December 4, 2008

Dutch Museums Pony Up For Rarest Rietveld High Chair Of Them All

rietveld_witteveen_chair.jpg

Via the European chair blogger at chairblog.eu comes this, the latest development in Daddy Types' all-consuming mission to know the whereabouts of all of Gerrit Rietveld's many, many high chairs. It's a press release published at design.nl:

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...

This chair was made for Hendrikus Johannes Witteveen, the future minister of Finance who was born in 1921. It is almost identical to the [original 1918] chair owned by the Schelling family [which has been lost]. Only one picture of the chair [above left], showing Witteveen as a child sitting in it, survives.

According to museum experts the Witteveen chair is important because it is the first example of Rietveld's use of primary colors, a key step in the development of his Red, Blue Chair, "an icon in Dutch art history." [The first high chair was apparently green, light green, and red. Eep.]

As people who slogged through the previous DT post on Rietveld high chairs know, this chair was discovered in 2006 and sold at auction for EUR180,000. It's not clear from the English language reports if the museums were the unidentified bidders then, or if they purchased it from the Christie's buyer. Either way, it just went on display at the Van Gogh Museum for a couple of months. So chummy and collaborative, these Dutch museums.

New Gerrit Rietveld acquisition [design.nl via chairblog.eu]
FWIW, the original Dutch: Centraal Museum en Stedelijk Museum verwerven kinderstoel van Gerrit Rietveld [centraalmuseum.nl]

3 Comments

"an icon in Dutch art history." for some, nightmare fodder for others.
Yikes.

remember, they're supposed to be remarkably comfortable...

from the reports I have seen the 2 museums bought the chair from the buyer at Christie's then...an antique dealer

[aha, thanks, chairblogger -ed.]

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