De Stijl

Last updated

De Stijl, Vol.1, no.1, Delft, October 1917, edited by Theo van Doesburg. Cover of the first 12 issues, 1917-1931 (detail), original design by Vilmos Huszar De Stijl, Vol. 1, no. 1, Delft, October 1917 (detail).jpg
De Stijl, Vol.1, no.1, Delft, October 1917, edited by Theo van Doesburg. Cover of the first 12 issues, 1917–1931 (detail), original design by Vilmos Huszár

De Stijl ( /dəˈstl/ ; Dutch pronunciation: [də ˈstɛil] ), Dutch for "The Style", also known as Neoplasticism, was a Dutch art movement founded in 1917 in Leiden. De Stijl consisted of artists and architects. [1] In a more narrow sense, the term De Stijl is used to refer to a body of work from 1917 to 1931 founded in the Netherlands. [2] [3] Proponents of De Stijl advocated pure abstraction and universality by a reduction to the essentials of form and colour; they simplified visual compositions to vertical and horizontal, using only black, white and primary colors.

Contents

De Stijl is also the name of a journal that was published by the Dutch painter, designer, writer, and critic Theo van Doesburg that served to propagate the group's theories. Along with van Doesburg, the group's principal members were the painters Piet Mondrian, Vilmos Huszár, Bart van der Leck, and the architects Gerrit Rietveld, Robert van 't Hoff, and J. J. P. Oud. The artistic philosophy that formed a basis for the group's work is known as Neoplasticism—the new plastic art (or Nieuwe Beelding in Dutch).

According to Theo van Doesburg in the introduction of the magazine De Stijl 1917 no.1, the "De Stijl"-movement was a reaction to the "Modern Baroque" of the Amsterdam School movement (Dutch expressionist architecture) with the magazine Wendingen (1918–1931).

Principles and influences

De Stijl November 1921, Dadaism Destijl anthologiebonset.jpg
De Stijl November 1921, Dadaism
De Stijl Manifesto I, November 1918 Manifest I of De Stijl.JPG
De Stijl Manifesto I, November 1918
Red and Blue Chair, designed by Gerrit Rietveld, version without colors 1919, version with colors 1923 Rietveld chair 1bb.jpg
Red and Blue Chair , designed by Gerrit Rietveld, version without colors 1919, version with colors 1923
The Rietveld Schroder House in Utrecht, 1924 - the only building realised completely according to the principles of "De Stijl" RietveldSchroederhuis.jpg
The Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht, 1924 – the only building realised completely according to the principles of "De Stijl"
Aubette dance hall in Strasbourg, Theo van Doesburg in collaboration with Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Jean Arp, 1929 Aubette Cine-dancing 01.jpg
Aubette dance hall in Strasbourg, Theo van Doesburg in collaboration with Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Jean Arp, 1929

Mondrian sets forth the delimitations of Neoplasticism in his essay "Neo-Plasticism in Pictorial Art". He writes, "this new plastic idea will ignore the particulars of appearance, that is to say, natural form and colour. On the contrary, it should find its expression in the abstraction of form and colour, that is to say, in the straight line and the clearly defined primary colour". With these constraints, his art allows only primary colours and non-colours, only squares and rectangles, only straight and horizontal or vertical lines. [4] The De Stijl movement posited the fundamental principle of the geometry of the straight line, the square, and the rectangle, combined with a strong asymmetricality; the predominant use of pure primary colors with black and white; and the relationship between positive and negative elements in an arrangement of non-objective forms and lines. [5]

The name De Stijl is supposedly derived from Gottfried Semper's Der Stil in den technischen und tektonischen Künsten oder Praktische Ästhetik (1861–3), which Curl [3] suggests was mistakenly believed to advocate materialism and functionalism. The "plastic vision" of De Stijl artists, also called Neo-Plasticism, saw itself as reaching beyond the changing appearance of natural things to bring an audience into intimate contact with an immutable core of reality, a reality that was not so much a visible fact as an underlying spiritual vision. [6] In general, De Stijl proposed ultimate simplicity and abstraction, both in architecture and painting, by using only straight horizontal and vertical lines and rectangular forms. Furthermore, their formal vocabulary was limited to the primary colours, red, yellow, and blue, and the three primary values, black, white, and grey. The works avoided symmetry and attained aesthetic balance by the use of opposition. This element of the movement embodies the second meaning of stijl: "a post, jamb or support"; this is best exemplified by the construction of crossing joints, most commonly seen in carpentry.

In many of the group's three-dimensional works, vertical and horizontal lines are positioned in layers or planes that do not intersect, thereby allowing each element to exist independently and unobstructed by other elements. This feature can be found in the Rietveld Schröder House and the Red and Blue Chair.

De Stijl was influenced by Cubist painting as well as by the mysticism and the ideas about "ideal" geometric forms (such as the "perfect straight line") in the neoplatonic philosophy of mathematician M. H. J. Schoenmaekers. The De Stijl movement was also influenced by Neopositivism. [7] The works of De Stijl would influence the Bauhaus style and the international style of architecture as well as clothing and interior design. However, it did not follow the general guidelines of an "-ism" (e.g., Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism), nor did it adhere to the principles of art schools like the Bauhaus; it was a collective project, a joint enterprise.

In music, De Stijl was an influence only on the work of composer Jakob van Domselaer, a close friend of Mondrian. Between 1913 and 1916, he composed his Proeven van Stijlkunst ("Experiments in Artistic Style"), inspired mainly by Mondrian's paintings. This minimalistic—and, at the time, revolutionary—music defined "horizontal" and "vertical" musical elements and aimed at balancing those two principles. Van Domselaer was relatively unknown in his lifetime, and did not play a significant role within De Stijl.

History

Early history

From the flurry of new art movements that followed the Impressionist revolutionary new perception of painting, Cubism arose in the early 20th century as an important and influential new direction. In the Netherlands, too, there was interest in this "new art".

However, because the Netherlands remained neutral in World War I, Dutch artists were not able to leave the country after 1914 and were thus effectively isolated from the international art world—and in particular, from Paris, which was its centre then.

During that period, Theo van Doesburg started looking for other artists to set up a journal and start an art movement. Van Doesburg was also a writer, poet, and critic, who had been more successful writing about art than working as an independent artist. [8] Quite adept at making new contacts due to his flamboyant personality and outgoing nature, he had many useful connections in the art world.

Founding of De Stijl

Theo van Doesburg, Composition VII (the three graces) 1917 Theo van Doesburg Composition VII (the three graces).jpg
Theo van Doesburg, Composition VII (the three graces) 1917
Piet Mondrian, Composition en couleur A, 1917, Kroller-Muller Museum Otterloo kroller muller mondrian composition couleur A.jpg
Piet Mondrian, Composition en couleur A, 1917, Kröller-Müller Museum

Around 1915, Van Doesburg started meeting the artists who would eventually become the founders of the journal. He first met Piet Mondrian at an exhibition in Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Mondrian, who had moved to Paris in 1912 (and there, changed his name from "Mondriaan"), had been visiting the Netherlands when war broke out. He could not return to Paris, and was staying in the artists' community of Laren, where he met Bart van der Leck and regularly saw M. H. J. Schoenmaekers. In 1915, Schoenmaekers published Het nieuwe wereldbeeld ("The New Image of the World"), followed in 1916 by Beginselen der beeldende wiskunde ("Principles of Plastic Mathematics"). These two publications would greatly influence Mondrian and other members of De Stijl.

Van Doesburg also knew J. J. P. Oud and the Hungarian artist Vilmos Huszár. In 1917 the cooperation of these artists, together with the poet Antony Kok, resulted in the founding of De Stijl. The young architect Gerrit Rietveld joined the group in 1918. At its height De Stijl had 100 members and the journal had a circulation of 300. [9]

During those first few years, the group was still relatively homogeneous, although Van der Leck left in 1918 due to artistic differences of opinion. Manifestos were being published, signed by all members. The social and economic circumstances of the time formed an important source of inspiration for their theories, and their ideas about architecture were heavily influenced by Hendrik Petrus Berlage and Frank Lloyd Wright.

The name Nieuwe Beelding was a term first coined in 1917 by Mondrian, who wrote a series of twelve articles called De Nieuwe Beelding in de schilderkunst ("Neo-Plasticism in Painting") that were published in the journal De Stijl. In 1920 he published a book titled Le Néo-Plasticisme. [10]

After 1920

Van Doesburg and Rietveld interior, c.1919, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Van Doesburg and Rietveld interior 1919.jpg
Van Doesburg and Rietveld interior, c.1919, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Around 1921, the group's character started to change. From the time of van Doesburg's association with Bauhaus, other influences started playing a role. These influences were mainly Malevich and Russian Constructivism, to which not all members agreed. In 1924 Mondrian broke with the group after van Doesburg proposed the theory of elementarism, suggesting that a diagonal line is more vital than horizontal and vertical ones. In addition, the De Stijl group acquired many new "members". Dadaist influences, such as I. K. Bonset's poetry and Aldo Camini's "antiphilosophy" generated controversy as well. Only after Van Doesburg's death was it revealed that Bonset and Camini were two of his pseudonyms.

After van Doesburg's death

Theo van Doesburg (r) and Cornelis van Eesteren (l) in their studio in Paris, 1923 Cornelis van Eesteren and Theo van Doesburg 2.jpg
Theo van Doesburg (r) and Cornelis van Eesteren (l) in their studio in Paris, 1923
Exhibition "De Stijl" in Paris, 15 October - 15 November 1923 Uitnodiging tentoonstelling de Stijl.jpg
Exhibition "De Stijl" in Paris, 15 October – 15 November 1923
Theo van Doesburg, activities in Weimar (outside the Bauhaus Weimar 1919-1925). Private courses, introduction of the Cubist architecture of "De Stijl", 1921-1922. Retrospective in Landesmuseum Weimar, 16 December 1923 - 23 January 1924 Ontwikkelingstentoonstelling Theo van Doesburg Weimar 1923.jpg
Theo van Doesburg, activities in Weimar (outside the Bauhaus Weimar 1919–1925). Private courses, introduction of the Cubist architecture of "De Stijl", 1921–1922. Retrospective in Landesmuseum Weimar, 16 December 1923 – 23 January 1924

Theo van Doesburg died in Davos, Switzerland, in 1931. His wife, Nelly, administered his estate.

Because of van Doesburg's pivotal role within De Stijl, the group did not survive. Individual members remained in contact, but De Stijl could not exist without a strong central character. Thus, it may be wrong to think of De Stijl as a close-knit group of artists. The members knew each other, but most communication took place by letter. For example, Mondrian and Rietveld never met in person.

Many, though not all, artists did stay true to the movement's basic ideas, even after 1931. Rietveld, for instance, continued designing furniture according to De Stijl principles, while Mondrian continued working in the style he had initiated around 1920. Van der Leck, on the other hand, went back to figurative compositions after his departure from the group.

Influence on architecture

The De Stijl influence on architecture remained considerable long after its inception; Mies van der Rohe was among the most important proponents of its ideas. Between 1923 and 1924, Rietveld designed the Rietveld Schröder House, the only building to have been created completely according to De Stijl principles. Examples of Stijl-influenced works by J.J.P. Oud can be found in Rotterdam ( Café De Unie  [ nl ]) and Hook of Holland. Other examples include the Eames House by Charles and Ray Eames, and the interior decoration for the Aubette dance hall in Strasbourg, designed by Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Jean Arp and van Doesburg.

Present day

Works by De Stijl members are scattered all over the world, but De Stijl-themed exhibitions are organised regularly. Museums with large De Stijl collections include the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague (which owns the world's most extensive, although not exclusively De Stijl-related, Mondrian collection) and Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum, where many works by Rietveld and Van Doesburg are on display. The Centraal Museum of Utrecht has the largest Rietveld collection worldwide; it also owns the Rietveld Schröder House, Rietveld's adjacent "show house", and the Rietveld Schröder Archives.

The movement inspired the design aesthetics of Rumyantsevo and Salaryevo stations of Moscow Metro opened in 2016. [11] [12]

Neoplasticists

See also

References and sources

References
  1. Linduff, David G. Wilkins, Bernard Schultz, Katheryn M. (1994). Art past, art present (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall. pp.  523. ISBN   978-0-13-062084-2.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "De Stijl". Tate Glossary. The Tate. Retrieved 31 July 2006.
  3. 1 2 Curl, James Stevens (2006). A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (Paperback) (Second ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN   978-0-19-860678-9.
  4. Tate. "Neo-plasticism – Art Term – Tate".
  5. "The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum-Guggenheim] Collection Online: De Stijl". Archived from the original on 29 April 2014.
  6. Denker, Susan A. (September 1982). "De Stijl: 1917–1931, Visions of Utopia". Art Journal. 42 (3): 242–246. doi:10.1080/00043249.1982.10792803.
  7. Linduff, David G. Wilkins, Bernard Schultz, Katheryn M. (1994). Art past, art present (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall. p.  523. ISBN   978-0-13-062084-2.
  8. Theo van Doesburg (1918). Translated by Janet Seligman; Introd. by Hans M. Wingler; Postscript by H.L.C. Jaffé (eds.). Grundbegriffe der Neuen Gestaltenden Kunst (Grondbeginselen der Nieuwe beeldende Kunst [Principles of Neo-Plastic Art]) (in German, Dutch, and English). London, UK: Lund Humphries (1968). ISBN   978-0853311041.
  9. Dujardin, Alain; Quirindongo, Jop (26 January 2017). "This 100-Year-Old Dutch Movement Shaped Web Design Today". Backchannel (blog) . Retrieved 29 January 2017.
  10. Piet Mondrian, Le Néo-Plasticisme, Principe Général de l'Equivalence Plastique, Paris, 1920, Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg
  11. "Marble and Mondrian: a tour of Moscow metro". DW. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  12. "Type design for Rumyantsevo Moscow Metro station" . Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  13. "Ilya Bolotowsky". Sullivan Goss. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  14. "Burgoyne Diller". Sullivan Goss. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  15. 1 2 3 "de Stijl". the-artists.org. 28 December 2008. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  16. "Robert Van 'T Hoff in The Kröller-Müller Museum". Het Nieuwe Instituut. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  17. "Vilmos huszar De Stijl". MoMA. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  18. "AD Classics: Endless House / Friedrick Kiesler". ArchDaily. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  19. White, Michael (20 September 2003). De Stijl and Dutch Modernism. Manchester University Press. p. 134. ISBN   978-0-7190-6162-2.
  20. Hauffe, Thomas (1998). Design (Reprinted ed.). London: Laurence King. p. 71. ISBN   9781856691345. OCLC   40406039.
  21. Gottfried, Schlütersche Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG. "Spaces for the Permanent Collection - sprengel-museum.com". www.sprengel-museum.com. Hannover.
  22. White, Michael (20 September 2003). De Stijl and Dutch Modernism. Manchester University Press. p. 36. ISBN   978-0-7190-6162-2.
Sources

Further reading

Related Research Articles

Gerrit Rietveld Dutch furniture designer and architect

Gerrit Thomas Rietveld was a Dutch furniture designer and architect. One of the principal members of the Dutch artistic movement called De Stijl, Rietveld is famous for his Red and Blue Chair and for the Rietveld Schröder House, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Doesburg Municipality in Gelderland, Netherlands

Doesburg is a municipality and a city in the eastern Netherlands in the province of Gelderland. Doesburg received city rights in 1237 and had a population of 11,148 in 2019. The city is situated on the right bank of river IJssel, at the confluence of river Oude IJssel. The municipality of Doesburg is part of the Arnhem-Nijmegen agglomeration region.

Theo van Doesburg

Theo van Doesburg was a Dutch artist, who practiced painting, writing, poetry and architecture. He is best known as the founder and leader of De Stijl. He was married to artist, pianist and choreographer Nelly van Doesburg.

Neoplasticism is an art theory that arose in 1917 around the De Stijl journal. The main representatives of the new image are the artists Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondriaan. They set themselves the goal of purifying the art from elements that they thought did not belong there and tried to determine and apply the elementary principles of each art form through rational means. Mondrian remained faithful to the new art theory until his death in 1944. Van Doesburg switched to elementarism in 1924.

Jan Wils Dutch architect

Jan Wils was a Dutch architect. He was born in Alkmaar and died in Voorburg.

Amsterdam School

The Amsterdam School is a style of architecture that arose from 1910 through about 1930 in the Netherlands. The Amsterdam School movement is part of international Expressionist architecture, sometimes linked to German Brick Expressionism.

Jacobus Oud

Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud, commonly called J. J. P. Oud was a Dutch architect. His fame began as a follower of the De Stijl movement.

Vilmos Huszár

Vilmos Huszár (1884–1960) was a Hungarian painter and designer. He lived in The Netherlands, where he was one of the founder members of the art movement De Stijl.

Bart van der Leck

Bart van der Leck was a Dutch painter, designer, and ceramicist. With Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian he founded the De Stijl art movement.

Piet Mondrian Dutch painter

Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan, after 1906 Piet Mondrian, was a Dutch painter and art theoretician who is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. He is known for being one of the pioneers of 20th-century abstract art, as he changed his artistic direction from figurative painting to an increasingly abstract style, until he reached a point where his artistic vocabulary was reduced to simple geometric elements.

International Typographic Style 20th century European graphic design style

The International Typographic Style, also known as the Swiss Style, is a graphic design style that emerged in Russia, the Netherlands, and Germany in the 1920s and was further developed by designers in Switzerland during the 1950s. The International Typographic Style has had profound influence on graphic design as a part of the modernist movement, impacting many design-related fields including architecture and art. It emphasizes cleanness, readability, and objectivity. Hallmarks of the style are asymmetric layouts, use of a grid, sans-serif typefaces like Akzidenz Grotesk, and flush left, ragged right text. The style is also associated with a preference for photography in place of illustrations or drawings. Many of the early International Typographic Style works featured typography as a primary design element in addition to its use in text, and it is for this that the style is named. The influences of this graphic movement can still be seen in design strategy and theory to this day.

Modern furniture

Modern furniture refers to furniture produced from the late 19th century through the present that is influenced by modernism. Post-World War II ideals of cutting excess, commodification, and practicality of materials in design heavily influenced the aesthetic of the furniture. It was a tremendous departure from all furniture design that had gone before it. There was an opposition to the decorative arts, which included Art Nouveau, Neoclassical, and Victorian styles. Dark or gilded carved wood and richly patterned fabrics gave way to the glittering simplicity and geometry of polished metal. The forms of furniture evolved from visually heavy to visually light. This shift from decorative to minimalist principles of design can be attributed to the introduction of new technology, changes in philosophy, and the influences of the principles of architecture. As Philip Johnson, the founder of the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art articulates:

"Today industrial design is functionally motivated and follows the same principles as modern architecture: machine-like simplicity, smoothness of surface, avoidance of ornament ... It is perhaps the most fundamental contrast between the two periods of design that in 1900 the Decorative Arts possessed ..."

Concrete art was an art movement with a strong emphasis on geometrical abstraction. The term was first formulated by Theo van Doesburg and was then used by him in 1930 to define the difference between his vision of art and that of other abstract artists of the time. After his death in 1931, the term was further defined and popularized by Max Bill, who organized the first international exhibition in 1944 and went on to help promote the style in Latin America. The term was taken up widely after World War 2 and promoted through a number of international exhibitions and art movements.

Til Brugman Dutch author, poet and linguist

Mathilda (Til) Brugman was a Dutch author, poet and linguist.

Robert van 't Hoff, born Robbert van 't Hoff, was a Dutch architect and furniture designer. His Villa Henny, designed in 1914, was one of the earliest modernist houses and one of the first to be built out of reinforced concrete. From 1917 he was an influential member of the De Stijl movement.

Nieuwe Zakelijkheid

Nieuwe Zakelijkheid, translated as New Objectivity or New Pragmatism, is a Dutch period of modernist architecture that started in the 1920s and continued into the 1930s. The term is also used to denote a (brief) period in art and literature. Related to and descended from the German movement Neue Sachlichkeit, Nieuwe Zakelijkheid is characterized by angular shapes and designs that are generally free of ornamentation and decoration. The architecture is based on functional considerations and often included open layouts that allowed spaces to be used with flexibility. Sliding doors were included in some of the designs.

Nelly van Doesburg

Nelly van Doesburg was a Dutch avant-garde (dada) musician, dancer and artist. As a painter, she used the pseudonym Cupera.

Haagse Kunstkring

The Haagse Kunstkring is an association in The Hague for artists and art lovers. Among the members are visual artists, architects, writers, recitation artists, photographers, musicians and designers.

<i>Composition with Red Blue and Yellow</i> Painting by Piet Mondrian

Composition II with Red Blue and Yellow is a 1930 painting by Piet Mondrian. A well-known work of art, Mondrian contributes to the abstract visual language in a large way despite using a relatively small canvas. Thick, black brushwork defines the borders of the different geometric figures. Comparably, the black brushwork on the canvas is minimal but it is masterfully applied to become one of the defining features of the work.

Hubrecht (Huib) Hoste was a Belgian architect, designer and urban planner. He is considered the pioneer of modern architecture in Belgium.