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Dutch, 20th century, male.

Born 30 August 1883, in Utrecht, to a German father; died 7 March 1931, in Davos, Switzerland.

Painter, architect.

Neo-Plasticism.

Groups: Sphinx, De Stijl, Dada, Art Concret.

Theo van Doesburg was destined first of all for a theatrical career, writing poetry, stories and plays, and then beginning as an essayist and getting articles published. He probably began painting about ...

Article

Allan Doig

(b Utrecht, Aug 30, 1883; d Davos, Switzerland, March 7, 1931).

Dutch painter, architect, designer and writer. He was officially registered as the son of Wilhelm Küpper and Henrietta Catharina Margadant, but he was so convinced that his mother’s second husband, Theodorus Doesburg, was his father that he took his name. Little is known of his early life, but he began painting naturalistic subjects c. 1899. In 1903 he began his military service, and around the same time he met his first wife, Agnita Feis, a Theosophist and poet. Between about 1908 and 1910, much influenced by the work of Honoré Daumier, he produced caricatures, some of which were later published in his first book De maskers af! (1916). Also during this period he painted some Impressionist-inspired landscapes and portraits in the manner of George Hendrik Breitner. Between 1914 and 1915 the influence of Kandinsky became clear in such drawings as Streetmusic I and Streetmusic II (The Hague, Rijksdienst Beeld. Kst) and other abstract works....

Article

(b Kinderdijk, Alblasserdam, July 4, 1897; d Feb 21, 1988).

Dutch architect, urban planner, writer and teacher. Born into a family of building contractors, he was apprenticed to a firm of builders and carpenters in Dordrecht (1912–14) and then worked for Willem Kromhout in Rotterdam before studying architecture at the Academie van Beeldende Kunsten, Rotterdam (1915–17). He obtained his diploma in 1917 and continued his studies at the Academie van Bouwkunst, Amsterdam (1919–22). In 1922 he won the prestigious Prix de Rome with a design (unexecuted) for the Royal Netherlands Academy of Science building, which was clearly inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. The scholarship specified a study of traditional North German brick building but van Eesteren spent most of the year visiting the Bauhaus and various architects’ offices in Germany and Sweden, including those of Walter Gropius, Adolf Behne (b 1885), Hans Richter and László Moholy-Nagy. Behne introduced him to Theo van Doesburg...

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Active in the USA.

Born 1901, in Wuppertal (Ruhr); died 1964 or 1978, in Blacksburg, USA.

Painter, photographer, designer.

Neo-Plasticism.

De Stijl, Novembergruppe, New Vision Photography..

Photobooks.

Werner Gräff was a student of Johannes Itten at the Bauhaus in Weimar between ...

Article

Eveline Vermeulen

(b Rotterdam, Nov 5, 1887; d New Milton, Hants, April 25, 1979).

Dutch architect and designer. He studied from 1906 to 1911 at the Birmingham School of Art, where he was influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement, the Glasgow school and the theories of W. R. Lethaby. He then studied (1911–14) at the Architectural Association in London, where he met David Bomberg and became acquainted with the Futurist and Vorticist avant-garde. His first executed designs—Løvdalla (1911), Huis ter Heide, near Utrecht, and Augustus John’s house (1913–14), Chelsea, London—show a predilection for varied façades and simple floor-plans; details are executed with great care. In 1914 he went to the USA to study the architecture and theories of Frank Lloyd Wright. The summer-house for J. N. Verloop (1914) and the country villa for A. B. Henny (1915–19), both at Huis ter Heide, reflect his admiration for Wright, and the latter, nicknamed the ‘Concrete villa’ for its inventive use of concrete-frame construction, established van ’t Hoff’s reputation. The house was adopted, first by the architects associated with ...

Article

Hungarian, 20th century, male.

Active in the Netherlands from 1905.

Born 1884, in Budapest; died 1960, in Hierden.

Painter. Figures, landscapes, still-lifes.

Neo-Plasticism.

De Stijl.

Vilmos Huszar studied at the school of applied art in Budapest and at the Hollósy studio in Munich. Shortly after his arrival in the Netherlands in ...

Article

Sjarel Ex

(b Budapest, Jan 5, 1884; d Hierden, nr Harderwijk, Sept 8, 1960).

Hungarian painter, decorative artist, typographer and writer, active in the Netherlands. He studied at the Academy of Applied Arts in Budapest from 1901 to 1903, and then at the academy in Munich (1904). For a short period he was a member of the artists’ colonies of Tecsö and Nagybánya in Hungary, before moving to The Hague in 1906 as a portrait painter to the local aristocracy. Huszár’s interest in the work of van Gogh and in modern developments in Paris and London gradually led him from portraits and landscapes in bright colours, such as Reclining Female (1913; Otterlo, Kröller-Müller), to an abstract style in painting and stained glass influenced by Cubism and Futurism; an example of this is Vincent (1915; Amsterdam, J. P. Smid priv. col.)

In 1916 Huszár met Theo van Doesburg, who admired his work and was influenced by his stained-glass windows. In 1917...

Article

Leland M. Roth and Gordon Campbell

(John)

(b Vienna, Sept 22, 1890; d New York, Dec 27, 1965).

American architect, stage designer, furniture designer and writer of Austrian birth. In 1920 he worked with Adolf Loos in Vienna. He was also in contact with the artists associated with De Stijl and began experimenting with innovative theatre designs. In 1924 he produced the Endless Theatre design. The ‘Endless’ was a double-curved shell of reinforced concrete that could enclose any irregularly traditional divisions into floor, wall, and ceiling but offered the inhabitant an open interior that could be modified at will. For the theatre he adapted the ‘Endless’ by devising a double-spiral stage interconnected by ramps and rings of spectator seats. Kiesler believed that the Endless Theatre, without proscenium or curtain, projecting out into the audience, with perpetually moving walls bathed in light of ever changing colour, would promote greater interaction between actors and audience.

For the celebrated Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in 1925...

Article

Dutch, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 26 November 1876, in Utrecht; died 1958, in Blaricum-Amsterdam.

Painter, potter, lithographer. Murals, designs for stained glass.

Groups: De Stijl, Abstraction-Création.

Bart van der Leck started out working for various glassmakers in his native Utrecht before going on to attend the college of industrial arts (where he studied under A.J. van der Kinderen) and then the royal academy of fine arts in Amsterdam. He lived in Amersfoort ...

Article

John Steen

[Louise Marie]

(b Amsterdam, May 3, 1894; d Blaricum, Feb 1, 1983).

Dutch painter. She trained at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam (1915–18). She discovered Cubism, especially that of Albert Gleizes, the work of De Stijl and of Le Corbusier in 1919. During 1920–21 the form in her work became more rigid and the colour more sober. She came into contact with works by Piet Mondrian in the Salomon Bernard Slijper (1884–1971) collection (now at the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague), in particular Evolution (1910–11) and Red Windmill (1910). In 1927 she travelled to the Bauhaus at Dessau and to Berlin. She favoured subjects taken from industry and technology and stylized reality using the diagonal, as well as the horizontal and vertical line. A link with visible reality was maintained, however.

‘Herinneringen door Lou Loeber’ [Lou Loeber’s memories], Centraal Museum Utrecht mededelingen, 28–9 (1980) [incl. bibliog.] Lou Loeber: Utopie en werkelijkheid (exh. cat.by M. Bloemheuvel; Laren, Singer Mus., 1993)...

Article

John Steen

[Dut.: ‘Modern art circle’]

Group of Dutch artists founded in November 1910 on the initiative of John Conrad Theodor Kickert (1882–1965), a Dutch painter and critic, who had moved to Paris in 1909. The objective was to convey to the Netherlands the latest developments in painting in Paris. Its members included a large number of Dutch painters who either had connections with Paris or lived there. Kickert financed the venture. The first exhibition was held between 6 October and 5 November 1911 at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. It was a great success, attracting 6000 visitors. Of the 166 works shown, half came from abroad. As ‘father of Cubism’, Paul Cézanne was well represented by 28 works from the Hoogendijk collection; also exhibited were 19 works by Auguste Herbin, 7 by Pablo Picasso and 6 by Georges Braque. The Paris-based painter Lodewijk Schelfhout (1881–1943), one of the first Dutch artists to paint in a Cubist style, submitted 12 works; other Dutch artists, such as ...

Article

Dutch, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 7 March 1872, in Amersfoort (Utrecht), The Netherlands; died 1 February 1944, in New York (New York), United States.

Painter.

Neo-Plasticism.

De Stijl.

Piet Cornelis Mondrian was born into a strict Calvinist family. His father, the headmaster of a primary school in Amersfoort, insisted that his son secure his future by obtaining a degree in education. Mondrian complied with his father’s wishes and obtained formal qualifications enabling him to teach drawing and composition at secondary-school level. In 1892, however, Mondrian enrolled at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam, where he is recorded as having been a diligent student. In order to earn some money, Mondrian gave drawing lessons in his spare time, sold copies of paintings that hung in local art galleries, and produced industrial blueprints. He maintained a close relationship with Jan Sluijters and Simon Maris, accompanying the latter on a trip to Spain in 1901....

Article

(b Amersfoort, March 7, 1872; d New York, Feb 1, 1944).

Dutch painter, theorist, and draughtsman. His work marks the transition at the start of the 20th century from the Hague school and Symbolism to Neo-Impressionism and Cubism. His key position within the international avant-garde is determined by works produced after 1920. He set out his theory in the periodical of Stijl, De, in a series of articles that were summarized in a separate booklet published in Paris in 1920 under the title Le Néo-plasticisme (see Neo-plasticism) by Léonce Rosenberg. The essence of Mondrian’s ideas is that painting, composed of the most fundamental aspects of line and colour, must set an example to the other arts for achieving a society in which art as such has no place but belongs instead to the total realization of ‘beauty’. The representation of the universal, dynamic pulse of life, also expressed in modern jazz and the metropolis, was Mondrian’s point of departure. Even in his lifetime he was regarded as the founder of the most ...

Article

H. Henkels

[Dut. ‘new imagery’]

Term used by Piet (er Cornelis) Mondrian and other artists associated with Stijl, De in the 1910s and 1920s. The search for the ‘new imagery’ was characterized by the use of the most basic elements of image-making: straight lines (horizontal and vertical), the primary colours, and rectangular forms. The theosophist M. H. J. Schoenmaekers also used the term in writing about his central concepts in Het nieuwe wereldbeeld (‘New world image’; 1915) and Beeldende wiskunde (‘Visual mathematics’; 1916). The two uses of nieuwe beelding are not, however, related.

I. Rike: Mondriaan’s ‘Nieuwe Beelding’ in English (Amsterdam, 1991) N. H. M. Tummers, H. Jager, and H. Matthes: ‘Het beelden denken’: Leven en werk van Mathieu Schoenmaekers [‘Plastic thinking’: the life and work of Mathieu Schoenmaekers] (Baarn, 1992) ASB: architectuur, schilderkunst, beeldhouwkunst: nieuwe beelding en Nieuwezakelijkheid, 1926–1930 (exh. cat., ed. Y. Koopmans; Arnhem, Museum voor Moderne Kunst, 2004) Modernisme: L’art abstrait belge et l’Europe...

Article

Eveline Vermeulen

(b Purmerend, Feb 9, 1890; d Wassenaar, April 5, 1963).

Dutch architect and urban planner. He studied architecture at the Kunstnijverheidsschool Quellinus (1903–6) and at the Rijksnormaalschool voor Tekenonderwijzers (1908–10), both in Amsterdam, and at the Technische Universiteit in Delft. From 1906 to 1908 he was apprenticed to Joseph Cuypers and Jan Stuyt, and to Theodor Fischer in Munich in 1911–12. His first design to be built was the Woonhuis Hartog-Oud, a row house in Purmerend, completed in 1906. In 1913 he established an independent practice in Purmerend, which he moved to Leiden c. 1914. There he worked with W. M. Dudok on a small workers’ housing complex (1916) in Leiderdorp; he had already addressed the issues of mass housing in small commissions of his own.

Oud met Theo van Doesburg c. 1915, and although he was not a signatory of the manifesto of De Stijl, he was closely associated with the group. He wrote several articles for the magazine ...

Article

Marijke Küper

(Thomas)

(b Utrecht, June 24, 1888; d Utrecht, June 25, 1964).

Dutch architect and furniture designer. He started work in his father’s furniture workshop at the age of 12, and then from 1906 to 1911 he worked as a draughtsman for C. J. Begeer, a jeweller in Utrecht. During 1904–8 he took evening classes in drawing and the study of ornamentation at the Kunstindustrieel Onderwijs der Vereeniging of the Museum van Kunstnijverheid in Utrecht. His interests nevertheless extended further than the applied arts. Around 1906 he attended classes given by the architect P. J. C. Klaarhamer (1874–1954), a like-minded contemporary of H. P. Berlage. This contact with Klaarhamer, who at that time shared a studio with Bart van der Leck, was of great importance for Rietveld’s development, for it was through them that he learnt of recent national and international trends in architecture and the applied arts.

In 1917 Rietveld set up a furniture workshop in Utrecht; the following year ...

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Active from 1937 to 1954 active then naturalised in the Netherlands.

Born 1897 or 1899, in Osnabrück (Westphalia); died 1963, in Ulm.

Painter, collage artist.

Groups: 'K', De Stijl, Der Sturm, Cercle et Carré, Abstraction-Création.

Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart studied interior design and architecture in ...

Article

Sjarel Ex

(b Zaandijk, May 28, 1885; d Wassenaar, Sept 27, 1977).

Dutch designer and typographer . After working in the tradition of the Arts and Crafts Movement, he came into contact in 1917 with De Stijl, which fundamentally changed the course of his work. Through Vilmos Huszár and Jan Wils, he met H. P. Berlage, for whom he worked as a draughtsman, and international artists working in typographic design, such as Kurt Schwitters, El Lissitsky and Jan Tschichold. His international importance is based on typographical works, such as those he made between 1923 and 1930 for NKF, the Dutch cable works, and for PTT, the Dutch postal service. His advertisements, inspired by Dada, often used a wide range of typography and could be read as messages, poems or advertising slogans, while being appreciated simply as designs. Zwart was also active as an interior designer; his most successful work in this field was the kitchen (1938) that he designed for the ...