press release

A spectacular presentation from the Stedelijk’s furniture collection will be one of the opening exhibitions in the Museum’s temporary location on the Oosterdokskade.* Central to this survey are extensive selections from the oeuvres of Piet Kramer and Gerrit Rietveld. In addition, there is wider attention for furniture by other designers from the period from 1845 to the present.

The architect/designers Kramer and Rietveld are generally regarded as polar opposites. Gerrit Rietveld (1888-1964), belonged to De Stijl for some time and was a functionalist. His most famous work is the Rietveld-Schröder house in Utrecht. Piet Kramer (1881-1961), was one of the most important representatives of the Amsterdam School, the expressionist current in architecture in Amsterdam between the wars. The Amsterdam School, with countless examples in the field of social housing, is primarily known for its fanciful visual vocabulary and rich ornamentation. In their contrasting styles, both architects were also very active in the field of furniture design. The Stedelijk Museum has the most extensive (aside from the Central Museum, in the case of Rietveld) and multi-faceted collection of their furniture in The Netherlands. KRAMER vs. RIETVELD reveals the two designers as the vanguard of their time, despite their totally opposed styles. It was possible in that day for both a Kramer and a Rietveld ensemble to be used in one and the same dwelling. The exhibition shows how the two both worked with rich colour applications: Rietveld chiefly in the primary colours of red, yellow and blue, and Kramer with the secondary colours of orange, green and purple, which is much less well known. There are also distinctly unusual objects to be seen from both, such as Kramer’s grand piano and a complete bedroom set by Rietveld.

A special feature of this presentation is the recently restored furniture by Kramer, never exhibited before, to be seen here for the first time in its coloured splendour.

In keeping with its central theme of Contrasts, along with the objects by these two contemporaries, KRAMER vs. RIETVELD also provides a survey of a century-and-a-half of furniture design, exclusively with pieces from the collection of the Stedelijk. Among those represented are Thonet, Lion Cachet, Berlage, Mies van der Rohe, Perriand, Aalto, Jacobsen, Beltzig, Starck, Sottsass, De Lucchi, Ditzel, Arad, Hans en Wanders.

The immediate occasion for the exhibition KRAMER vs. RIETVELD is the publication of the massive descriptive catalogue of the furniture in the Stedelijk’s collection, the first of its kind for the Museum. The furniture collection was begun in 1934, and presently comprises more than 1000 chairs, couches, tables, cabinets and folding screens, as well as complete suites. In addition to a survey of the furniture collection up through the year 2000, the comprehensive catalogue contains an introduction on the history of the collection and its exhibition activities. A number of themes, such as international and Dutch icons, contrasts and evolutions are further discussed in short texts.


only in german

Contrasts in the furniture collection
Piet Kramer / Gerrit Rietveld
Kuratoren: Luca Dosi Delfini, Ingeborg de Roode
Ort: Stedelijk Museum CS, Oosterdokskade 3-5, Amsterdam