We explain what neoplasticism is in art, its characteristics, works and representatives. Also, neoplasticism in architecture.

Neoplasticism sought to simplify reality to its most elementary forms.

What is neoplasticism?

Dutch neoplasticism or constructivism (or also, in its original language, De Stijl) It is an artistic movement that emerged at the beginning of the 20th century in the Netherlands.linked to other artistic vanguards such as cubism and futurism, as well as abstract art.

Its purpose was to represent reality in an entirely abstract way.simplifying it in its primary colors and its most elementary forms, in order to get rid of everything that could be considered “superficial” or “excess”.

This trend began in 1917 with the Dutch painter, poet and architect Theo van Doesburg (1883-1931), considered the founder and spiritual guide of the movement, whose main organ of expression was the magazine De Stijl (“the style” in Dutch), published between 1917 and 1932, and in which they advocated the integration of the arts and the construction of a “total art”.

Neo-Plasticism had a powerful impact on the arts of the time, and arose parallel to the constructivist movement, with which it shares some points of its artistic philosophy, which is why it is also known as “Dutch constructivism”.

See also: Contemporary (or modern) art

Characteristics of neoplasticism

Broadly speaking, neoplasticism was characterized by the following:

  • Mainly covered painting, but he also had forays into sculpture and, above all, into architecture. The main organ of diffusion of him was the magazine De Stijlfocused on modern visual arts, where the group published its first manifesto in 1918.
  • He proposed a more analytical conception of paintingLittle or nothing interested in representing the world as it is, that is, in traditional figurativism. He was also not interested in expressing the emotional world of the artist.
  • Its fundamental purpose was to evoke, through an art purged of superfluous and distracting elements, a feeling of order and spiritual balance in the observer. To do this, he had to represent reality through its most basic and essential shapes and colors.
  • His style is considered a heritage of cubism and futurism.and was closely linked to German Constructivism, since both movements sought an aesthetic and spiritual renovation, which would overcome the climate of sorrow left by the First World War.
  • His plastic language aspired to be universal: objective, elemental, refined in its geometric forms and totally rationalist.
  • They used few colors, generally flatsaturated or pure, as well as neutral tones, all always on light backgrounds.
  • His paintings were orderly, optimistic, joyful. Although they possessed a strong sense of balance, symmetry was not something that interested them.
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Main artists of neoplasticism

neoplasticism mondrian compositionneoplasticism mondrian composition
Artists like Piet Mondrian sought balance in their works.

Among the main artists who integrated the neoplasticist current, there are the names of:

  • Theo van Doesburg (1883-1931), Dutch painter, poet, theorist and architect who served as the group’s founder and spiritual guide, until he left in 1924, after his break with Mondrian. Then he devoted himself to an “elementary” art, which according to him constituted the highest point in the evolution of pictorial art. Later, in the 1930s, he would join other constructivist currents, such as Concrete Art.
  • Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), Dutch avant-garde painter whose work evolved from naturalism and symbolism to abstraction, becoming, along with other artists such as Wassily Kandinsky and Kazimir Malevich, one of the great exponents of this trend. He was a founder together with van Doesburg of De Stijl in 1917, but later they distanced themselves creatively and personally, until joining the Abstraction-Creation group in 1931, opposed to surrealism.
  • bart van der leck (1876-1958), Dutch painter, designer and ceramicist, co-founder of De Stijl together with van Doesburg and Mondrian. However, his disagreements with Mondrian led him to his own semi-abstract style, inspired by real images, from which he later developed an alphabet made up entirely of straight lines, which in 1941 he turned into a typeface for the avant-garde magazine Flax.
  • Vilmos Huzsár (1884-1960), Hungarian painter and designer, founding member of De Stijl, having emigrated to the Netherlands in 1905. He was the designer of the cover of the first issue of the magazine, but left the group in 1923 and devoted himself to collaborating with Gerrit Rietveld at the Berlin Art Exhibition. From then on he focused on graphic design and painting. Many of his great works were lost in time, and only reproductions of them published in De Stijl.
  • gerrit rietveld (1888-1964), Dutch carpenter and architect, avant-garde designer of furniture and architectural pieces, was a member of De Stijl from 1924 to 1928. He was one of the most important architects in the Netherlands.
  • Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud (1890-1963), Dutch architect and modeller, the greatest exponent of modern architecture in his country, strongly influenced by the neoplasticist philosophy. He was part of the group De Stijl since 1915 and pursued the integration of architecture and painting at the hands of Mondrian and Rietveld. However, in 1917 he withdrew from the group (he does not appear among the signatories of the manifesto) and embraced the tendency of the Neue sachlichkeit (“new objectivity”) German.
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Representative works of neoplasticism

neoplasticism Gerrit Rietveld representatives chair red blueneoplasticism Gerrit Rietveld representatives chair red blue
The Red Blue Chair is a sculpture by Gerrit Rietveld.

Some of the most representative works of neoplasticism are the following:

  • Composition VIII (also known as The Cow“The Cow”), painting by Theo van Doesburg from 1918.
  • Red Blue Chaira sculpture by Gerrit Rietveld from 1917, one of the first three-dimensional pieces of the neoplasticist aesthetic.
  • Compositionpainting by Bart van der Leck from 1918.
  • tableaupainting by Piet Mondrian from 1921.
  • Composition Apainting by Piet Mondrian from 1923.
  • Schröder Housebuilt in 1924 by Gerrit Rietveld and Truus Schröder-Schrader.
  • arithmetic composition by Theo van Doesburg, 1929.
  • New York City IIpainting by Piet Mondrian from 1942.

Neoplasticism in architecture

neoplasticism architecture The Schröder House Gerrit Rietveld and Truus Schröder-Schraderneoplasticism architecture The Schröder House Gerrit Rietveld and Truus Schröder-Schrader
Works like the Schröder House focused on practical demands.

Neoplasticism also made significant incursions into architecture, and its philosophy had an important influence on great architects such as Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus, Ludwig van der Rohe, or Le Corbusier himself.

His architectural approach aspired to raise the construction itself as the theme of each project, without imposing forms a priori. He appealed to the most basic elements of architecture: light, volume, functions, space and color.designed in the most economical and functional way, focused on practical requirements.

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  • “Neoplasticism” on Wikipedia.
  • “Neoplasticism” in HA!
  • “Artistic movements, Neoplasticism” at Grupo Educar (Chile).
  • “Neo-Plasticism” at TATE Museum (United Kingdom).
  • “Neoplasticism (art)” in The Encyclopaedia Britannica.

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