Precious memories of Chris Steenbergen as a phenomenal silver- and gold smith
During the Second World War Chris Steenbergen followed his art education at the Kunstnijheidsinstituut in Amsterdam, later on better known as the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. He completed his education as a gold- and silversmith in 1946 and decided to focus on manufacturing jewellery. After his graduation Chris briefly worked with other well known jewellery designers such as Archibald Dumbar and Esther Swart-Hudig. Although he worked as an independent goldsmith, he was also forced to make a living by executing commissioned work; such as candlesticks, clocks, table settings and toilet accessories. In this period his work was characterised as classic golden jewellery with precious stones and brilliants. Later on he gradually moved to more robust and basic forms. Because of the often rudimental forms of designs, his jewelry is worn by both men and women.
Chris Steenbergen at work
Exhibitions Chris Steenbergen
Between 1950 and (at least) 1985 he had at least 60 exhibitions in museums and art galeries in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Canada, Germany, Japan, and Curaçao. Chris Steenbergen is mentioned in around 13 books about contemporary jewellers and his complete archive is kept in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands in the so-called CODA archives. (CODA is a library, museum and national archive keeper)
On the occasion of his 65th birthday a retrospective took place in Museum Boijmans - Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. He received the award by the Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture in 2000 for his complete ouvre. As a member of the Society of Cooperating Craft Artists (GSA) he exhibited his jewelry regularly.
The affiche to announce the exihibition at the Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen on the occasion of his 65th birthday
Designs by Chris Steenbergen
Characteristic of Steenbergen's jewelery designs are sleek and simple shapes that arise from some basic shapes like the square, the circle and the ellipse. In combination with gold and silver Steenbergen also processed other materials such as colored perspex, ebonite, rock crystal and slate.
A good example of a ring with minimalistic design an basic forms
The developments in the visual arts was a source of his inspiration. Bauhaus, the sculptures by artists such as Henry Moore and Antoine Pevsner and abstract constructivism also influenced his designs. Later Steenbergen was especially inspired by the architectural style of the 1980's and 1990s.
Interested in seeing more work of Chris Steenbergen? Please have a look at our collection at Gallerease