Huis de Lange - living in a work of art

00:05:39 Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
In 1917 architect Jan Wils asked Theo van Doesburg to make a stained glass window for a stairwell in a house in Alkmaar.
Theo van Doesburg

Theo van Doesburg (1883-1931) was a Dutch artist, who practiced painting, writing, poetry and architecture. He is best known as the founder and leader of De Stijl.

Read more about the artist


The design of the house was already finished. Van Doesburg made the window, but he also advanced other suggestions: a stairway sculpture, an ornamental border and a hearth. In addition, he proposed a bright colour scheme for each room. The plan was executed. Van Doesburg declared enthusiastically in a letter that Alkmaar was in revolt. This turned out to be an overstatement but the residents did paint over some of his colours shortly after moving in.

The present residents of Huis de Lange, Hans and Monique van de Leygraaf, enjoy them. They have carefully researched and reconstructed the original colour schemes.

Architecture and Interior. The Desire for Style is on at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag from now until 17 September 2017. By exploring five themes, the exhibition teases out the story of how the members of De Stijl not only created a radical new formal idiom, but also used existing technologies, materials and ideas to satisfy their desire for a new style. The exhibition is being held in collaboration with Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam.

Photo on top of page: Gerrit Schreurs Photography

Video credits

Camera, picture and sound editing: Bert Koenderink
Interview with Hans and Monique van de Leygraaf: Hans Janssen (curator, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag)
Sound recording: Wouter Tjaden

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1 series

  • 100 years of De Stijl

    In 2017, the Netherlands is celebrating the De Stijl, the iconic artistic movement based around straight lines and primary colours. De Stijl artists turned their hands to painting and sculpture, architecture, industrial design, typography and even to literature and music. Museums and art institutes throughout The Netherlands organise exhibitions and many other inspiring events about De Stijl to celebrate this fact.