Michel de Klerk garden chair, circa 1905

Side Chairs, Netherlands, Early 20th Century

A very rare and restored garden chair from castle De Haar in the Netherlands, by Amsterdam School architect Michel de Klerk. The chair is made of carved and stained oak and has leather armrests.

All of the interior elements were produced in a workshop in Maastricht, including at least six examples of this design. All of the furniture pieces from Castle de Haar were marked with the three diamonds motif (also used in the coat of arms at the castle) and a number which indicates where the item was located. This chair is marked 152. A drawing of the chair can be found at the archives of castle De Haar, at the Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam.

The chair has been professionally restored by Martin Robbe, who was a renowned restorer of, amongst others, furniture by Gerrit Rietveld.

In 1892 Pierre Cuypers (1827 - 1921) was commissioned by baron Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt and his wife Hélène de Rothschild to restore the castle from ruins and he spent twenty years on the project. Pierre Cuypers was a renowned architect and ‘Rijksbouwmeester’ (Chief Government Architect), who also designed the Rijksmuseum and Central Station in Amsterdam. Eduard Cuypers (1859 - 1927) was a nephew of Pierre Cuypers and was trained in his uncle’s architectural practice. In 1881, he set up his own office in Amsterdam. His contacts with businessmen earned him commissions for offices, shops and houses. Because Eduard and Pierre Cuypers worked with each other and were very close, Eduard moved with Pierre to Amsterdam when he was working on the Rijksmuseum.

Michel de Klerk (1884 - 1923) was born in 1884 as the 17th child of a then 78-year-old diamond cutter. Because he turned out to have a great talent for drawing in primary school, he was able to follow further education at the craft school. In 1898, Eduard Cuypers hired him as an assistant. De Klerk was barely fourteen years old when he started his employment and he would continue to work at the office for twelve years.

Because of the close family ties of Eduard and Pierre, it is clear that they worked together on the interior of the castle. This chair specifically must have been designed by Eduard’s employee Michel de Klerk. The design deviates strongly from the other work of Eduard Cuypers and therefore his signature can be excluded. The chair is also a precursor of a chair that was later (1915) designed by De Klerk. It has the same front legs, sling leather armrest and ‘turner’ like side slats. It can be called the missing link between the Arts & Crafts style and the Amsterdam school and is therefore of great importance. The chairs of this model (and most likely a table) didn’t have an important function within castle De Haar, as they were made as garden chairs for the châtelet of the house keeper of the castle. The fact that they were less important supports the idea that the young and talented Michel was commissioned to design the chairs and it explains why they are so divergent in style from the interior of the Castle as a whole.

  • 5798
  • Price on request
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