Leiden, 100 Years of De Stijl

Leiden is the birthplace of De Stijl. It is where Theo van Doesburg (1883-1931) started the magazine to which the international movement owes its name in 1917. In those years, Leiden was a city bursting with art and science, where world-famous scientists like Albert Einstein and Paul Ehrenfest rubbed shoulders with artists like Theo van Doesburg. With his enormous commitment to De Stijl, Theo shaped a revolutionary new world: that of modern life in the twentieth century. In 2017, Leiden has remained an international meeting place for talent, knowledge, and innovation. Especially for ‘Mondrian to Dutch Design’, Leiden is taking stock of the last 100 years. Several exhibitions show how today’s artists provide substance to abstract art. Discover the source of De Stijl with a varied and contemporary programme of special exhibitions and activities. 

 

Brief biography of Theo van Doesburg

Theo van Doesburg (Utrecht, 1883 - Davos, 1931) is the founder of De Stijl. He published the first issue of the eponymous magazine in 1917, which gave birth to an art movement. The earliest members included Piet Mondrian, Bart van der Leck and J.J.P. Oud. The first Manifest was published in four languages one year later, giving De Stijl its international eloquence. Theo met his future wife Nelly van Doesburg in 1920 and moved to the German city of Weimar with her. Van Doesburg became increasingly fascinated by other art movements that were on the rise, like Dadaism and Constructivism. Starting in 1925, he introduced diagonal ‘elementary’ lines in his work; standing out from De Stijl’s other members who continued to work on a purely geometric basis. Van Doesburg remained the sole editor of De Stijl magazine through its last edition and the centre around which it revolved. He died in the Swiss city of Davos in 1931. 

 

Leiden and De Stijl:

This is where Theo van Doesburg found inspiration for his revolutionary abstract imagery.

This is where he brought world-famous icons together, such as Mondrian and Van der Leck.

This is where he painted his first abstract in 1916.

This is where he benefited from the discoveries of Lorentz and Einstein at Leiden University.

This is where he founded De Stijl by publishing the eponymous magazine in 1917.

This is where the ideas of De Stijl were solidified with the publication of the Manifest in 1918.

This is where you will find his oeuvre today, collected at the Museum De Lakenhal. 

For general questions relating to the Leiden, 100 Years of De Stijl programme: info@destijlinleiden.nl