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What Was Modern About De Stijl?

2088 words - 8 pages

De Stijl was the name of a magazine established in 1917 by the Dutch painter, designer and writer, Theo van Doesburg. In Dutch the phrase 'De Stijl' translates into 'The Style'. The style of art is called Neo- Platicism. Those who were associated with De Stijl showed its distinctive style in their work, which was 'rectangularity and the use of pure colour, the absence of decoration, a belief in abstraction and a humanism that rejected the natural for the man made'. The group included painters, architects, and sculptors such as Rietveld, Oud, van Eesteren, Mondrain, van der leck, Huszar and Vantongerloo. Many of those connected with De stijl met only briefly and some of the most significant artists like Rietveld and Mondrian never met at all. The first issue of 'De Stijl' was printed in October 1917. The title page was an interesting combination of bold layout and grotesque font contrasting with conventional typography. This announced the start of a new influence in the world of art. The first issue was a clear statement of the group's aesthetic intentions containing essays from Mondrian, Bart van der leck, Anthony Kok, Oud and comments by the editor Theo van Doesburg on a van der leck painting of 1917. 'De stijl was a style that evolved' and many changes took place between 1917 and 1931, when Theo van Doesburg died.Theo van Doesburg was the driving force of De Stijl and edited the magazine himself. Not many people could endure van doesburg's personality for too long and this often caused hostility in the group. 'De Stilj' was his idea so he liked to do things his way. When he first exhibited his work in 1908, his paintings were 'realistic in the way of nineteenth century dutch tradition' however in 1910 he started to develop a 'personal variation to fauvism'. In 1914 to 1916, van doesburg was called up for the First World War and served as a regiment on the Belgian border. During this time he couldn't paint so he began to read a lot and was particularly impressed by Kandinsky's ' The Spiritual in Art'. There are a few of van doesburg's early paintings which show the influence of the expressionist abstract paintings that Kandinsky was producing in Munich up until 1914.Piet Mondrian was the oldest in the group and came from Cubist influences and Impressionist influences. He believed the impressionists were expressing pure reality and showed the world, as it should be seen. He also felt that ' only the cubist's had discovered the right path' and for short time they influenced him.From 1912 to 1914 he began to develop an independent abstract approach to his paintings. During 1913 his paintings his compositions were made up of straight lines and few semicircular curves."Gradually I became aware that Cubism did not accept the logical consequences of its own discoveries, it was not developing abstraction towards the ultimate goal, the expression of pure reality.'In 1914, Mondrian returned to Holland from Paris ( where he had been living since 1911) to...

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