Amsterdamse School in Parijs. Het Nederlandse paviljoen op de Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (1925)
From the moment when world exhibitions were organized (1851) The Netherlands has participated in these events. The Dutch contribution thereby followed the general trend from an architectural point of view as well. Initially The Netherlands got the disposal of a small part of a large hall, which could distinguish itself from the other countries in its layout.
At the end of the nineteenth century this contribution was supplemented with a 'national-style' front in the so called Rue des Nations. For Brussels (1910) W. Kromhout designed the first independent Dutch pavilion. At the Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (1925), from which later on the style name 'art déco' was to be derived, The Netherlands was represented with a pavilion of J.F. Staal and three exhibition rooms, furnished by H.Th. Wijdeveld.
The pavilion showed characteristics of the decorative brickwork of the Amsterdam School and the realistic form language of Cubist Expressionism. Artists who, just as Staal and Wijdeveld, were or had been members of the Amsterdam Society ‘Architectura et Amicitia’, such as R.N. Roland Holst, C.A. Lion Cachet, J. Mendes da Costa, J. Radecker and Hildo Krop contributed to the interior of the pavilion.
The work of these artists also determined the appearance of the exhibition rooms. Consequently, the artists referred to constituted the core of the committees responsible for the composition of the contribution. The initiator in this respect was the 'Tentoonstellingsraad voor Bouwkunst en Verwante Kunsten' (Exhibition Council for Architecture and Related Arts).
A certain form of preferential treatment appeared to exist not only in the composition of the committees, but also in their procedures, since besides free entry on paper, the exhibition committee used a list of work requested for entry. The industrial architects and the members of 'De Stijl' were conspicuously absent there, considering the title of the exhibition and how successful these artists were at that moment.
In the case of the members of 'De Stijl' it was Theo van Doesburg's stubborn attitude that was also to blame for this. The pavilion received favourable reviews, which in their turn were highly coloured by the (press) reports of the Dutch organization. The claim that the pavilion signified the national and international recognition of the Amsterdam school should be somewhat modified, in view of the composition and procedures of the organization. However, the organization appeared to have made allowances for one important aspect: the expression of the national identity.