Two Dutch Musea Acquire Rietveld Baby Chair

The Future Dutch Finance Minister Witteveen in the kids chair Rietveld made for him

By Editor / 04-12-2008

The Centraal Museum in Utrecht and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam have jointly acquired the Gerrit Rietveld child-chair designed in 1918 and produced in 1921-22. The piece makes it possible to track Rietveld’s development towards the Red Blue Chair, an icon in Dutch art history, much more closely.

Gerrit Rietveld (Utrecht 1888-1964) is one of the major innovators of 20th century architecture and design. This child-seat is considered a key element in his oeuvre. Its shape and colour scheme precede the famous Red Blue Chair, which was also designed in 1918, but not painted in the well-known colours until 1923.

In 1919, Magazine De Stijl published the design of the child-seat. Rietveld gave an explanation of the colour-scheme (at the time green, light green and red) and the special construction qualities focussing on the experimental wood connections and dowels. He designed the featured seat for the first child of H.J. Schelling who was born in 1918. That chair is now lost.

No other furniture from this crucial period in Rietveld’s development was known to still exist. Then in 2006, a second child-seat appeared at an auction. This chair was made for Hendrikus Johannes Witteveen, the future minister of Finance who was born in 1921. It is almost identical to the chair owned by the Schelling family. Only one picture of the chair, showing Witteveen as a child sitting in it, survives.

Considering the date of 1921, the seat gives us essential information about the development of Rietveld’s use of colour in that period. He was experimenting with primary colours, which is of great importance for research into his early development. Few works from that period can be dated with such precision.

As far as it is known, this child-seat is the only piece of furniture left from this important period. During this time he lets go of the simple, closed shapes of his early works which were inspired by among others Frank Lloyd Wright and Berlage. Spatial quality becomes the essence of his revolutionary designs where he effortlessly connects to the avant-garde movement, De Stijl.

The chair is on display from today in the “125 Great Loves” exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

See for a remake this Chair Blog Post

Rietveld’s Mondial Chair at Christies

Rietveld's Mondial Chair at Christies


Price Realized 13,145 ($17,050)

Estimate12,000 – 15,000 ($15,565 – $19,456)

Sale 2642
20th century decorative arts
16 November 2004

Mondial, a chair
The red fiber seat and backrest supported by grey-lacquered metal legs
75 cm. high

Sem Aardewerk
Thence by descent

Lot Notes
The Mondial chair was exhibited in the Dutch pavillion during the World Exhibition in Brussels in 1958. The pavillion was designed by Gerrit Th. Rietveld who collaborated on this project with interior-architect Sem Aardewerk. The Mondial chair was awarded a price at the Triennale in Milan in 1958.

For comparison see:

The complete Rietveld furniture, Rotterdam 1993, p. 158 and 159, no. 344
Marijke Kuiper and Ida van Zijl, Gerrit Th. Rietveld 1888-1964, Het volledige werk, Utrecht 1992, p. 285, no. 532
Barbara Laan, André Koch, Collectie Gispen meubels, lampen en
archivalia in het NAi 1916-1980, Rotterdam, 1997, pp. 125-126 for the steel and aluminium prototype and for an illustrated sketch for the
World Exposition with armchairs in situ and a photograph of the
exposition space with chairs without arms in situ.

A Mondial Proto Type Fetched Dfl 36,902 (US $18,348) in Amsterdam on May 19, 1998….

A Chair By Rietveld? (Yes: the Berlin Chair)

This must be a Chair by Gerrit Rietveld, albeit I don’t know the name he gave it.

Via M2L Collection Furniture

Yes it is his Berlin Chair

Last edited by gje on September 20, 2010 at 22:24 AM

Two Zig Zag Chairs by Gerrit Thomas Rietveld

Rietveld, Gerrit Thomas (1888-1964)

Sale Title MODERN DESIGN Location London, South Kensington Sale Date Mar 04, 2008 Lot Number 0103 Sale Number 5337


Estimate 700 – 1,000 British pounds

Price Realized £1,750

designed 1932, these examples manufactured recently by Cassina 74.5cm. high (2)

via Christie’s

Rietveld High Child Chair

Rietveld, Gerrit Thomas (1888-1964)

Sale Title MODERN DESIGN Location London, South Kensington Sale Date Mar 04, 2008 Lot Number 0012 Sale Number 5337


Estimate 2,000 – 3,000 British pounds
Price Realized £4,000 ($7,940)

originally designed 1920, this example of 1960s manufacture by G. A. v. Den Groenekan, painted wood with leather seat, braized marks to frame 90cm.

via LotFinder