Archived exhibition
4th Floor Gallery

Georges Vantongerloo
A Retrospective

March–April 2006

Georges Vantongerloo is one of the lesser known and yet most important members of the De Stijl movement founded in Holland in 1917 by Piet Mondrian. He worked closely with Mondrian and van Doesburg and was a major contributor to the development of abstract art in the early 20th century.

This retrospective is a totally unique opportunity to see the work of Vantongerloo spanning 50 years from 1915-1965. Over 80 exceptional pieces are on display in the largest collection of his work to ever be shown in the UK. Many of the works: not only paintings but also sculptures, watercolours, drawings, models and even furniture design are shown for the very first time and together they demonstrate Vantongerloo’s unparalleled versatility and innovation.

Vantongerloo was born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1886 and was exiled to Holland during the war. The comparative lack of recognition of his work is in part accounted for by his refugee status. Dutch Art Historians were prone to give precedence to their fellow Dutch artists thus overlooking Vantongerloo’s interest and importance as an artist.

His paintings and preparatory studies are often based on mathematical formula: they are geometric, considered and linear. Like Mondrian, Vantongerloo used a limited and carefully chosen selection of colours but the basis of his aesthetic philosophy was quite different.

Unlike many of his immediate contemporaries Vantongerloo was also an innovative designer, architect and philosopher. This exhibition includes examples of his designs for a Subterranean Airport, a Villa, an electric lamp and desks which he made and used in his studio. They are historical precedents to Bauhaus designs and even today are remarkably modern and pioneering.