Construction of Volumetric Interrelationships Derived from the Inscribed Square and the Square Circumscribed by a Circle
The artist-architect-theorist Georges Vantongerloo was born on November 24, 1886, in Antwerp. From 1905 to 1909 he studied at the Académie des Beaux-Arts of Antwerp and of Brussels and exhibited his work in Holland and at the Salon Triennaux in Belgium. He was wounded serving in the Army, during the World War I. Discharged he spent the years 1914–18 in the Netherlands, where his work attracted the attention of the queen. While working on architectural designs there, Vantongerloo met Piet Mondrian, Bart van der Leck, and Theo van Doesburg and collaborated with them on the magazine De Stijl, which was founded in 1917.
Soon after his return to Brussels in 1918 he moved to Menton, France. In France he developed a close friendship with the artist and architect Max Bill, who was to organize many Vantongerloo exhibitions. The artist, accepting the reduction to the horizontal and vertical lines of De Stijl, based his sculpture on the volumetric translation of this principle. In 1924 Vantongerloo published his pamphlet “L’Art et son avenir” in Antwerp, followed in 1948 by his essay “Painting, Sculptures, Reflections”.
In 1928 he moved from Menton to Paris; there in 1931 he became vice-president of the artists’ association Abstraction-Création, a position he held until 1937. His models of bridges and a proposed airport were exhibited at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 1930. In 1936 he participated in the exhibition Cubism and Abstract Art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His first solo show was held at the Galerie de Berri in Paris in 1943. Vantongerloo shared an exhibition with Max Bill and Antoine Pevsner in 1949 at the Kunsthaus Zürich. His seventy-fifth birthday was observed with a solo exhibition at the Galerie Suzanne Bollag in Zurich in 1961. The following year Bill organized a large Vantongerloo retrospective for the Marlborough New London Gallery in London. Vantongerloo died on October 5, 1965, in Paris.