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Pluym, Willem van der

    Full Name: Pluym, Willem van der

    Other Names:

    • Willem Alexander Etienne van der Pluym

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1879

    Date Died: 1960

    Place Born: Zierikzee, Duiveland, Zeeland, Netherlands

    Place Died: Bussum, North Holland, Netherlands

    Home Country/ies: Netherlands

    Subject Area(s): architecture (object genre) and sculpture (visual works)


    Architect and architectural historian; professor of art history at the Amsterdam Rijksacademie (1918) and at Delft University of Technology (1943). Van der Pluym began his training in architecture at age 16, after having left high school without graduating. Two years later he obtained a position at the Rijksgebouwendienst (Dutch Government Buildings Agency) and later at Monumentenzorg (Netherlands Department for Conservation). He received further training at the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum School, where he graduated, in 1904, in drawing and architecture. He then moved to Brussels, where he worked under the Belgian architect Paul Saintenoy (1862-1952) as designer in historical styles. In 1905 he returned to the Netherlands. At Utrecht University he studied archaeology and art history during one year under Willem Vogelsang. Van der Pluym’s involvement in archaeology began in 1906, when Carel Willem Vollgraff (1876-1967) invited him to accompany him at his second digging campaign in Argos, Greece. (Van der Pluym continued to collaborate as draughtsman in the campaigns of 1912, 1928, and 1930.) In 1907 he supervised the construction of the Gouda Hospital under the Dutch architect Willem Kromhout (1864-1940). In 1910, Van der Pluym became the latter’s successor as art history instructor at the Amsterdam Museum School. With Marcel Laurent, professor of art history at Liège University in Belgium, he wrote a broad overview of the highlights of sculpture and architecture from Antiquity to the present. The 1916 Dutch publication was followed by French and Italian editions. From 1916 to c. 1944, Van der Pluym taught art history at the Amsterdam institution “Voortgezet Hooger Bouwkunst Onderricht” (Continuing higher architectural instruction), set up in 1908. In 1918 he in addition became professor of general art history at the Amsterdam Rijksacademie van Beeldende Kunsten, as the successor of Jan Six. He served the academy until age 70. From 1922 onward he began his academic career at Amsterdam University as privaatdocent of the history of architecture. Between 1943 and 1949 he in addition held the position of extraordinarius professor of the history of visual arts at Delft University of Technology. In the 1940s and 1950s he published a series of volumes on the evolution of the interior of the Dutch house and its furniture. After his retirement from Amsterdam University at age 76, he continued working and publishing and he kept traveling together with his wife. His eightieth birthday was celebrated in the national press with various articles. The most important aspect of Van der Pluym’s multifaceted career is his exceptional technical knowledge in the field of the history of architecture and furniture.

    Selected Bibliography

    and Laurent, Marcel. De meesterwerken der beeldhouwkunst en der bouwkunst: uit den vroegsten tot in dezen tijd. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1916, French, Les chefs-d’oeuvre de la sculpture et de l’architecture depuis l’antiquité à nos jours. Paris: E. Flammarion, s.d.; Leo Gestel: De schilder en zijn werk. Amsterdam: De Spieghel, 1936; Het Nederlandsche binnenhuis en zijn meubels. 3 vols. Amsterdam: A. De Lange, 1941-1951; Vijf eeuwen binnenhuis en meubels in Nederland, 1450-1950. Amsterdam: A. De Lange, 1954; Het beleven van beeldende kunst. Delft: Meinema, 1945; and Vollgraff, Carl Wilhelm and Roes, Anne. Le sanctuaire d’Apollon pythéen à Argos. Paris: J. Vrin, 1956.


    Ter Kuile, E. H. “In memoriam Willem van der Pluym.” Nieuwsbulletin Koninklijke Nederlandse Oudheidkundige Bond, 6de s., 13 (1960): 185-186; Boeyinga, B. T. “Willem Alexander Etienne van der Pluym (Zierikzee, 19 augustus 1879-Bussum, 21 juli 1960)” Jaarboek van de Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde te Leiden, 1962-1963 (1963): 150-154.

    Contributors: Monique Daniels


    Monique Daniels. "Pluym, Willem van der." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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