Theo van Doesburg (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈteɪɔ vɑn ˈdusbʏrx], 30 August 1883 – 7 March 1931) was a Dutch artist, practicing in painting, writing, poetry and architecture. He is best known as the founder and leader of De Stijl
Theo van Doesburg was born as Christian Emil Marie Küpper on 30 August 1883 in Utrecht as the son of the photographer Wilhelm Küpper and Henrietta Catherina Margadant. After a short training in acting and singing he decided to become a painter. He always regarded his stepfather, Theodorus Doesburg, to be his natural father, so that his first works are signed with Theo Doesburg, to which he later added the insertion "van". His first exhibition was in 1908. From 1912 onwards, he supported his works by writing for magazines. Although he considered himself to be a modern painter at that time, his early work is in line with the Amsterdam Impressionists and is influenced by Vincent van Gogh, both in style and subject matter. This suddenly changed in 1913 after reading Wassily Kandinsky's Rückblicke, in which he looks back at his life as a painter from 1903–1913. It made him realize there was a higher, more spiritual level in painting that originates from the mind rather than from everyday life, and that abstraction is the only logical outcome of this. It was already in 1912 that Van Doesburg was criticizing Futurism in an art article in 'Eenheid' no. 127, 9 November 1912, because "The mimetic expression of velocity (whatever its form may be: the aeroplane, the automobile, and so on) is diametrically opposed to the character of painting, the supreme origin of which is to be found in inner life." 6 November 1915 he wrote in the same journal: " Mondrian realizes the importance of line. The line has almost become a work of art in itself; one can not play with it when the representation of objects perceived was all-important. The white canvas is almost solemn. Each superfluous line, each wrongly placed line, any color placed without veneration or care, can spoil everything – that is, the spiritual."