redelé's study, Rietveld designed a modernist glass ceiling with backlights in combination with a fireplace clad in rustic stone panels. Another interesting choice was Rietveld's use of Limba for the furniture, a type of tropical wood with a highly decorative grain, with solid glass knobs for the drawers. All together, the Redelé interior showed a fresh approach towards ideas which Rietveld had already experimented with in several projects shortly before the war, including the “Moolenbeek” Zig Zag chair. During the project, Redelé asked Rietveld and Schröder to redecorate the offices in his biscuit and chocolate factory as well. This interior has not survived but most furniture from the Redelé house has remained in the family up until now, including the pieces here offered.

    The Rietveld-Schröder Archive in Utrecht contains drawings of the present desk and cabinet, along with multiple sketches of the floor plan and an extensive correspondence between Mr. and Mrs. Redele and Gerrit Rietveld and Truus Schröder. The Redelé commission is also recorded in the Rietveld literature, and is noted in what is essentially considered the Rietveld catalogue raisonné: Marijke Kuper and Ida van Zijl, Gerrit Th. Rietveld 1888-1964: The Complete Works, Centraal Museum, Utrecht, 1992, p. 224, cat. no. 376.

  • Artist Biography

    Gerrit Thomas Rietveld

    Dutch • 1888 - 1964

    Gerrit Thomas Rietveld began as an apprentice in his father's cabinetmaking workshop, going on to train and work as a draftsman. In 1917 he started his own furniture-making workshop in Utrecht. Positive critical review by Theo van Doesburg in his journal De Stijl resulted in near-instantaneous influence on broader developments in European modernism. This connection to the De Stijl movement also inspired him to introduce color to the posts, rails and terminals of his furniture. His resulting "Red-blue" armchair is among the most iconic chair designs of the twentieth century.

    From the beginning, Rietveld embraced modernist principles of functionalism, simplicity of form and mass-production, and eventually moved away from De Stijl to become a member of the Congrès Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne (CIAM). Rietveld worked through the post-war years, completing a number of private residences, housing developments and institutions. He continued to design furniture for these commissions as well as for retailers like Metz & Co.

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Modular desk, from the Redelé house, Dordrecht

Limba, limba-veneered plywood, glass knobs.
Desk: 27 5/8 x 43 1/8 x 19 3/4 in. (70.2 x 109.5 x 50.2 cm)
Drawer unit: 25 1/4 x 15 3/4 x 20 3/4 in. (64.1 x 40 x 52.7 cm)

Produced by Gerard van de Groenekan, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

$20,000 - 30,000 

Contact Specialist
Meaghan Roddy
Head of Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1266

Design Masters

New York Auction 16 December 2014 6pm