De Stijl / Neoplasticism (1917-1942)

De Stijl , also known as Neoplasticism,  was a Dutch artistic movement founded in 1917 developed by the Dutch painters, designers, writers, and critics Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian. It took its name from the Journal ‘De Stijl: Maandblad voor de moderne beeldende vakken [en kultuur]’ edited and published by Doesburg to propagate the group’s theories.

De Stijl 1:1 (October 1917)
De Stijl 1:1 (October 1917)

Image source: https://monoskop.org/De_Stijl


 

De Stijl / Neoplasticism- Characteristics

It described Mondrian’s vision of a ‘New Art’, of an ideal, pure form of art and design, which he felt the post-war circumstances demanded.


Mondrian’s new art was based upon fundamental principles:

  • Only geometric shapes may be used; ignore natural form and colour.
    • Main compositional elements to be straight lines or rectangular areas.
    • Surfaces should be rectangular planes or prisms.
    • No curves, no diagonals, no circles.
    • Choose only primary colours (red, blue, yellow), plus black, grey and white.
    • No symmetry: instead, strive for strong asymmetry
    • Balance is attained by relationships between geometrical motifs.
    • In addition, bold colours should balance bold direct lines.
  • The use of non-objective art, based on fundamental structural elements – in particular, horizontal and vertical lines – together with his own intuition, he intended to create a form of art, as strong as it was true.
  • structured abstraction, in accordance with Mondrian’s view that vertical and horizontal patterns were inherently harmonious.

Info source: http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/history-of-art/neo-plasticism.htm

Piet Mondrian - Composition-c
Piet Mondrian – Composition-c

Image source: http://www.piet-mondrian.org/

De Stijil- Architecture

 Mies van der Rohe (1886 – 1969) was a German-American architect, known as one of the pioneers of modernist architecture. He designed the Rietveld Schröder House, the only building to have been created completely according to De Stijl principles.

Rietveld Schröder House
Rietveld Schröder House

The two-story house is situated in Utrecht and it faces a motorway built in the 1960s. Inside there is no static accumulation of rooms, but a dynamic, changeable open zone. The ground floor can still be termed traditional; ranged around a central staircase are kitchen and three sit/bedrooms.

The facades are a collage of planes and lines whose components are purposely detached from, and seem to glide past, one another. This enabled the provision of several balconies. Colours were chosen as to strengthen the plasticity of the facades; surfaces in white and shades of grey, black window and doorframes, and a number of linear elements in primary colours.

Info and image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rietveld_Schr%C3%B6der_House

 

Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud(1890–1963) was a Dutch architect.  Between 1918 and 1933, Oud became Municipal Housing Architect for Rotterdam. During this period when many laborers were coming to the city, he mostly worked on socially progressive residential projects. This included projects in the areas of Spangen, Kiefhoek and the Witte Dorp.

Info source: https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobus_Johannes_Pieter_Oud

 

De Stijil-Furniture

  • Nature was eradicated from the final design. This can be seen in Gerrit Rietveld’s ‘Red Blue’ chair (1917-1918), which represents the De Stijl criteria, for product design. The chair was originally left with a natural wood finish, but was later finished according to the strict De Stijl colour criteria.

Info source: http://www.technologystudent.com/prddes_2/de_stijl1.html

‘Red Blue’ chair (1917-1918
Red Blue chair (1917-1918)

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_and_Blue_Chair

 

De Stijil-artists

Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) was one of the major exponent of the Dutch abstract art movement known as De Stijl (“The Style”). In his mature paintings, Mondrian used the simplest combinations of straight lines, right angles, primary colours, and black, white, and gray. The resulting works possess an extreme formal purity that embodies the artist’s spiritual belief in a harmonious cosmos.

Composition with Gray, Red, Yellow, and Black (c. 1920–26)
Composition with Gray, Red, Yellow, and Black (c. 1920–26)

Image source: http://www.piet-mondrian.org/composition-with-large-red-plane-yellow-black-gray-and-blue.jsp

Theo van Doesburg, pseudonym of Christian Emil Marie Küpper (1883-1931)was a Dutch painter, decorator, poet, and art theorist who was a leader of the De Stijl movement.  His paintings, with their strict use of vertical and horizontal shapes and primary colours, closely resembled Mondrian’s until about 1920.

Info source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Theo-van-Doesburg

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