The Story of De Stijl – Hardcover
Artist(s): De Stijl
Year published: (1 Sept. 2011)
Publisher: Lund Humphries; New edition edition
Total Pages: 272 pages
Illustrations: Colour illustrations throughout
What was De Stijl? This fascinating survey, the most comphrehensive book to be published on the subject, seeks to unravel that question and to consider how the theory of De Stijl 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 recognised internationally as the most important contribution to modern culture made by The Netherlands. It is associated with such instantly recognisable objects as the radical geometric abstract paintings of Piet Mondrian, with their perpendicular relationships and primary colours; 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 would seem to have had a common aspiration that they might combine together to forge a new cultural consensus and ‘style’ appropriate 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’ focussed on crucial turning-points in the history of De Stijl and bringing to the foreground the key relationships and interactions which brought De Stijl to life. It is profusely illustrated with a range of images, from artworks and buildings to photographs, letters and documents, that 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.