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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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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 ...