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Gerrit Thomas Rietveld

Gerrit Thomas Rietveld
(1888 - 1964)

Of humble origins he became a carpenter in his father’s workshop, but after, impelled by a great enthusiasm, he studied architecture at an evening course under the guidance of Architect Klammer and opened his own studio, devoting himself to the design and manufacture of furniture. In 1919 he joined the avant-garde “De Stijl” movement, an association of artists, architects and writers, which would generate a profound renewal in the history of contemporary art. From the point of view of style the movenment was strictly linked to Cubism and to the analyses of schemes for the distribution of space in relation to various functional situations, thus achieving a rigid geometrical order. Rietveld was among those most faithful to the theoretical premises of the movement. In his designs he always applied the elementary constructional principle without exluding materials or procedures which use industrial techniques. The “Schroeder House” built in 1924 in Utrecht is a typical example. The basic shape is the cube, the outside walls use a lot of glass in such a way that the inside and the outside spaces are connected to each other, the inside walls are movable, the material elements of the building are flat, coloured lines. The same study of the essential and the primary action of construction is also present in the easy chair with elements in yellow, red and dark blue. Strips and boards of wood are connected to each other by joining and linking techniques, the supprt structure is a system of right angles, the plastic elements are also coloured elements and any ornament or accessory is abolished. Many other works were also made in the same constructional style, the Dutch pavillion at the Venice Biennal, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, a complex of terrace houses in Utrecht and other buildings in the field of architecture and town planning. The Fifties brought him definitive accalaim in the international field, so much so that he was awarded a Honorary degree, his name is thus alongside those of the major exponents of European rationalism.
Harry Bertoia
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Charles Eames
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Jean Michel Frank
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Eileen Gray
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René Herbst
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Josef Hoffman
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Le Corbusier
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Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe
(1886 - 1969)
George Nelson
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Isamu Noguchi
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Gerrit Thomas Rietveld
(1888 - 1964)
Eero Saarinen
(1910 - 1961)
Mart Stam
(1899 - 1986)
Vittoriano Viganò
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Frank Lloyd Wright
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