With the exhibition Living in the Amsterdam School currently at the Stedelijk Museum and heaps of other events celebrating 100 years Amsterdam School, the descendants of Hendrik Methorst (1896-1969) decided that time has come to share their family treasures. From the 18th of June until the 15th of September 2016 they are organizing a small exhibition of their (great-)grandfather’s work. Work that has been stored in boxes in the attic will now be revealed to the public for the very first time.
Great-grandson Lasse van den Dikkenberg (currently studying archeology at Leiden University) is fascinated by the family legacy and has written a short biography about his great-grandfather Hendrik Methorst. When I contacted him, he was excited to show me the objects his family is planning on showcasing during the upcoming exhibition. “The more people know about the beautiful things my great-grandfather designed, the better!”
Hendrik Methorst (1896-1969)
Hendrik Methorst was born 120 years ago in Utrecht. At age 14(!) he was apprenticed to renowned silver factory Begeer. In 1920 he opened his own little atelier in Utrecht where he worked as a silversmith. Recent study of the atelier’s 1920s cash books provided the insight that Methorst, in his first years, mainly worked for Begeer and for other artists, like Cris Agterberg. But he also worked to establish his own reputation. By 1924 Methorst already exhibited alongside great names like Karel de Bazel, Cris Agterberg, Jan Eisenloeffel en Gerrit Rietveld at the “Tentoonstelling van Kunstnijverheid te Utrecht”.
That same year though, contact with Agterberg ended as Agterberg apparently tried to sell a silver tobacco jar that was designed and hammered by Methorst, as his own. The family archives also contain drawings for a mask that has been attributed to Agterberg, so maybe the tobacco jar was not the only plagiarism issue. Methorst moved his atelier to posh yet sleepy Zeist in 1925 and called it ‘De Klop’, The Knock.
The collaboration with Begeer on the other hand continued way into the 1930s when Methorst got to exhibit at the United States Third International Exhibition of Contemporary Industrial Art. In those years he began to design and sell furniture. And he developed a special series of electric clocks and lamps which he branded Methora. In 1934 ‘De Klop’ moved to its current location.
During World War II, Methorst was involved in the resistance. From his Atelier in Zeist, resistance newspapers were distributed and food was collected for people in hiding. Agterberg, we now know, was a member of the Dutch fascist movement NSB. So even without the plagiarism issues their collaboration would probably have ended sooner or later.
After the war, Methorst turned his atelier into a furniture shop. He designed the furniture himself, but he also sold popular Gispen furniture and De Ploeg fabrics; and he got involved in local politics.
Hendrik Methorst passed away in 1969. Studio ‘De Klop’ was taken over by his son Dick Methorst to become a fashion store specializing in Finnish fashion (Marimekko) and applied art (Iittala, Arabia). And today, the third generation is running the family business, selling mainly Scandinavian fashion.
Don’t expect a spectacular exhibition like the Lantman exhibition in Assen last year. But if you love Amsterdam School design, dó go to Zeist for this mini-exhibition and enjoy the unique heirloom of Hendrik Methorst while you can!
Exhibition De Klop en de Amsterdamse School
18 June – 15 September 2016
De Klop Mode, Slotlaan 127, 3701 GA Zeist