Styles: Squares over Curves

Piet Mondrian's life was dedicated to style. He was the leader, in fact, of the Dutch-centered De Stijl movement that began during World War I. For Mondrian, the ascetic ideal of De Stijl was renunciation of the physical representation of things. His art was right-angular, asymmetrical, and colored only in the primaries of red, blue and yellow. All lines were straight—for the sake of the spirit. Wrote he: "Natural roundness, in a word, corporeality, gives a purely materialist version of objects." Followers of De Stijl designed furniture, built architecture and patterned typography,...

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