4 November 2014
GERRIT THOMAS RIETVELD (1888-1964)
A RARE OPEN ARMCHAIR, 1942
ash and birch-veneered plywood, with brass nails
41 ¼ in. (104.8 cm.) high; 22 ¼ in. (56.7 cm.) wide; 23 ¼ in. (59 cm.) deep
Commissioned from the designer, 1942;
Thence by descent.
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Similar example illustrated:
M. Kuper, Van Zijl, Gerrit Thomas Rietveld 1888-1964, Utrecht, 1992, p. 212, cat. no. 340;
P. Vöge, The Complete Rietveld Furniture, Amsterdam, 1993, p. 122, fig. 238.
Designed during the height of the occupation of Holland when materials were at a premium, the first example of this form was created for Rietveld's long-standing client, Mrs Schröder. According to Vöge (op. cit.), only one other example, the present lot, was made. The application of a lattice of plywood straps to achieve the curvature of the back describes a strong graphic quality that is accentuated by the sharply angular statement of the arm supports, placing the chair as a unique variation within the designer's boldly stylistic narrative.
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