On May 23rd, 2007 this 1927 Rietveld Steel Chair was also auctioned at Christie’s Amsterdam.
It shows that not only Mart Stam was involved in applying steel rods to chairs, but here the rods were solid as opposed to the hollow tubes Mart applied. The use of plywood was also very innovating in those days.
White Rietveld Red Blue Chair record at Christies Amsterdam
Photo thanks to Christie’s
Not many people will know (at least I didn’t know) that before Dutch Chair Designer Gerrit Rietveld painted the Red Blue Rietveld Chair red and blue, inspired as he then must have been by Piet Mondriaan, another member of De Stijl Groep (pronounce as:”the Style Group”) he made several mono colored ones.
Today this white lacquered example has been sold at a Christie’s auction in Amsterdam for a record amount of Euro 264,000, while Christie’s estimate was between Euro 50,000 and 80,000. Please do not forget the extras for Christie’s on top of that amount!,
As I find Christie’s lot note very interesting I will quote it here entirely:
The present chair was designed by Gerrit Th. Rietveld as a special commission for Til Brugman in 1923. De Stijl painter Vilmos Huszar restyled the interior of her house in The Hague using the furniture of his fellow De Stijl member Gerrit Rietveld to complement the interior. In the room a multi-colored end table by Gerrit Th. Rietveld was also included, which was sold on the 16th of November 2004 in these rooms.
The first examples of the Red-Blue chair were constructed of unpainted wood. After Rietveld joined De Stijl the first painted examples of the chair were created. It was not until 1923, the same year that this white version for Til Brugman was executed, that the first example with red and blue was completed. The use of primary colors on the Red-Blue chair was probably inspired by Theo van Doesburg and Vilmos HuszÃƒÂ¡r.
Til Brugman was the first Dutch lesbian avant-garde author, who wrote novels and Dadaistic poems. She became acquainted with many of De Stijl artist through her friend Piet Mondriaan. Although her artistic contributions to De Stijl are minimal, behind the scenes her assistance was more substantial; she mediated in the sales of works of art for (amongst others) Piet Mondriaan and translated many articles for the magazine De Stijl. In some of her novels events from her life with members of De Stijl can be discovered.
On contemporary photographs of her interior can be seen how much the interior was modernized by the restyling of Vilmos HuszÃƒÂ¡r. This chair was thought to be lost, but was recovered from the property of a private collector.
Update August 8, 2008: Christies changed its lay out in the meantime. The chair UK pnd 264,000 (= US $ 355,724).
A Stick Stool, Wrap Chair, Poster Chair or Graffiti chair?
Dutch designer Gerard de Hoop of Dutch Design partnership Huting & De Hoop has baptized this seat as Stick Stool, because you can stick a poster to it or wrap it in a poster or a piece of cloth. On their website the same chair is shown, decorated by a graffiti artist and baptized Graffiti Stool.
I doubt their use of the word stool is correct English as the English Chair Wiki says:
A chair is a piece of furniture for sitting, consisting of a seat, a back, and sometimes arm rests, commonly for use by one person. Chairs also often have four legs to support the seat raised above the floor. Without back and arm rests it is called a stool.
This seat has a back. so it is a chair and not a stool.
Making promotion for the Dutch Queen here is a nice extra.
Stam is the designer of the first cantilever tubular chair. On 22 November 1926 he showed a sketch with a blue pen of it on the back side of the wedding announcement of the German painter Willy Baumeister at a dinner party in the Stuttgart hotel Marquart. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was at that dinner Party. Presently this wedding announcement is reportedly in the Mies van der Rohe archive of MoMa, NYC.
The first producer of this chair is the German company Lorenz.
In 1927 both Mart Stam and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe showed their versions of this idea in their respective houses of the Weissenhofsiedlung project in Stuttgart.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Mentions only the design in 1929 of the Barcelona chair (also cantilevered but with flat steel, rather than tubular)
Mentions the design of a steel tubular chair in 1925 for Wassily Kandinsky, hence known as the Wassily chair that still is in production.
In the late 1920s, Breuer and Stam were involved in a patent lawsuit in German courts, both claiming to be the inventor of the basic cantilever chair design principle. Stam won the lawsuit, and, since that time, specific Breuer chair designs have often been erroneously attributed to Stam. In the United States, Breuer assigned the rights to his designs to Knoll, and for that reason it is possible to find the identical chair attributed to Stam in Europe and to Breuer in the U.S.
Lilly and Mies
Through her involvement with the Werkbund Lilly Reich also met Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe. In 1926 she moved from Frankfurt to Berlin to work with Mies. She was Van Der Rohe’s personal and professional partner for 13 years from 1925 until his emigration to the US in 1938. It is said that they were constant companions, working together on curating and implementing exhibitions for the Werkbund, as well as designing modern furniture as part of larger architectural commissions such as the Barcelona Pavilion in 1929 and the Tugendhat House in Brno.
Two of their best known modern furniture designs from this period are the Barcelona chair and Brno Chair.
Albert Pheiffer, Vice President of Design and Management at Knoll, has been researching and lecturing on Reich for some time. He points out that:
“It became more than a coincidence that Mies’s involvement and success in exhibition design began at the same time as his personal relationship with Reich.”
“It is interesting to note that Mies did not fully develop any contemporary furniture successfully before or after his collaboration with Reich”.
When Mies Van der Rohe became the director of the Bauhaus School of design and architecture in 1930, Lilly Reich joined him there as one of the only female teachers. Reich taught interior design and furniture design until the late 1930s.
1925-28: became head of the furniture department of Bauhaus Dessau.
1925: Designed the first tubular steel chair B5 and a tubular steel ottomans.
This post is subject to some updates in the future.
Added May 23rd, 2007:
A page of:
Avant-Garde Design and the Law: Litigation over the Cantilever Chair
an article by Otakar Macel in the
Journal of Design History, Vol. 3, No. 2/3 (1990), pp. 125-143
Oxford University Press
at Jstor, a University related retrieval system at this link: Avant Garde Design and the Law sustains the Dutch Wiki version.
The German Thonet Factory has a Bauhaus overview where the design of several chairs is attributed to Marcel Breuer and the Artistic Copyright to Dutch Chair designer Mart Stam, which is probably close to the outcome of the German litigation.
Red Blue Rietveld Chair (Photo Moma) ZigZag by Jenner
Dutch architect and designer Gerrit Rietveld after whom the Amsterdam art school Gerrit Rietveld Academie has been named, designed the Red and Blue (in 1917) and Zig Zag (in 1932) chairs which are world famous.
Red-Blue and Zig Zag are still being produced by Cassina in their Master “I Maestri” Series.
In 2004 a grandson and a great grandson of Gerrit have formed a company Rietveld by Rietveld to start again with the production of several of Gerrit’s furniture designs, because as they say: There is more to Rietveld than the Red-Blue and ZigZag only: All in all there are 215 Rietveld furniture designs. So there remains a lot to do for them.
I tried to find a flashier photo of ZigZag on the web, but found this photo of Edward Jenner, a Dutch architect who after obtaining the book “How to construct Rietveld furniture” made his own ZigZag. Although it is not the nicest photo, I believe his ZigZag copy is very much how Rietveld himself would have made it. In addition I adore the Rietveld Babychair copy Jenner made for his daughter:
Rietveld Baby Chair by Jenner