Lot 323: One of two known copies of Vera Schrader's 'Rietveldtafeltje'

Adams Amsterdam Auctions

December 13, 2016
Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Description: RIETVELD - SCHRADER, Vera. (Table). Wooden table, in white and black lacquered plywood parts with wooden poles. Recoated in the original colours at the end of the '70's. Sl. worn with superficial cracks and scratches.
Dimensions: 103 x 82.8 x 40.2 cm.
Literature: Tamira Tummers. Het 'Rietveldtafeltje' [...], 2016. Privately published
Provenance: Nic. H.M. Tummers; De Bijenkorf, Amsterdam
In 1954, Nic. H.M. Tummers, a Dutch sculptor and architecture critic bought a coffee table that was presented as a 'Rietveldtafeltje' at the Bijenkorf. The Dutch upmarket department store at the Dam in Amsterdam had become an important outlet for Rietveld, primarily to show his existing range of products and to sell. But according to Rijk Timmler, who was working at Rietveld's studio at the time, the busy Bijenkorf was also an interesting platform to try out prototypes. And, most probably, that is what the present table was, a prototype. Very little is known about the designer, Vera Schrader-Katz [or Schräder-Katz], but she must have been working at Rietveld's at that moment in order to have her work sold as 'a Rietveld'. And it implicates Rietveld's approval of the design. Subsequently Vera started a career as an interior designer in Amsterdam, but again, without leaving a trace. None of the appropriate archives could shed light on her life, not even the Bijenkorf archives in the Stadsarchief, Amsterdam. Nonetheless Tamira Tummers, an Eindhoven based architect, was able to trace another copy of the table with the help of specialists Jurjen Creman and Rob Driessen. The former had access to notes and drawings made by Frits Swart, son of the artist Frieda Hunziker. She was recognised by Rob Driessen in a photograph of a woman in her sitting room, taken around 1958. And there, before her very feet, rests the same table. It turned out that Swart had accurately recorded the sizes of his mother's table in order to copy it for his own use. At the feet of his drawings he noted: "Ontwerp: Vera Schrader ± 1952". Artist Frieda Hunziker was involved in many post-war avant-garde movements and groups and must have known Rietveld for years. But given the floor lamp and the other furniture her entire room might just as well be designed by the elusive Vera Schrader. Schrader? Schräder? Schröder? Statistically speaking, wouldn't it be too much of a coincidence to have those three different names in the circle of Rietveld at the same time? Was she a relative of Truus Schröder-Schrader, from the Rietveld Schröder house? The answer is no. There were no male descendants from Truus' family who could have passed on her maiden name to Vera's husband, her grandson told us. So, were does this leave us? We offer for sale a table with unmistakable characteristics of the plywood furniture designed since the 20's, first of all by Rietveld. We know it was presented at the Bijenkorf, Rietveld's flagship store, undoubtedly with his consent. We are sure Frieda Hunziker had the only other copy known and knew the name of the designer. We can't tell the whereabouts of Frieda's table, but we can show you the Bijenkorf copy at our viewing day. We can provide all underlying documents with the report by Tamira Tummers. And - best of all - we can offer this astounding piece to the highest bidder. Sale ends December 13.
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