Bart van der Leck, carpet with abstract decor

Bart van der Leck (1876-1958)

Carpet with abstract decor, 1929-1934
Metz&Co The Hague , The Netherlands 1934-1937

Woolen carpet, 2.5 x 2.5 meters.
Marked with a label on the backside, “Metz & Co Amsterdam / ‘s Gravenhage”.

This carpet is one of the early large carpets designed by Bart van der Leck for the Dutch avant-garde warehouse Metz & Co in Amsterdam and The Hague. It is made according to a drawing that shows a series of 5 carpets with different decors and dimensions, the decors are related to Van der Leck’s abstract paintings, ceramics and graphic work.

The carpet here on offer, is the only surviving example of the series at the drawing. Together with a carpet from the collection of the MOMA in New York, it is one of the two original large carpets designed by Van der Leck that are known to exist today.

It is knotted by hand with the use of a technique called “The Turkish knot”. Through his connections in Rabat with the SAFT (Société Africane de Filature et Tissage, of which he was a co-founder)  the director of Metz, Joseph de Leeuw, commissioned native Berber women from Morocco to make the woolen carpets for his warehouse. Van der Leck himself inspected the carpets upon arrival in Amsterdam and was strict in his quality judgment, sometimes a whole batch was returned.

Source: Metz & Co fabrics The textile policy of an Amsterdam department store, Petra Dupuits, Textile Historical Contributions1989, page 81 and pages 88-89.

This carpet origins  from an interior in The Hague, it is very well possible the carpet was also purchased there. A photograph made from the window shop of Metz&Co The Hague in 1934 shows a similar carpet hanging on the wall .

Source: Metz & Co the creative years, Petra Timmer, 010 publisher Rotterdam 1995, page 110, fig. 148

The carpets of Van der Leck contributed to the rise of modernism in the interiors of houses in the Netherlands and abroad. In 1930, three large Van der Leck carpets were displayed by Metz&Co in Paris at the first UAM exhibition, the Union des Artistes Modernes. Together with a lamp and steel tubular furniture designed by Gerrit Rietveld, it was one of the few non-French contributions to the exhibition amongst the work of Robert Mallet Stevens, René Herbst, Le Corbusier, Eileen Gray and Jean Prouvé.

The picture above shows a fragment of a report written by the Dutch/Hungarian designer Elmar Berkovich about the French exhibition in the Dutch magazine ‘Het Binnenhuis’ 1930. The picture below shows an invitation for an exhibition of the carpets in Amsterdam.

The cleaning / restoration / conservation was carried out by and under the guidance of textile curator Loutje den Tex from Amsterdam. In addition to the work that Den Tex itself has carried out, such as repairing the edges, it has been placed in a freezer section, cleaned and dried. A report of this is available.


During the restoration, the carpet was prepared for wall mounting.


The carpet shown lying on a stage at our stand at the PAN Amsterdam art fair.


The carpet hanging at our stand at Brafa art fair in Brussels


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