Everything You Need to Know About De Stijl Style

The Dutch De Stijl movement adopted an abstract, simplistic aesthetic centered on basic visual elements such as geometric shapes and primary colors. Partly a reaction against the decorative excesses of Art Deco, the diminished quality of De Stijl art was conceived by its creators as a universal visual language suited to the modern age, the time of a new, spiritualized world order.

De Stijl chair

Led by artists Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian - both central and celebrated figures - De Stijl artists have applied their style to a variety of mediums in the visual and applied arts and beyond. Promoting their innovative ideas in the magazine of the same name, the members of the organization envisioned nothing less than a perfect fusion of form and function, thus turning De Stijl into the ultimate style.

To this end, De Stijl's artists turned their attention not only to the visual arts such as painting and sculpture but to virtually every other art form, including industrial design, typography, even literature, and music. De Stijl's influence is perhaps most felt in the field of architecture, contributing to the emergence of the International Style of the 1920s and 1930s.

De Stijl chair

Key ideas and achievements

Like other avant-garde movements of the time, De Stijl, which simply means "style" in Dutch, emerged largely in response to the horrors of World War I and the desire to remake society after it. Viewing art as a means of social and spiritual redemption, the members of De Stijl adhered to a utopian about the vision of art and its transformative potential.

Among the pioneers of abstract art, De Stijl artists used a visual language consisting of accurately rendered geometric shapes—usually straight lines, squares, and rectangles—and primary colors. Expressing the artists' search for the "universal, since the individual lost its significance", this strict language was supposed to reveal the laws that govern the harmony of the world.

Even though De Stijl artists created works that embody the movement's utopian vision, the realization that this vision was unattainable in the real world led to the group's demise. Ultimately, De Stijl's enduring fame is largely the result of the enduring achievements of its most famous member and true master of the modern age, Piet Mondrian.

De Stijl Style Features

The main features of De Stijl style are its use of geometric shapes, its reduction of color to primary colors, and its emphasis on order and symmetry. Geometric shapes, such as rectangles, squares, and lines, are used to create compositions in De Stijl works. Primary colors, such as red, yellow, and blue, are used in order to create a sense of harmony.