De Stijl

The De Stijl, literally translated as “the style” was an art movement founded by architect by architect and painter Theo van Deosburg in 1917 in Leiden. Other founders of the group included the sculptor Vantongerloo, architect JJP Oud, designer Rietveld, and the painter Mondrian. The group was intent on finding a new aesthetic of art and principles. The movement spread through town planning, fine arts, applied arts and philosophy. The De Stijl movement also published a magazine between 1917 and 1932 and provided and overview of the movement’s works and theories. In the magazine Mondrian comments that the “pure plastic vision should build a new society, in the same way that in art it has built a new plasticism”. Artists of the De Stijl movement saw art as a collective approach, and as a language that went beyond culture, geography and politics. The artwork created by the De Stijl movement artists gave off a depersonalized, anonymous feel. It was felt that the artist’s personality should take a back seat in the artwork. The key to creating art within the movement’s views was to follow the theory of scaling down formal components of art – using only primary colors and straight lines. A painting was created from the features on the surface and many De Stijl paintings convey elements of nature – expressed abstractly. Mondrian followed the principles of new-plasticism whereas Van Doesburg attempted to broaden the movement’s research projects in architechture – he wanted to recreate the entire living space within a home. De Stijl paintings usually represented parts of larger spaces like interiors spaces within houses. De Stijl forms were often geometric, and made up of primary colors. The main views of the De Stijl movement greatly influenced the Bauhaus movement in Germany in the 1920’s.