Lot 7
  • 7

Gerrit Thomas Rietveld

bidding is closed


  • Gerrit Thomas Rietveld
  • Rood-blauwe Stoel (Red-Blue Chair)
  • With remnants of old paper label to underside of seat
  • Beechwood and plywood painted in original red, blue, black and yellow, overpainted


R. Jongman, Netherlands (acquired in the 1920s)
Jongman family, Netherlands (thence from descent from the above) 
Acquired by the present owner in 1980.


Mildred Friedman, ed., De Stijl: 1917-1931, Visions of Utopia, New York, 1982, p. 124
Gerrit Rietveld: A Centary Exhibition, Craftsman and Visionary (exhibition catalogue), Barry Friedman Ltd., New York, 1988, pp. 24 & 28
Marijke Küper & Ida van Zijl, Gerrit Th. Rietveld, Utrecht, 1992, pp. 74-75 & 79
Peter Vöge, The Complete Rietveld Furniture, Rotterdam, 1993, pp. 58-59
Ida van Zijl, Gerrit Rietveld, London, 2010, pp. 31, 35 & 203
Marijke Küper, Rietveld’s Universum, Rotterdam 2010, pp. 195-201
Marijke Küper, De stoel van Rietveld, Rotterdam, 2012, nos. 14 & 33


This chair was evaluated by Dr. Rob Driessen, art historian and independent consultant in the field of 20th Century Decorative arts and design specializing in the work of G.Th. Rietveld and Jurjen Creman, a conservator specializing in Rietveld furniture. As mentioned in the catalogue entry, the surface of the chair, with exception of the underside of the seat and armrests, has been overpainted in the same colors as the original, the new layer of paint being glossier and brighter than the original colors. Based on paint analysis, the chair offered here seems to have only a single layer of later overpaint with remnants of the original red-blue color scheme still visible underneath, which is quite exceptional as Jurjen Creman has pointed out. Based on his research of the material and technical features of the chair (measurements of the posts and rails, measurements of the seat and back, construction with hand-made dowels, attachment of seat and back with nails and tool marks), Creman identifies the chair as an authentic and early example that can be dated in the 1920s, not before 1923. Please contact the 20th century design department to receive the professional report by Jurjen Creman. The overall construction of the chair is sound. The surfaces with some surface scratches, some abrasions, a few edge chips and losses, some wear to the painted surfaces and light surface soiling consistent with age and use. The proper right armrest with an area of wear to the black paint, measuring approximately 2 x 2 ½ inches, revealing the original layer of paint and the wood. This armrest is slightly loose. The top back rail on the proper right side with a vertical crack running from the yellow part to the armrest. The proper right back leg with a smaller hairline crack at the back of the leg, which appears stable and approximately 1 inch in length. The red backrest with a few small areas of wear to the overpaint, and a larger one to the proper left lower part of the back, measuring approximately 4 ½ x 3 ½ and revealing the original layer of paint. The proper right lower part of the back with a vertical hairline crack running from the lower rail along approximately 9 ¼ inches. The seat with an area of wear along the proper right edge, measuring 1 ½ x 1 inch and revealing the original blue paint. The plywood of the seat and back with thin craquelures consistent with age and use. Some wear to the paint on the yellow areas. At the edges and corners of the chair both the overpaint and the original paint are worn off. A masterwork by Rietveld, remarkable by its early production date and the presence of the original paint under one repainted layer, coming from the collection of graphic designer and artist Elaine Lustig Cohen.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.