Synopses & Reviews
What was De Stijl? This fascinating survey, the most comprehensive book to be published on the subject, seeks to unravel that question and to consider how the theory of De Stijl (Dutch for "The Style") matched its actual practice. There are various answers: De Stijl was a magazine; De Stijl was an art movement; and De Stijl was an idea, a world view, and an approach to life. And from the 1930s onwards, De Stijl was recognized internationally as the most important contribution to modern culture made by The Netherlands. It is associated with such instantly recognizable objects as the radical geometric abstract paintings of Piet Mondrian, with their perpendicular relationships and primary colors; the dynamic architectural drawings of Theo van Doesburg, which explode the conventional box-like structure of a building and show it as interpenetrating spaces unfolding in time; and the experimental furniture of Gerrit Rietveld, who took the most familiar of objects, the armchair, and reconfigured it as a series of self-supporting planks and struts. In each case, the artists, architects and designers seem to have had a common aspiration to work together to forge a new cultural consensus and "style" for the modern age. In The Story of De Stijl, which draws extensively on original sources, the authors challenge the understanding of De Stijl as a coherent movement, presenting a series of "scenes" focused on crucial turning points in the history of De Stijl and bringing to the foreground the key relationships and interactions that brought De Stijl to life. It is profusely illustrated with a range of images, many previously unseen, from artworks and buildings to photographs, letters, and documents, that, along with anecdotes, articles, and even footnotes combine to convey the texture of the world De Stijl emerged from. This accessible yet authoritative account is set to become the standard reference work on an important and fascinating modern movement.
"Dutch for 'The Style,' the De Stijl movement (also chronicled in a journal of the same name) aspired to lofty utopian ideals and was most closely associated with writer, painter, and designer Theo Van Doesburg, who tirelessly promoted the concept and often acted as self-appointed caretaker of style in all its forms. Here, Dutch modern art curator Janssen (coauthor, Mondrian De Stijl) and University of York senior lecturer White (De Stijl and Dutch Modernism) attempt to tie together the threads of art, architecture, and fashion that were inspired by the movement. Attractively packaged, the book offers a loose timeline of the evolution of De Stijl, accompanied by short profiles of key contributors, such as Piet Mondrian, J.J.P. Oud, and Piet Zwart, as well as showcasing a generous number of images of their iconic work. Readers may be surprised at how the movement affected areas as diverse as kitchen design and urban planning, in addition to the sheer number of artists influenced by the concept. Despite often suffering from stilted and technical prose, this beautifully arranged volume will appeal to students of the movement and armchair art historians alike. Photos and illus. (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In the early 1920s, a group of artists and architects, influenced by some of the ideas of Dada, formed a movement called De Stijl. The Story of De Stijl presents work by Piet Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg, Gerrit Rietveld, and the other members of this influential modern art group, as well as archival photographs of the artists. The authors, experts in this seminal abstract style that encompassed painting, sculpture, architecture, interior design, and more, explore the evolution of the movement not just through traditional art-history analysis, but also through anecdotes, conversations, articles, and other contemporary sources.
About the Author
is a curator at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, in The Hague, Netherlands. He has published many books on Modernist painting, especially on Mondrian. Michael White
has edited and written a number of books on De Stijl and Dutch modernism. He teaches at the University of York in England.