De Stijl

De Stijl (also known as Neoplasticism) 1917-1931

Putting on de Stijl 1979 Richard Hamilton 1922-2011 Presented by Klaus Anschel in memory of his wife Gerty 2008


Unlike in Russia or most of Europe, avant garde artists in neutral Holland were able to work uninterrupted during WW1, and organised themselves under the banner de Stijl.  They wanted to propose an antidote to the destruction and chaos from the war.  All emotion was to be stripped away, leaving only neutral geometric abstraction.  The intention was to lead the public along the path of truth and purity.


Piet Mondrian

Piet Mondrian

Theo_van_Doesburg_-_Composition_with_window_with_coloured_glass_IIIKey figures were Theodore van Doesburg, Gerrit Rietveld, and Piet Mondrian.  Mondrian based most of his work on an evolution from cubism, arriving at a pure abstraction of only lines and rectangles, using primary colours and black and white.  Van Doesburg advocated the use of diagonal lines for dynamic tension, thus angering Mondrian who quit the group in protest.


Frank Stella

Frank Stella

With the death of van Doesburg in 1931 the group lost focus, and folded.  A pared down de Stijl aesthetic influenced many subsequent artists and designers of the twentieth century, among then Mark Rothko, Frank Stella, and minimalists Donald Judd and Dan Flavin.


Today de Stijl is still considered one of the most effective avant-garde movements, leaving a deep impact on graphic design for decades.



De stijl. 2016. De stijl. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 20 January 2016].

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