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Theo van Doesburg

Compositie VII: ‘de drie Gratiën’ (Composition VII: The Three Graces)

1917

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Theo van Doesburg was a founding member of De Stijl, a Dutch art movement that promoted utopian ideals and spiritual harmony through the embrace of rational design principles. In this painting van Doesburg presents an orderly arrangement of brightly colored rectangular planes set against a black background. Organized around the measured, rational form of the grid—a vital component of modernist abstraction—the image appears, at least at first, as if entirely liberated from the traditional constraints of figurative representation. However, the painting neither relies on nor celebrates a purely abstract vision. Through the dynamic interplay of form and color this composition suggests an abstracted but recognizable leitmotif whose origins date back to Greek antiquity: a trio of female dancers, the “three graces” of the title. Van Doesburg prized dance as an expressive ideal; by invoking it here he reveals his faith in the creative and spiritual faculties of popular urban culture. [Permanent collection label, 2017]

  • Artist Theo van Doesburg (Dutch, 1883–1931)
  • Title Compositie VII: ‘de drie Gratiën’ (Composition VII: The Three Graces)
  • Date 1917
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions unframed | 33 1/2 x 33 1/2 in.
    framed | 43 x 42 11/16 x 4 3/8 in.
  • Credit line University purchase, Yeatman Fund, 1947
  • Object number WU 3812
  • Currently on View Gertrude Bernoudy Gallery, Room 3

Mondrian y de Stijl [loan cancelled due to pandemic, but exhibition occurred]
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid, Spain), 05/12/2020 - 09/14/2020

World War I: War of Images, Images of War
Musée Würth France Erstein, 09/27/2016 - 01/08/2017
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 09/11/2015 - 01/04/2016
Getty Research Institute, 11/18/2014 - 04/19/2015

Mondrian / De Stijl 1917–1931
Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, 12/01/2010 - 03/21/2011

[Grid < >Matrix]
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 10/25/2006 - 12/31/2006

Picasso to Pollock: H.W. Janson and the Legacy of Modern Art at Washington University in St. Louis
Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum (San Antonio, Texas), 08/17/2004 - 10/24/2004

Collecting Patterns
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 09/05/2003 - 12/07/2003

H. W. Janson and the Legacy of Modern Art at Washington University in St. Louis
Salander-O’Reilly Galleries (New York, New York), 03/12/2002 - 04/06/2002
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 08/30/2002 - 12/08/2002

Early Modern European and American Art
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 09/08/1998 - 10/12/1998

Cubism and Abstraction
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 01/12/1998 - 04/05/1998

La Beauté Exacte: Art Pays Bas Xième Siecle, De Van Gogh à Mondrian
Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (Paris, France), 03/23/1994 - 07/18/1994

A Gallery of Modern Art
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 08/09/1994 - 10/16/1994

Green Acres: Neocolonialism in the U.S.
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 09/11/1992 - 11/01/1992

Cubists, Surrealists, and Expressionists
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 05/15/1983 - 09/04/1983

The Centennial Exhibition
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 05/15/1981 - 10/11/1981

Exchange Loan
Untitled Exhibition, Saint Louis Art Museum (St. Louis, Missouri), 10/01/1979 - 04/01/1980

Theo van Doesburg 1883–1931, part of the exhibition Konstruktive Kunst. Elemente und Prinzipien
Kunsthalle Basel, 08/09/1969 - 09/07/1969
Nuremberg Biennial 1969, Kunsthalle (Nuremberg, Germany), 04/18/1969 - 06/01/1969

Theo van Doesburg 1883–1931
Kunstmuseum Den Haag (The Hague, Netherlands), 02/08/1969 - 03/23/1969
Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven, Netherlands), 12/13/1968 - 01/26/1969

Washington University Collection of Modern Paintings and Sculpture from Daumier to Pollock
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 04/06/1966 - 05/08/1966

Opening Exhibition of Mark C. Steinberg Memorial Hall
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 04/29/1960

Theo van Doesburg: Retrospective Exhibition
Art of This Century (New York, New York), 04/29/1947 - 05/31/1947

The white plane [Verify]
Gallery Pinacotheca, (New York, New York), 03/19/1947 - 04/12/1947

1er Salon des Realites Nouvelles. Art Abstrait, concret, constructivisme, non figuratif [Verify]
Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris (Paris, France), 07/19/1946 - 08/18/1946

Art Concret
Galerie René Drouin (Paris, France), 06/15/1945 - 07/13/1945

Konstruktivisten [verify]
Kunsthalle Basel, 01/16/1937 - 02/14/1937

Theo van Doesburg
Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 05/02/1936 - 05/31/1936

Cubism and Abstract Art
Museum of Modern Art, New York, 03/02/1936 - 04/19/1936

Société des Artistes Indépendants. 46me Exposition
Réunion des musées nationaux―Grand Palais (Paris, France), 01/18/1935 - 03/03/1935

Salon des Independents [Verify]
Venue Unknown (Paris, France)

Retrospektiv Theo van Doesburg
Kestner Gesellschaft 04/15/1924

Retrospektiv Theo van Doesburg
Landesmuseum (Weimar, Germany), 12/16/1923 - 01/23/1924

La Section d'Or—Paris [International Exhibition of Modern Art]
Casa d'Arte Italiana (Rome, Italy), 04/01/1921 - 04/01/1921

Tentoonstelling van Schilderyen
Pavilion (Domburg, Netherlands), 07/01/1917 - 08/01/1917

1947
Art of This Century Gallery, New York

Inscription [Verso in black paint:] (possible monogram) 1917

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