cf. Marijke Küper and Ida van Zijl, Gerrit th. Rietveld, 1992, pp. 74-76, no. 35; Daniele Baroni, The Furniture of Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, 1978, pp. 50, 51; Barry Friedman LTD., Gerrit Rietveld: A Century Exhibition, 1988, pp. 22-28; Vitra Design Museum, 100 Masterpieces from the Vitra Design Museum Collection, 1995, pp. 210-211 for illustrations of the model.
The 'Red/Blue' chair is one of Gerrit Rietveld's most significant designs and one of the greatest icons of 20th century furniture. Originally designed in 1917/1918, the earliest documentation of the armchair first appeared in the September 1918 issue of De Stijl accompanied by a text by Rietveld: ...With this chair the aim was to keep each part simple, preserving the form inherent in the original use and character of the material, the form that most easily leads to a harmonious entity based on a standard model for all the separate elements. The design enables the parts to be joined without any deformation, so that no one part is too dominant or is subordinate to another; as a result, the design occupies the space clearly and freely as a single entity, the form being more important than the material.. The earliest versions of this model were dark stained wood. Color was not applied for another two or three years. The present example, with its elements painted in the distinctive colors of red, blue, yellow and black, was made and painted by Rietveld himself for the Dutch artist, Jacob Bendien. Production of the model remained very limited, but its constructivist composition influenced the work of many acclaimed architects and designers of the 20th century including Mart Stam, Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Marcel Breuer.