Jan Bons

Rietveld, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

27 ½ x 19 ½ in. (70 x 50 cm)


Condition: The paper is slightly yellowed in keeping with its age. There are three light round smudges in the white area of the poster, on the right side.

A powerful graphic rendering of an iconic chair

Jan Bons (1918-2012), a venerated figure in Dutch graphic design, produced this skillfully-composed poster for the Stedelijk Museum’s 1959 exhibition on architect and furniture designer Gerrit Rietveld. The poster features Rietveld’s iconic Zig Zag chair, designed in 1934. 

Gerrit Rietveld (1888-1964), an early member of the Dutch modernist group De Stijl and a founding father of Dutch modernism, explored the use of intersecting planes and primary colors in his architecture and furniture designs. For his Zig Zag chair, a simple yet impressive cantilevered form, he connected four planks of wood with dovetail joints. The chair is still being produced today by the Italian furniture company Cassina.

Gerrit Rietveld, Zig Zag chair, produced by Cassina

In his exhibition poster, Bons renders the Zig Zag chair in strong, visible brushstrokes, layered over the hand-stenciled “Rietveld”. This type of handwork separates Bons from many of the strict Dutch modernists of his time and infuses his work with an expressive, personal character. 

On the occasion of Bons’s 90th birthday in 2008, fellow Dutch designer Gielijn Escher (1945-) honored Bons with a poster paying tribute to his celebrated 1959 Rietveld poster. Escher recreates, using his own hand, Bons’s painterly representation of the Zig Zag chair, offering a symbolic dialogue between these two designers as well as Dutch design hero Rietveld.

Gielijn Escher. Tribute to Jan Bons, 90 Affiches, Kunsthal Rotterdam (Zig Zag)
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Rietveld, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam