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4. Theo van Doesburg and Russia: Utopia Thwarted

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Chapter Summary

This chapter considers the impact of the unfolding Revolution on Theo van Doesburg's evolving project. It suggests that, beneath the artist's apparently shifting views, he displayed a consistent commitment to the need for art and architecture to relate to the social realm. The chapter examines these underlying attitudes in relation to his initial engagement with the ideas of the Revolution, subsequently in his strong commitment to the Russian art that emerged from the revolutionary climate, and finally in his eventual denunciation of the politics and the art associated with the Russian Revolution. The first issue of De Stijl appeared in October 1917, around the time that Vladimir Lenin's Bolshevik party seized power in Russia. The development of the Soviet utopian programme would lead to important revisions of van Doesburg's own utopian project.

Keywords: Bolshevik party; De Stijl; Holland; Russian Revolution; Soviet utopian programme; Theo van Doesburg



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