In Fall 2016, The Wolfsonian–Florida International University will debut Modern Dutch Design, an examination of innovative design from the Netherlands between 1890 and 1940. On view November 18, 2016 through June 11, 2017, the exhibition traces how Dutch designers, architects, and artists evolved in the modern age— cementing their country’s reputation as a center for cutting-edge design—and follows the development of unique styles and movements including Nieuwe Kunst, the Amsterdam School, and De Stijl. Over 200 works ranging from furniture and metalwork to posters and drawings will reveal how these pioneers responded to radical shifts in social and political life, promoted international travel and trade, and found inspiration from the cultures of the Dutch colonies overseas.
Showcasing selections from The Wolfsonian’s world-renowned collection of Dutch decorative arts and works on paper in addition to loans from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, Denver, Modern Dutch Design will provide a basic chronology of “Dutch style” during its most influential period. After beginning with Nieuwe Kunst’s flat, geometric, stylized motifs adapted from batik from the Dutch East Indies, the exhibition then explores two rival avant-garde stylistic movements: The Amsterdam School (with more ornate, sculptural elements) and De Stijl (featuring a minimalist palette of primary colors), which opened the way to Nieuwe Bouwen (New Building), the Dutch branch of Functionalism. From low-income housing plans to luxurious ocean liners and Bensdorp chocolate ads, Modern Dutch Design reflects design’s mark on all aspects of Dutch life in this time—the public, private, and commercial spheres alike.
The Wolfsonian will publish a full-color book to accompany the exhibition, with essays by Wolfsonian head curator Silvia Barisione; Marjan Groot, senior lecturer in the history of design at the VU University Amsterdam; Frans Leidelmeijer, Dutch decorative arts expert; and Mienke Simon Thomas, senior curator of decorative arts and design at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam.
For the Modern Dutch Design Exhibition at the Wolfsonian in Miami Beach, Dutch artist Christie van der Haak will wrap the facade and lobby with her tapestry. You can read more about the project on a separate blog.