RKD Netherland Institute for art History
In 1921–22 the architect C.R. de Boer completed a row of sixteen family homes on the Torenstraat in his home town of Drachten; on the other side of the street he built an agricultural winter school. For this project De Boer called on the help of Theo Doesburg, who was the founder of the geometric-abstract periodical De Stijl, and who made detailed design drawings in colour for both interior and exterior of the buildings.
De Boer 'wanted to make these houses with dynamic, cheerful, fresh, welcoming façades, so that the street, which had buildings on both sides, would not become monotonous.' With hindsight the collaboration with De Boer proved to be a turning point for Van Doesburg, who went on to develop a wholly new idea about the relationship between visual art and architecture. During this period Van Doesburg was living mostly in Weimar, where he was trying to stimulate interest in his ideas at the Bauhaus.
The letters to De Boer revealed in this publication provide an almost step-by-step account of this crucial period in Van Doesburg’s life and show us how his ideas on colour in architecture evolved.
Additional technical research reveals to what extent the buildings realised by De Boer deviate from Van Doesburg's theory. The latter's ideas are put into context in a comprehensive introduction written by the editors.
Sjoerd van Faassen is affiliated researcher with the RKD, The Hague. He is presently preparing a biography of Van Doesburg together with Hans Renders. Herman van Bergeijk is an architectural historian at TU Delft. His publications include monographs on W.M. Dudok, Jan Wils and Jan Duiker.