With the exception of the Bauhaus, probably no other art movement of the first half of the twentieth century has had such a pervasive influence on our everyday lives as the De Stijl group around Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg. Mondrian, who along with Wassily Kandinsky and Kasimir Malevich one of abstract painting’s founding fathers, created strictly geometrical paintings that have become icons of modernism. Their characteristic structure of black grids into which fields of primary colours are inserted has long assumed a life of its own in art as well as in fashion, advertising and popular culture. Pieces of furniture, such as Gerrit Rietveld’s Red and Blue Chair (ca. 1923) also enjoy the status of design classics.
Founded in 1917 in Leiden, the journal De Stijl was edited by Theo van Doesburg until 1928 and attracted artists and critics not only from the Netherlands but also from Italy, Germany and the Soviet Union among others. The prime objective of this international group was an intervention in public space. The range of topics discussed in this magazine accordingly was broad, reaching from the fine arts to architecture and urban planning to design. Film, theatre, music and literature also featured strongly.
The Lenbachhaus exhibition Mondrian and De Stijl is the first major museum show in Germany devoted to this pioneering avant-garde group. The exhibition was developed in cooperation with The Hague Gemeentemuseum, home to the world’s largest collection of paintings by Piet Mondrian. One focus of the exhibition is Mondrian’s development towards abstraction. After early works in the circle of the neo-impressionist luminists in Domburg, from 1912 Mondrian worked on more and more abstract compositions based on studies of trees and architecture. Important examples will be shown in this exhibition. His later neoplastic period is also represented by numerous key works, including the programmatically titled Tableau I (1921), in which he completely broke with symmetry and proportion. A second focus is De Stijl’s interdisciplinary approach, which will be shown with period furniture, clothes, and architectural drawings and models.
"We are delighted that partnership between the Lenbachhaus and E.ON Energie has been ongoing for several years, and that this partnership has now made a further cultural highlight possible in Munich – the coming Mondrian and De Stijl exhibition. Work together in the past, on the 2005 Franz Marc exhibition, the retrospective on the occasion of Rupprecht Geiger‘s one-hundredth birthday, and the large Kandinsky exhibition of 2008 and 2009 was highly successful for both sides. We are therefore very pleased that our partnership remains strong while the Lenbachhaus museum is being renovated" (Helmut Friedel, director of the Lenbachhaus).
"With the Mondrian and De Stijl exhibition we have been successful in continuing our partnership of many years with Lenbachhaus – despite the extensive rebuilding work. We at E.ON Energie are willingly supporting this project and we are pleased to be able to showcase this important artist and the De Stijl group here," said Hartmut Geldmacher, Member of the Board of Management and Labour Director of E.ON Energie AG.
Curators: Helmut Friedel / Matthias Mühling