Pieter Groeneveldt
'Voor mij is de rijkdom van eenvoud het grootste bezit'
Pieter Groeneveldt, 1979, 'Eenvoud'

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Pieter Groeneveldt

This site is dedicated to Pieter Groeneveldt, born in Batavia, the former Dutch Indies, in 1889, died in at Voorschoten, The Netherlands, in 1982.

Pieter Groeneveldt was a Dutch artist and ceramist who was active during the greater part of the twentieth century.  

After having been neglected for too long, Groeneveldt has recently been receiving an increasing appreciation. His work is much sought after these days. However, virtually no background information is as yet available. We wish to change this situation.

This website aspires to offer admirers of the work of Pieter Groeneveldt a forum for exchanging information. We want to use this site as a means of gaining information about this artist. In the not too distant future we wish to organise an exhibition and a publication of his work.

Separate sections provide information (in Dutch) on Groeneveldts life, his workshop at Voorschoten and the flower-shop Sheherazade (which served as a showroom for much of his ceramic objects). Furthermore, this site contains an overview of his exhibitions known to us, and it offers an overview of his work, his assignments and his potter's marks. We also include a list of bibliographical references.

You can help us with the PG-project.

If you have knowledge of any work by Pieter Groeneveldt unknown to us, if you can provide us with new information, or if there is any question you wish to ask:

Just contact us!


Pieter Groeneveldt: a Dutch artist-potter

After finishing the Rijksacademie (State School for the Arts) in Amsterdam at around 1914, the young Groeneveldt developed a broad range of artistic activities including painting and sculpting. Eventually, ceramics attracted his attention more than anything else, and it is through his ceramic work that Groeneveldt would become famous.

Historically, Groeneveldt may be placed in a movement of Dutch and European potters who, from about 1880 onwards, turned to the Far East for fresh inspiration. Inspired by the British Arts-and-Crafts movement, they felt a strong need to create well-designed products for everyday life that were, moreover, accessible to everyone. Artists should fight the negative effects of industrialisation and soulless mass-production. They saw themselves as designers and craftsmen combined. Following the example of traditional potters from China and Japan, these ceramists preferred relatively simple, geometrical shapes. Along with other currents in the modern art movement, they abandoned figurative designs and decoration. Instead came the strong emotive effects created by glazes in various colours and textures. Because the traditional potter does not entirely control the composition of raw materials or the firing circumstances, no vase exactly replicates another. Hence, the final products are all unique.

Around 1923 Groeneveldt began experimenting with the production of art pottery. At first he had his products fired at the nearby factory of Amphora (Oegstgeest). In 1925 Groeneveldt started his first independent ceramic workshop in Wassenaar. In 1927 he moved to Voorschoten, where his workshop remained operational until 1972. During its hey-day, the Voorschoten workshop provided work for more than 20 people.

An important outlet for much of his ceramic work throughout the years was the flower-shop Sheherazade, which Groeneveldt opened in The Hague in 1923. Located centrally in the bristling city-centre, and with an interior design created by the modern interior-architect Hendrik Wouda, the shop displayed elegantly arranged flowers in beautiful vases. Sheherazade received many positive remarks from contemporary journalists and from the Dutch art-scene of the day.

Groeneveldt developed his own style alongside other innovating Dutch potters from this era, such as Lanooij, Brouwer, Nienhuis, Andr»e, Mobach and Zaalberg. Groeneveldt's ceramic work has been rightfully praised for his use of glazes. Deep, turquoise blue, or a soft pinkish white are perhaps among his best known. Much of his earlier work shows very subtle variations in colour caused by different layers of glaze put over one another. His later work often shows the so-called travertijn (travertin) effect: a roughened surface wiped with a dark glaze, creating a stony, wood-like travertin-effect. Introduced in the Netherlands by Groeneveldt during the 1960s, this style was frequently replicated by other workshops. Few, however, were able to combine this effect with brightly coloured glazes in the way Pieter Groeneveldt did.

During the 1960s, cheap, mass-produced pottery from Western Germany and other countries flushed the market. In 1972, after a drawn-out struggle, the Voorschoten workshop succumbed to financial difficulties. However, Groeneveldt remained artistically active until the very end of his life, continuing to produce ceramic works at home. Some consider the works from these final years to be among the best he ever made. Groeneveldt died in 1982, at the age of 93.


© 2012 Pieter Groeneveldt       Site door Compleet IT