De Stijl (sounds like ‘duh style’) was an artistic movement in the Netherlands from 1917 to around 1928. Artists such as Piet Mondrian, who you’ll learn about tomorrow, wanted to simplify the subjects of their painting as much as possible until they were left with only lines and simple colors. They used only red, yellow, and blue, and black, white, and grey.
De Stijl was confined to the Netherlands because the country did not involve itself in World War I so the Dutch couldn’t leave the country during the war. The art produced in other countries still influenced the de stijl movement, though.
In this 1921 painting, entitled Composition, you can see the simple colors and lines. Notice how few black lines there are in this painting, yet how beautiful the effect.
These ideas were used not only in paintings, but in architecture as well. Look at this house, for instance, designed by Gerrit Rietveld. It is completely black and white with details in primary colors, and uses only rectangles formed by horizontal and vertical lines. The inside also uses simple lines. If you’ve ever seen a Frank Lloyd Wright designed building, you may be thinking that this house reminds you of his work. You’d be right to think that because Wright’s designs from the 1900s and 1910s influenced the later work of these Dutch architects. (You’ll learn about Wright next week.)
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