Mr. Van Koert designed silverware and furniture that helped to introduce modernist shapes. Born in Manitoba, Canada, he later moved to Milwaukee, where he studied at the University of Wisconsin to be a painter and sculptor and taught design in the art department. After World War II, he settled in New York as a jewelry designer for Harry Winston and branched out into industrial design.
His flatware designs in silver for Towle were well known in the 50's. One of them, ''Contour,'' a sleek Miro-like design, was chosen to represent modernism in ''Knife, Fork and Spoon,'' a 1951 traveling exhibition on the history of eating implements organized by the Walter Art Center of Minneapolis.
In 1954, he was exhibition director of ''Design in Scandinavia,'' a show that traveled for three years, to venues including the Brooklyn Museum of Art; it helped introduce Scandinavian modern design to Americans.