Theo van Doesburg

Theo van Doesburg, 1883 to 1931, was a Dutch artist, who practised painting, writing, poetry and architecture. He is best known as the founder and leader of De Stijl. His first exhibition was in 1908. From 1912 onwards, he supported his works by writing for magazines. Although he considered himself to be a modern painter at that time, his early work is in line with the Amsterdam Impressionists and is influenced by Vincent van Gogh, both in style and subject matter. This suddenly changed in 1913 after reading Wassily Kandinsky's Rückblicke, in which he looks back at his life as a painter from 1903–1913. It made him realize there was a higher, more spiritual level in painting that originates from the mind rather than from everyday life, and that abstraction is the only logical outcome of this. In 1915 while reviewing an exposition for one of the magazines he wrote for, he came in contact with the works of Piet Mondrian. Van Doesburg saw in these paintings his ideal in painting: a complete abstraction of reality. Soon after the exposition Van Doesburg got in contact with Mondrian, and together with related artists Bart van der Leck, Anthony Kok, Vilmos Huszar, and J.J.P. Oud they founded the magazine De Stijl in 1917. Although De Stijl was made up of many members, Van Doesburg was the ambassador of the movement, promoting it across Europe. He moved to Weimar in 1922, deciding to make an impression on the Bauhaus principal, Walter Gropius, in order to spread the influence of the movement. While Gropius accepted many of the precepts of contemporary art movements he did not feel that Doesburg should become a Bauhaus master. Doesburg then installed himself near to the Bauhaus buildings and started to attract school students interested in the new ideas of Constructivism. Dadaism, and De Stijl
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