Theo van Doesburg Moves to Weimar

In 1921, armed with such architectural visions (he had been talking of the fourth dimension since 1917), Van Doesburg set off for Weimar, apparently with the intention of mounting an assault on the portals of Walter Gropius's newly founded Bauhaus.

Whether or not he expected to be taken on to the staff of the Bauhaus is not clear; what is certain is that his presence was a yeast in the ferment that swirled around the design school. Some, such as Gropius himself, were alienated by Van Doesburg's dogmatic and aggressive views; others, such as the young Mies van der Rohe, were inspired. In June he was publishing De Stijl from Weimar and the next year he began his own De Stijl architecture course, poaching students from the Bauhaus itself. This was a crucial time in the development of the Bauhaus, when it was in the process of moving from its individualistic arts and crafts origins to embrace the uniformity and austerity of style that was soon to be given the epithets "modernist" or "international"; the first architectural style for almost a thousand years not to imitate something else. Van Doesburg's contribution to this shift in emphasis was crucial. He preached geometry and the use of primary colour and the submersion of the individual in the collective, things that later became an integral part of the Bauhaus philosophy.

The German period lasted for almost two years – of frenetic writing, publishing, lecturing and organising – but behind all this activity there is a love story: with Van Doesburg from the start was the redoubtable Nelly van Moorsel. Nelly was a pianist whom he met at an exhibition of the Section d'Or group of abstract painters that he organised in the Hague in 1920.

Although 'De Stijl' was made up of many members, Van Doesburg was the 'ambassador' of the movement, promoting it across Europe. He moved to Weimar in 1922, deciding to make an impression on the Bauhaus principal, Walter Gropius, in order to spread the influence of the movement.

While Gropius accepted many of the precepts of contemporary art movements he did not feel that Doesburg should become a Bauhaus master. Doesburg then installed himself near to the Bauhaus buildings and started to attract school students interested in the new ideas of Constructivism. Dadaism, and De Stijl.