What was modern about De Stijl?

Essay by artygirl2006University, Bachelor'sC-, March 2006

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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...