De Stijl (Dutch for "The Style") also known as Neoplasticism, was a Dutch art movement founded in 1917 in Leiden by Piet Mondrian. De Stijl consisted of artists and architects. In a narrower sense, the term De Stijl is used to refer to a body of work from 1917 to 1931 founded in the Netherlands. Proponents of De Stijl advocated pure abstraction and universality by a reduction to the essentials of form and colour; they simplified visual compositions to vertical and horizontal, using only black, white and primary colors.
In Mondrian's opinion, only abstract art can show the harmony behind what's visible.
In the year this art movements was founded, there was still a war going on. With De Stijl, people longed for a world of inner peace, harmon,y and order, instead of the everyday chaos.
Artists wanted to break the age-old tradition of art needing a clear presentation. They did not want to paint what was in front of them, for example a landscape, but they wanted to paint their feelings and thoughts. And for them, that was best done by extreme simplicity and abstraction. They also argued that while a realistic painting shows reality, it does not show the truth.
Architects wanted to "start from zero" with this movement, to break away from designing 'old-fashioned' houses.
Features of De Stijl in architecture:
- Open structure
- Use of horizontal and vertical forms
- No decoration
- Sliding walls
- No clear room lay-out
- No thought for privacy
- "Bespiegeling" (art book for school) written by J. Groenendijk, E. Heijnen, S. Keuning, M. Maas