De-Stijl(The Style),also called " Neoplasticism" is recognizable by the use of straight horizontal and vertical lines as
well as the use of the primary colors red, yellow and blue. They also used the colors black, white and gray. It is a style
that went back to the fundamental elements of the art: color and form, level and line. With these elements the artist
developed new sculptural language and with that the placed the ideal world opposite the reality.
<Tab/>Most of the artists used closed and open forms, density and space, color and form. But using these
elements within one painting, the ideal harmony could be reached. All the elements have their own function in totality.
<Tab/>The lines are the borders and make the open or closed forms. The lines are also used to create a certain
space. The border of the painting is not the end of the painting. By using only the primary colors, the artist could create
a 3-dimensional effect. The colors attract immediate attention and the rest of the painting seems to go to the
background. It looks like the white forms are further back than the colored forms. Therefore, the artists created a front
and a back in their paintings.
The development of De Stijl
The De Stijl movement was started in Netherlands from 1917 to 1931. The founder, Theo van Doesburg started a
group which was an association of painter Piet Mondrian, Bart van der Leck, and Vilmos Huszar, the architect Jacobus
Johannes Pieter Oud, the poet and essayist Antony Kok and other artists. Theo van Doesburg applied De Stijl
principles to architecture, sculpture and typography. He edited and published the journal "De Stijl" from 1917 until his
death in 1931. This publication spread the movement's theory and philosophy to a large audience. De Stijl advocated
the absorption of pure art by applied art.
<Tab/>In the late 1910s, paintings by Mondrian, Burt van der Leck and van Doesburg were indistinguishable.
These artists used primary colors, red yellow and blue with black, gray and white, straight horizontal and vertical lines,
and flat planes limited to rectangles and squares. With their visual art form, De Stijl artists believed beauty arouse from
the absolute purity of the work. They explained how they aimed to bring about the purification of different fields of the
arts by searching for the most fundamental elements of each separate field of art and then uniting these elements in a
well-balanced relationship. Therefore, the content of their work then became universal harmony, the order that
pervades throughout the universe. This attitude was widespread during World War I.
One of the most important factors in the development of De Stijl was the neutrality of Holland during the First World
War. In 1929, Theo van Doesburg wrote" Though there was no war in our neutral Netherlands, yet the war outside
caused commotion and a spiritual tension...This war, raging at our borders, drove home many artists who had been
working abroad. Such as Van der Leck hurried home from a trip to Morocco, and Mondrian, who had come from Paris
to visit his ill father, was forced to remain in Holland for the duration of the war..."
At that time it was very confused in Holland. The people wanted peace, rest and harmony again. The members of
De-stijl tried to reflect in their work what in the entire social development could not be achieved, "the Ideal Harmony".
In 1932, Mondrian wrote" It was a painful time, the time of the Great War, in Holland as well...In spite of everything,
in Holland there still existed the possibility of being preoccupied with purely ethical questions. Thus art continued
there, developed there and what is particularly remarkable, is that it was only possible for it to continue in the same
way as before the war. "
At this time only in neutral Switzerland (Dadaism) and revolutionary Russia (Suprematism and Constructivism) was
there a similar co-operative development. These three movements: De Stijl, Constructivism and Dadaism, were later
to come together and interact during the early 'twentieth-century art, architecture and design.
At the outbreak of war, during the period of military service, Theo van Doesburg started the idea of a group or
association of artists and architects and a periodical in which they could express their view. Here he met the poet and
essayist Antony Kok, who was to be one of the founder members of De Stijl. In 1915, van Doesburg had contacted
Oud and Mondrian, and they discussed the idea of a magazine. In the early 1917, van Doesburg visited Modrian and
van der Leck who were both living at Laren, near Amsterdam, and tried to earn their support--van Doesburg had for
some time been an admirer of Mondrian's work.
<Tab/>Modrian's main contribution to the development of De Stijl was the series of 'plus and minus' paintings
from 1914 to 1917. These are sometimes known also as 'pier and ocean' paintings because there inspired by the sea and
pier at Scheveningen.
Van Doesburg sees the expressive means of all the arts as relationships between positive and negative elements. In
music, sounds (positive) and silence (negative); in painting, colour (positive) and non-colour--black, white and
grey--(negative); in architecture, plane and mass (positive) and space (negative).
In 1917 the first issue of the magazine "De-stijl" was published. The idea for this magazine came from Theo van
Doesburg. It was meant for explaining his own work as well as the work of the other members of the alliance. For them
the magazine was an instrument to discuss new modern art to spread their own ideas. During the years when De Stijl
was published, there was not one signal exhibition in which all the members participated. All the members of De Stijl
kept in touch mainly by mail, and mainly through van Doesburg, who is a sole editor for this magazine. Therefore, the
artists of De Stijl knew one another's work and ideas From De Stijl.
In 1919, both van Doesburg and Mondrian began to divide their canvases into small squares which were then used as
the modules for asymmetric compositions. In 1920, Mondrian adopted a rather freer style of arranging flat rectangles
of subdued primary colour and grays, whereas van Doesburg continued with his modular compositions until his
introduction of the diagonal around 1924.
Around 1922, several artists of De Stijl had already withdrawn, mostly after difficulties with van Doesburg. In 1922,
there was a split in the inner circle of De Stijl, between van Doesburg and Oud. In the same year, the differences
between van Doesburg and Mondrian that were to lead Mondrian's resignation surfaced for the first time. Due to van
Doesburg developed his theory of elementary, which declared the diagonal to be a more dynamic compositional
principle than horizontal and vertical construction, Mondrian stopped contributing articles to the journal in 1924.
Therefore, a basic distinction can be made between De Stijl in the period before 1922.
De Stijl ended in 1931 when Theo van Doesburg started a new magazine, called "Abstraction-Creation". That is the
end of his membership of De Stijl, and the magazine "De Stijl" died as well. However, De Stijl, this new art style did
not end completely. In some way, the other artists continued carrying out the principles of De Stijl, but individually in
stead of as a group.
Piet Mondrian was born on 7 March, 1872, at Amersfoort, Holland. He showed an art talent at his early age, but his
parents expected him to prepare for a more conventional career than that of an artist. He met this requirement by
enrolling in a program leading to a degree in art education. In 1892, he taught drawing lessons for secondary
education. While he was giving these lessons, he attended evening-classes himself at the Rijksacademy in Amsterdam,
Holland. Mondrian painted a lot during this period. His work from this period is mostly naturalistic and
<Tab/>In his autobiographical essay of 1942 Mondrian acknowledges that he was strongly influenced by the
work of Picasso. In 1912, he moved to Paris, and from that time his paintings began to show the marks of the new
trend. The colour scale in his paintings is reduced to shades of yellow, ocher, and brown, with a few accents in blue or
green. His canvases of this "cubism" period are cubist abstractions. Modrian also reduced the diversity of natural
forms to a framework of pictorial signs.
<Tab/>Gradually the curved lines and the obtuse or acute angles disappear from his compositions, and all that is
left is a grid of horizontal and vertical lines, still broken here and there by a few diagonals. Slowly he subdues
simplifies his color spectrum as well; the intermediate tones, such as gray and brown vanish gradually. In 1918,
Mondrian no longer made up a composition from separate color planes against a solid background; now he divided the
canvas into compartments with a pattern of horizontal and vertical lines and filled the compartments with different
<Tab/>As a member of De Stijl, Mondrian started to write articles for the magazine. In these articles, Mondrian
tried to explain his ideas and principles about Neoplasticism, also the ideas and principles of De Stijl. He clearly
outlined the means and goals of Neoplasticism as below.
1.<Tab/>The plastic means must be the plane or rectangular prism in primary colors (red, blue and yellow) and
non-colour (white, black, and gray). In architecture, voids are equivalent to non-colour; solids can be considered
equivalent to colour.
2.<Tab/>The plastic means must be equivalent. Different in size and colour, they will nonetheless have the same
value. In general, equilibrium calls for a large surface of non-color or empty space and a relatively small surface of
colour or matter.
3.<Tab/>The oppositional duality in the plastic means is also required in the composition.
4.<Tab/>Constant equilibrium is attained through oppositional relationships and expressed in the straight line
(limit of the plastic means) in its principal (rectangular) opposition.
5.<Tab/>The equilibrium that neutralizes and annihilates the plastic means is created by the relationships of
proportion in which they are placed. These relationships create rhythm.
6.<Tab/>All symmetry will be excluded.
With this extremely limited arsenal of pictorial means, the painters of De Stijl aimed at presenting "the true vision of
reality": an image of reality that should be independent of the accidents momentary perception and likewise of the
arbitrariness of the individual temperament of the artist. The objectivity that Mondrian had sought for so long seemed
now to be within reach.
<Tab/>Mondrian spent all the years of his sojourn in Paris from 1919 to 1938 in perfecting this style. Every
painting he finished became the staring point for the next one. His pictures constantly grew purer and more radiant; the
harmony he expressed in them became ever simpler and more powerful. In 1925, Mondrian's lozenge-shaped
paintings appeared in answer to van Doesburg's attempt to use the diagonal. In the same year, because of van
Doesburg's "deviation" from the principles of De Stijl, Mondrian left the group, but remained faithful to his own style.
<Tab/>Mondrian moved to America in 1940, in his sixty-eight year, that his art once more underwent a renewal.
In the late works in New York, the black lines are replaced by colored bands or by a rhythmic sequence of little blocks
of colour; the calm, contained rhythm of the canvases goes gradually over into rapid staccato flashes, into a powerful,
dynamic movement. Mondrain's creative powers were renewed and inspired by the invigorating impact of
metropolitan New York, by the quick rhythms of the new dances, and above all by the certainty of victory over
tyranny. But before he could complete his masterpiece in the new manner, Victory Boogie-Woogie, a sparkling,
twinkling dance of colours, Mondrian died in New York, five weeks before his seventy-second birthday.
<Tab/>Naturally, Mondrian and De Stijl exerted a considerable influence in the Netherlands. They also made an
impact throughout the Western world. The De Stijl group had a term to designate spirit of their age, a spirit to which
Mondrian and his friends always attached great importance and in which their art was consciously rooted. That term,
which keeps recurring in the writings, was" the general consciousness of the time. " In the earliest of several De Stijl
manifestoes, published in the November 1918 issue and signed by nearly all the members, including Mondrian, this
term is emphasized for the first time: "There is an old and a new consciousness of time. The old is connected with the
individual. The new is connected with the universal. The struggle of the individual against the universal is revealing
itself in the world war as well as in the present day." Mondrian always regarded the striving for generalization, for a
suprapersonal culture, as a characteristic of his age.
1.<Tab/>De Stijl 1917-1931/ Carsten-Peter Taschen/ Benedikt Taschen Verlag GmbH & Co/ 1991
2.<Tab/>De Stijl / Paul Overy / Studio Vista Limited/ 1969
3.<Tab/>De Stijl: The formative Years, 1917-1922 / translated by Charlotte Loeb and Arthur Loeb / Halliday
Lithograph in USA
4.<Tab/>A history of Graphic Design / Philip B. Meggs / John Wiley & Sons, Inc. / 1998
5.<Tab/>Mondrian and De Stijl / Serge Lemoine / Art Data/ 1987
6.<Tab/>Piet Mondrian / Hans L. C. Jaffe / Harry N. Adrams, Inc. New York
1.<Tab/>De Stijl / Artlex / Available at: Http://www.artlex.com
2.<Tab/>Piet Mondrian / MoMa.Org / Available at: Http://www.moma.org/collection/
3.<Tab/>Piet Mondrian / Art files / Available at: Http://www.the-artfile.com/uk/artists/
4.<Tab/>Piet Mondrian / the artists org / Available at: Http://www.the-artists.org/
5.<Tab/>Piet Mondriaan / the Mondriaan site / Available at: Http://www.modriaan.net/