Interdisciplinary Arts: De Stijl

Artsy Editors
Feb 11, 2013 5:36AM

To consider Rietveld's Red Blue Chair as an isolated object of design does not give the work its full due. To fully understand and appreciate such piece it must be considered with the other works of the Dutch group De Stijl, the artistic movement that inspired it.

De Stijl arose in the early 20th century as one of the first artistic movements of total abstraction. Its members sought to capture the dynamic spirit of modernity by distilling the natural and built world into Euclidean arrangements of pure plastic elements. These elements are line, color, proportion and rhythm, and the group's style, Neoplasticism, draws its name from these fundamental tools of plastic representation.

Among the group's figureheads were Theo Van Doesburg, Gerrit Rietveld and the widely celebrated Piet Mondrian. De Stijl's body of works represents a rigorous exploration in geometric abstraction that branches across several disciplines. From Van Doesburg and Mondrian's compositions to Rietveld's Chairs and his Schröder House in Utrecht this collective used their combined abilities to fully delve into exciting new forms of art in many media. Reitveld's chairs may be considered a three dimensional manifestation of the same ideas that Mondrian set out to examine in his own works.  Thus, in  looking at the Red Blue Chair, it should not be thought of as simply a wooden chair with primary colors, but rather as one of the many experiments of De Stijl in Neoplasticism.

(Piet Mondrian, Composition No. II, with Red and Blue, 1929 at the MoMa)

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