Born in Utrecht in 1888, the Dutch designer, architect and painter Gerrit Rietveld spent his entire life in the city of his birth. The son of a carpenter, Rietveld was employed in his father's workshop until he was fifteen. From 1911 to 1912, Rietveld was a member of the group of artists known as Kunstliefde, with whom he also showed work.
In 1917, he established a furniture workshop and by 1919, he had joined Theo van Doesburg, Piet Mondrian, and other artists to found the De Stijl movement. Rietveld would become one of the most important and influential artists in that celebrated group.
De Stijl artists formulated a language of forms that was intended to attain the greatest objectivity and autonomy in a work of art; their works are stringently non-representational, radically reduced to a geometric arrangement of horizontals and verticals and a palette consisting of the primary colours red, yellow, and blue with the addition of black and white. De Stijl applied these principles to both two-dimensional and three-dimensional work, such as furnishings and architecture.
In 1928, Rietveld became a member of the Congrès International d'Architecture Moderne (CIAM). As an architect, Rietveld designed many buildings and interiors but his biggest project, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, was not completed until nine years after he died in 1964.