press release

The exhibition Rietveld’s Universe points out that Utrecht architect and designer Gerrit Th. Rietveld (1888-1964) designed much more than only the classic Red-Blue chair and the famous Rietveld Schröder House. Rietveld realized more than one hundred buildings and many pieces of furniture. The Centraal Museum places Rietveld’s work in a broad context. By focusing attention on the person Rietveld and his manner of working and by comparing him and his work with famous contemporaries like Wright, Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, the creative genius of Rietveld is set in a new light and a new image of Rietveld’s contribution to 20th century architecture and design is presented. The exhibition is realized in collaboration with the Netherlands Architecture Institute.

Rietveld’s Universe At the centre of the exhibition is Gerrit Rietveld’s experimental way of working. For example, his search for the chair from-one-piece, from which the zigzag chair originated, can be followed. By putting Rietveld’s work next to that of his contemporaries, it becomes clear that as an architect and designer he was sometimes even more radical than colleagues like Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier. It also turns out that on crucial moments, artists like Van der Leck and Van Doesburg have had a decisive influence on Rietveld’s work. In its turn, Rietveld’s work has been of great importance to the development of architects and designers like Breuer and Aalto.

Collaborative project The exhibition Rietveld’s Universe is realized by the Centraal Museum and the Netherlands Architecture Institute, at the initiative of the Centraal Museum, the Technical University Delft and the University of Utrecht. The result of this collaboration is a high-quality exhibition and an exchange of ideas which will create an enrichment of the debate about Rietveld. The exhibition features works on loan from important national and international collections from the Centre Pompidou and the Fondation le Corbusier in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rein, the Bauhaus-Archiv in Berlin and the archives of the GTA Zürich.

Publications The exhibition is accompanied by a publication by NAi Publishers in collaboration with the University of Utrecht, research centre ®MIT, the Faculty of Architecture TU Delft, and the Netherlands Architecture Institute. Rob Dettingmeijer, Marie-Thérèse van Thoor and Ida van Zijl (edit.) To order the publication click here Dutch edition, ISBN 978-90-5662-745-4, € 39,50 English edition, ISBN 978-90-5662-746-1, € 47,50

Rietveld Year The city of Utrecht is rightly proud of the fact that most of the Rietveld buildings are within its city limits and that the municipal museum owns that largest Rietveld collection in the world. 2010 has been proclaimed as international Rietveld Year. It will be the starting point of a longterm campaign to profile Rietveld as an icon of Utrecht and to permanently link his name to the city. The Rietveld Year is kicked off on 24 June, Rietveld’s birthday. From that moment on, various activities will be organized in the city, the province, and elsewhere. See

Part of Holland Art Cities The exhibition is part of the official programme of Holland Art Cities 2009-2010. During this period the four major Dutch cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht) will focus on the theme of art and culture during the event ‘Holland Art Cities’. For this event ten leading museums will combine forces in order to present an unprecedented supply of art focusing on various themes. For more information see:

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Rietveld´s Universe
Gerrit Rietveld, Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Theo van Doesburg