The Gerrit Rietveld Academy is the continuation of the Institute for Applied Arts Education (Instituut voor Kunstnijverheidsonderwijs, IvKNO), which moved to a new building by Gerrit Rietveld in 1967 and has since been named after him. Mart Stam was the director from 1939 to 1948 and he, following the example set by Bauhaus, wanted to introduce a base year and put man and working for the industry at the centre. The academy was subsequently led by the glass artist Andries Copier (1950-1952) and the lawyer Dirk Vis. There was an exhibition on this school at the Stedelijk Museum in 1955, which then consisted of three main departments: space (including furniture, ceramics, interiors, plastics and metallurgy), textile (textile, weaving and fashion), and the graphic department where photography, illustration, typography, letter drawing and advertising was taught. The academy had both a daytime and an evening programme.
When Vis suffered from a burnout in 1968, Dick Dooijes replaced him as the director from 1971 to 1974. During this turbulent period, he gave teachers and students more freedom and the opportunity to participate. The number of courses expanded with fine arts and an audiovisual department, although the graphic designers were in the majority. This freedom meant that the school started to emphasise autonomy, individuality, mentality and free expression, while the school lacked structure and vision. Various teachers set up their courses according to their own views, also when Simon den Hartog (1974-1999) was the director, who managed to prevent a merger with other departments. The Sandberg Instituut was established in 1995, a department led by Jos Houweling. Den Hartog was succeeded by Tijmen Grootheest.
The Dutch version of this biography is taken from the book ‘Visies op vormgeving, het Nederlandse ontwerpen in teksten deel 2: 1940-2000’, (2008) by Frederike Huygen. The following sources have been used for this biography:
– Seventer, D. van ‘Verplichte autonomie. Evolutie en revolutie op de Gerrit Rietveld Academie 1967-1999’, Amsterdam (doctoraalscriptie UvA Culturele Studies).