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. In September 2017, it will reopen its doors to the public during a nationwide celebration of 100 years of De Stijl: from Mondrian to Dutch Design.
- The Rietveldpaviljoen was open to the public as a dedicated art hall for almost 50 years.
- In September 2017, the gallery will reopen with a special exhibition as it joins the national celebrations of 100 years of De Stijl.
- Admire some of Rietveld's greatest architectural and design achievements at a special exhibition.
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. The art hall closed in 2007, but reopens to the public for a greatly anticipated exhibition in 2017.
Exhibition: 'Beyond De Stijl: Gerrit Rietveld and the 1950s'
As Holland celebrates 100 years since its most influential modern art movement began, the Rietveldpaviljoen not only reopens its doors but showcases a selection of national treasures in an inspiring exhibition. ‘Beyond De Stijl: Gerrit Rietveld and the 1950s’ pays tribute to three facets of De Stijl: the art hall itself as an expression of De Stijl architecture, the Zeitgeist of the 1950s, and the ways in which Rietveld’s work continues to influence Dutch Design. Highlights of the exhibition include Rietveld’s innovative ‘Amersfoortse Stoel’ (Amersfoort Chair, 1949), models of the Rietveldpaviljoen and other pavilions designed in the era, and items of furniture designed for the UNESCO Press Room in Paris.
In the neighbourhood
The city of Amersfoort is rich with artistic inspiration. While you’re there, visit the Kunsthal KAdE, which is also exhibiting De Stijl artworks during the 100-year celebrations from 6 May to 3 September 2017. The Kunsthal KAdE is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 11:00–17:00, excluding King’s Day and Christmas Day. Admission is €10 for adults, and free for children under 17. Or visit the Mondriaanhuis, the place where Mondrian was born.
From 13 September 2017 until 22 April 2018, the Rietveldpaviljoen is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 11:00–17:00. Admission is €8.
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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