Radical simplification

In The tempest, Bart van der Leck ops for a radical simplification of colour, form and content. Nevertheless, the typically Dutch theme – fisherwomen looking out to sea for their husbands – is still very recognizable. Van der Leck begins his artistic career by making stained-glass windows, an experience that has a major influence on his later painting. The isolated, defined forms and his use of powerful colours originate from this period.

Increasingly abstract

As of 1910, his work becomes increasingly abstract. Reality remains his point of departure, but he reduces all shapes into blocks. Moreover, he uses only the primary colours red, yellow and blue, with the addition of grey, black and white. In The tempest he always uses the colour that is closest to the original colour: the beach is yellow, the sea blue, and the women’s clothing in black, white and blue has the colours of the authentic traditional costume of Scheveningen.

Leaving De Stijl

In 1917, Van der Leck is co-founder of De Stijl, together with Piet Mondriaan and Theo van Doesburg, but he ultimately finds their quest for absolute abstraction a step too far and after two years he leaves the movement.