When the picturesque city of Amersfoort celebrated its 700th anniversary in 1959, artist and architect Gerrit Rietveld was called upon to design a dedicated center of modern art. The subsequent Rietveldpaviljoen was designed in the aesthetic of the art movement known as De Stijl.
- The Rietveldpaviljoen was open to the public as a dedicated art hall for almost 50 years.
The Rietveldpaviljoen - the first dedicated art hall in Holland
The Rietveldpaviljoen is located in the Zonnehof, just a couple of streets outside Amersfoort’s historic city center. Mayor Hermen Molendijk was an enthusiast of modern architecture and saw the opportunity to transform this spot into a community space as the city prepared to celebrate its 700th anniversary. He commissioned Dutch artist and architect Gerrit Rietveld, who had already achieved international recognition for his progressive approach to architecture and furniture design.
The completed Rietveldpaviljoen is architecturally interesting in its sleek simplicity, geometric shapes and use of light and space. Functionality was intrinsic to Rietveld’s design aesthetic, and consequently the philosophy of De Stijl. The building was intended to showcase forward-thinking artworks and Rietveld ensured that the floor to ceiling windows and airy, open-plan layout displayed them to their best advantage.
For almost 50 years the Rietveldpaviljoen served as an exhibition space for modern art, sculpture and jewelry. It brought the Amersfoort community together and attracted several international exhibitions.
Utrecht and Amersfoort present plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in De Stijl and Dutch Design. As well as the Rietveld treasures in the Centraal Museum, be sure to book a visit to the Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht: a masterpiece of modern architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Or trace the roots of De Stijl in Amersfoort by visiting the house where Mondrian was born, now the Mondriaanhuis museum.
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