Until 31 July, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is displaying several loans from the collection of Het Nieuwe Instituut: designs for the Maison Particulière by Theo Van Doesburg and Cornelis van Eesteren, and the Centraal Beheer office building by Herman Hertzberger. These two projects are archetypal examples of two important movements in the history of Dutch architecture: the avant-gardism of De Stijl and structuralism. These loans are part of a long-term co-curatorship programme between Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Rijksmuseum.
The estates of artist Theo van Doesburg and architect Cornelis van Eesteren, both members of De Stijl, are among the highlights of Het Nieuwe Instituut’s archival collections. Maison Particulière is a joint design from 1923. Elaborated in drawings and models, the design was exhibited in the first major exhibition about De Stijl in Leonce Rosenberg’s gallery in Paris. This design for a villa was radical in its innovations. Van Doesburg and Van Eesteren experimented with abstract, geometric forms and primary colours, representing the universal qualities of art and architecture. The axonometric view, a new way of drawing, was both a quest and a demonstration of their ambition to create a new and universal reality through architecture. Van Doesburg and Van Eesteren saw this exhibition not only as an exploration of these ideas but also as a platform for promoting the complete synthesis of art and architecture. This De Stijl experiment has since become world famous.