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The Red Blue Chair thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

The Red Blue Chair

Armchair
1918 (designed), 1970 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

'The Red Blue Chair' did not start out as red and blue. The original design and several early versions were simply stained wood, and the now-famous painted verions were not produced by Rietveld until 1923. Since then, however, this design has come to be identified with the geometrical style and primary colours used by the influential Dutch 'De Stijl' art movement.

Rietveld sought to discover new forms for design. He was inspired by the simple geometric furniture designed by the Dutch architect H. P. Berlage, and the work of the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. With 'The Red Blue Chair' he attempted to construct a chair from its most basic components, producing an abstract, architectural construction that has, since the 1950s, become an icon of modernism.

This chair was made in 1970 by Gerard A. van der Groenekan, who had assisted Rietveld with making the first versions. It was acquired for an exhibition mounted by the V&A at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, Modern Chairs, at a time when the Museum did not consistently seek out original, period versions of twentieth-century design. Later, in 1989, the Museum acquired an early example of this chair in stained purplewood (Museum no. W.9-1989).


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Painted beech frame and plywood panels
Brief Description
Armchair, painted plywood and beech, designed by Gerrit Rietveld, made by G. van der Groenekan in 1970 to original designs.
Physical Description
Armchair, beech frame with plywood panels, frame of straight stanchions and rails, square in cross section, rectangular for the arms which are set at right angles to each other. Frame painted black with square ends in yellow. Joined with cylindrical wooden pegs where members cross. The plywood panels comprise a red-painted back and a blue-painted seat, set at angles to the frame and overlapping each other visually. Seat attached to frame by metal screws, back by metal brackets.
Dimensions
  • Height: 87cm
  • Width: 66cm
  • Depth: 83.5cm
Dimensions taken from acquisition record, not checked against object
Styles
Object history
Purchased new by the Museum in 1970 for 275 francs
Summary
'The Red Blue Chair' did not start out as red and blue. The original design and several early versions were simply stained wood, and the now-famous painted verions were not produced by Rietveld until 1923. Since then, however, this design has come to be identified with the geometrical style and primary colours used by the influential Dutch 'De Stijl' art movement.



Rietveld sought to discover new forms for design. He was inspired by the simple geometric furniture designed by the Dutch architect H. P. Berlage, and the work of the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. With 'The Red Blue Chair' he attempted to construct a chair from its most basic components, producing an abstract, architectural construction that has, since the 1950s, become an icon of modernism.



This chair was made in 1970 by Gerard A. van der Groenekan, who had assisted Rietveld with making the first versions. It was acquired for an exhibition mounted by the V&A at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, Modern Chairs, at a time when the Museum did not consistently seek out original, period versions of twentieth-century design. Later, in 1989, the Museum acquired an early example of this chair in stained purplewood (Museum no. W.9-1989).
Collection
Accession Number
CIRC.367-1970

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record createdJanuary 8, 2008
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