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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....

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(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...

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Allan Doig

Term coined by Theo van Doesburg and applied to painting and architecture to describe the constructive use of line, plane, volume and colour not only as the primary means of art but as an end in itself. In his article, ‘L’Elémentarisme et son origine’, he stated that the movement had been born in Holland in 1924 via the De stijl group. He then listed Elementarist contributors to the arts: ‘Georges Antheil in music, César Domela, Vordemberge-Gildewart and the author of this article (the founder of the movement) in painting, Constantin Brancusi in sculpture, Mies van der Rohe, van Eesteren, Rietveld and the author in architecture, I. K. Bonset [one of van Doesburg’s pseudonyms] in literature, Friederich Kiesler in the rejuvenation of the theatre’. The term is intimately related to the notion of abstraction and has roots extending back as far as Plato’s Philebus. In its broader definition it can provide an insight into the development of abstraction. As early as ...

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

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

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 ...