100 Years of De Stijl Holland in Red, Yellow and Blue
12 April, 2017
De Stijl,one of the major avant-garde movements of the 20th century, is celebrating its anniversary. No less than a hundred years have passed since Theo van Doesburg published the first issue of the magazine, De Stijl,after which this unique movement would eventually be named. Conceptualising art as all-embracing, dominated by geometry and the use of primary colours, the artists Piet Mondrian, Bart van der Leck, Gerrit Rietveld, Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud, Vilmos Huszár, Cornelis van Eesteren, Antony Kok and Theo van Doesburg were instrumental in changing the course of the visual arts. As the cradle of this art style, Holland is gearing up to celebrate this event on a grand scale, with exhibitions, special itineraries, reviews and tributes to contemporary artists.
First Stop – The Hague
A first, essential stopover for this celebration is The Hague, just over a half-an-hour’s train ride from Amsterdam. There you can visit the Gemeentemuseum, which has the world’s largest collection of Mondrian’s works, boasting over 300 exhibits. To mark the centenary of De Stijl, they have organised Mondrian to Dutch Design. 100 years of De Stijl, an annual cycle comprising three exhibitions revolving around the figure of Mondrian and the De Stijl movement.
While you’re in The Hague, be sure to visit the City Hall, designed by architect Richard Meier, the walls of which are used as a huge canvas for displaying Mondrian’s popular grids, filled in with the most emblematic colours of the De Stijl – yellow, blue and red.
Celebrating De Stijl Architecture in Utrecht
Utrecht houses one of the leading icons of the De Stijl movement, the Rietveld Schröder House. Regarded as Rietveld’s crowning achievement and built in 1924, its design adheres to the movement’s tenets, dominated by planes and lines to form flexible spaces. This was highly innovative at the time and the house also features a generous dose of primary colours in its decoration. It is currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is part of Utrecht’s Centraal Museum collection. Incidentally, the latter is hosting an exhibition, lasting until 11 June, entitled Rietveld’s Masterpiece; Long live De Stijl! dedicated to Rietveld’s career, as well as his links to other artists in the movement such as Bart van der Leck, Theo van Doesburg and Willem van Leusden.
Leiden and Drachten – Spotlighting Theo van Doesburg, the Founder of De Stijl
Another two stopovers on our centenary route of the De Stijl are Leiden and Drachten. Leiden was where Theo van Doesburg published his first issue of the magazine, De Stijl, leading to the birth of the new movement. Here, from 2 June to 27 September, you can visit the exhibition, Open-Air Museum de Lakenhal, featuring a prototype of “Maison d’Artiste”, the work of Theo van Doesburg and Cor van Eesteren.
In Drachten, one of the houses in the so-called Parrot District, designed by Theo van Doesburg, will be open to the public during the second half of 2017.
In addition to visiting The Hague, where, as mentioned earlier, one of the largest collections of the artist is on display, those wishing to find out more about one of the leading figures of the De Stijl movement should also see Mondrian’s house of birth, located in Amersfoort, as well as head for Winterswijk, where Mondrian lived from the age of 8 to 20, which also features what is known as the Villa Mondrian.
Book your Vueling to Amsterdam and join in the celebration of the centenary of the De Stijl.
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS
12 April, 2017