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Styles & Periods

Neoplasticism was the central philosophy of De Stijl, a Dutch artistic movement led by Theo van Doesburg and including Piet Mondrian. In one of the many reactions to Cubism in the 1920s, De Stijl and the Neoplasticists felt that Cubism had retarded its own natural result- a completely non-representational abstraction. The use of pared down, primary colors and right angles would eliminate any distractions from the ultimate reality, rendering a plastic expression. This faith in color was unprecedented. Mondrian went on to develop a set of guidelines governing the creation of his paintings, including the balance of opposites, use of blue, yellow, and red on structures of black and white, and shapes made solely from right angles. The result was a neutralization of all depth, distraction from perceived references to the natural world. Despite the elimination of illusionist characteristics, Mondrian felt his paintings reflected the world around him. By the mid 1920s, philosophical disagreements between members of De Stijl had caused the group to weaken, and it would finally dissolve in 1931 following the death of Theo van Doesburg. Piet Mondrian remained true to the principles of Neoplasticism, and his works are among the most recognizable of the movement.

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