Artist biography

Bart van der Leck 1876-1958

Dutch painter and designer, born in Utrecht. Worked for eight years in stained-glass studios before studying painting at the State School of Arts and Crafts in Amsterdam 1900-4, and at evening courses at the State Academy of Fine Arts. Influenced by the Art Nouveau style of Der Kinderen, then by the Dutch Impressionists, but turned to making figure paintings of labourers, soldiers, beggars, women going to market, etc. with progressively increasing stylisation and flatness, with silhouetted forms akin to Egyptian art and flat planes of colour. First one-man exhibition at the Kunsthandel W. Walrecht, The Hague, 1913. After meeting Mondrian at Laren in 1916, started to paint abstract compositions comprising simple, basic forms such as squares and triangles, with the three primary colours and black and white. Helped to launch the periodical De Stijl in 1917, but dissociated himself from the group after a short time and began to make figurative compositions built out of much the same vocabulary of forms. His later work includes designs for carpets, textiles and ceramics, and for the application of colour in relation to architecture. Died at Blaricum, near Amsterdam.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.413