Encounter De Stijl in Gelderland

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Encounter De Stijl in Gelderland

Strike a balance between art and nature as you trace the evolution of De Stijl through Gelderland.

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Encounter vibrant cities, parks and stunning natural landscapes in Gelderland, the largest province in Holland. Visit the former family home of Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, now transformed into the impressive Villa Mondriaan museum. And journey into the expansive Hoge Veluwe National Park where wild nature pairs with artistic icons in the world-renowned Kröller-Müller Museum.

  • Come face-to-face with the pioneers of De Stijl at the Kröller-Müller Museum in the heart of the Hoge Veluwe National Park.
  • Discover the artistic roots of the young Piet Mondrian in the Villa Mondriaan museum.
  • Explore the works of De Stijl co-founder Vilmos Huszár in a carefully-crafted retrospective at Stadsmuseum Harderwijk.

The evolution of De Stijl in the Kröller-Müller Museum

Weave your way into the heart of the Hoge Veluwe National Park, near the attraction-packed city of Arnhem, and you’ll encounter the Kröller-Müller Museum. One of the most visited museums in Holland, it’s home to the second-largest collection of Vincent Van Gogh paintings in the world, as well as key works by Claude Monet, Georges Seurat and Pablo Picasso. The museum opened in 1938 after art collector Helene Kröller-Müller donated more than 11,000 artworks to the Dutch government, and its treasure trove of works by the likes of Piet Mondrian, Bart van der Leck, Theo van Doesburg and Gerrit Rietveld also holds the key to the De Stijl art movement.

Stepping into its galleries, the vibrant primary colours and use of horizontal and vertical compositions grab your attention immediately, while closer inspection of these works, side-by-side, helps you unravel the evolution of De Stijl and the paths these artists chose. Helene Kröller-Müller had a particularly strong working relationship with Van der Leck, not only amassing 42 of his paintings and around 400 drawings, but becoming his patron from 1912 to 1918 and working closely with him through a wide variety of projects.

During 2017 the Kröller-Müller Museum hosts two major exhibitions in celebration of 100 years of De Stijl, from Mondrian to Dutch Design. ‘Arp: The Poetry of Forms’ (20 May until 17 September 2017) showcases the avant-garde work of De Stijl collaborator Hans Arp in his first major retrospective in Holland since 1960. From 14 October until 2 April 2018, ‘The Patron and the ‘House Painter’’ examines the working relationship between Bart van der Leck and Helene Kröller-Müller, showing the evolution of the artist’s oeuvre between 1912 and 1918, from his commercial projects in Holland and London to the paintings and designs Van der Leck created when working definitively within De Stijl’s vision.

St. Hubertus Hunting Lodge

Whether you’re visiting the Hoge Veluwe National Park for its art or nature, the St. Hubertus Hunting Lodge – or Jachthuis Sint Hubertus as it’s known in Dutch – is one of the park’s most distinctive sights. Situated near the northern boundary, its iconic watchtower looms up over the tree line as you approach, before eventually the lines and curves of its entire brick façade unravel in front of you. Designed by prominent Dutch architect H.P. Berlage and completed in 1920, this building features notable interior designs and colour schemes by De Stijl artist Bart van der Leck. Be sure to make the most of the exterior views of this grand hunting lodge by walking around its large pond and gardens – visit in the morning or later in the afternoon to experience its sharp lines in the most dramatic lighting. Guided tours of the St. Hubertus Hunting Lodge take place all year round, but from 1 November 2016 until 31 March 2017, it’s well worth a visit to the park simply to enjoy a dedicated De Stijl-themed guided tour of the lodge. This exclusive opportunity takes you off of the well-trodden path to admire Van der Leck’s interior colour schemes and the patterns he designed.

Visit Villa Mondriaan in Winterswijk

Between the ages of eight and 20, the young Piet Mondrian lived with his family in the tranquil east Gelderland town of Winterswijk. It was here that he first picked up a paintbrush, learning basic art techniques from his father and uncle. This former family home has been converted into an inspiring museum dedicated to the artist, named Villa Mondriaan. Take some time to learn more about Mondrian’s family life, look out on the landscape that inspired him and view his early paintings, which remain relevant and influential to this day.  

From 3 March until 3 September 2017, Villa Mondriaan celebrates 100 years of De Stijl with the exhibition ‘Figurative in Stijl’. Get to know the pioneers of De Stijl, such as Theo van Doesburg, Vilmos Huszár and Mondrian himself, by exploring the figurative landscapes and portraits they created before – and sometimes alongside and after – their more abstract concepts and designs.

Art in Arnhem

From 17 December 2016 until 19 March 2017, Museum Arnhem presents a retrospective of Dutch artist Peter Alma. As a friend of Piet Mondrian, Alma played a role in shaping De Stijl in its formative years. He was primarily attracted to the artistic vision of the movement because he believed in making art for a new and better world. Yet Alma was never a true believer in the abstract visual languages at its core. Instead, he was inspired to develop simplified, figurative imagery, frequently choosing to highlight social issues of the era, such as workers’ rights, capitalism and revolution. Additionally, from 18 February until 14 May 2017, Museum Arnhem presents the exhibition ‘Stijlloos, Nederlandse kunst tot WOII’.

Stadsmuseum Harderwijk

Situated at the most western edge of Gelderland, the historic city of Harderwijk lies almost at the centre of Holland. The painter and designer Vilmos Huszár spent a lot of time here, living in the neighbouring village of Hierden from the 1930s until his death in 1960. To mark the centenary of De Stijl and to showcase the creations of this lesser-known co-founder of the movement, Stadsmuseum Harderwijk is hosting an exhibition of his later work, guest curated by Sjarel Ex, director of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and a true Huszár expert. Visit the exhibition ‘Huszár van de Stijl’ from 20 May until 3 September 2017.

Accessibility

  • Gelderland is the largest province in Holland, stretching from the centre of the country, eastwards to the German border 
  • Reach the Kröller-Müller Museum and Hoge Veluwe National Park from The Hague, Leiden, Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport in only 1.25 hours 
  • From here you can be in the industrious city of Eindhoven and exploring the Dutch Design district in less than an hour 
  • Discover the impact of De Stijl in the Friesland city of Drachten. By road, it’s around 1 hour from Harderwijk, or take the train and enjoy one of the most scenic rail routes in Holland, passing the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve

Accommodation

Unearth the perfect place to stay in Gelderland. Visit the city of Arnhem and discover a wealth of welcoming accommodations, from luxury design hotels and quaint B&Bs to quirky floating hotels on the river. Find yourself in Otterlo, near the Hoge Veluwe National Park: spend the night ‘glamping’ in nature or seek shelter in a more traditional inn.

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Feel the true impact of De Stijl in the north of the Netherlands. Visit the Friesland city of Drachten and discover a colourful museum home and a renowned modern art museum. Or head to Eelde to see how a former De Stijl-influenced flight school has been transformed into a workspace for upcoming artists.

Gelderland

Check out the full program of the Mondrian to Dutch Design Year in Gelderland.

Click here for a list of activities

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