Bart van der Leck, Dutch painter (1876-1958)

Bart van der Leck was one of the founders of "De Stijl" ("The Style"), together with Piet Mondriaan and Theo van Doesburg. But contrary to those two, van der Leck left the movement at an early stage, in 1918. Rather than being part of a movement, he chose to go his own way.

Van der Leck had a hard time making a living out of painting. He wasn't famous during his life, much less so than Mondriaan and van Doesburg. Hadn't he had a benefactor or two, he might not have created the oeuvre we now know. Trying to make some money, he taught painting to women who were rich more than talented painters. One of these women, Mrs. Helène Kröller-Müller, took an interest in van der Lecks work. We may doubt if she really saw the genius of his work, but she did buy enough of his work to make him survive, and even providing him relative wealth. The downside of this protection was that, because Mrs. Kröller-Müller bought most of his work, he didn't exhibit very frequently, which in turn prevented him from becoming famous. A lot of his work is still owned by the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller on the Hoge Veluwe estate, formerly owned by Mr. and Mrs. Kröller-Müller.

This website aims at giving you a tour through van der Lecks work, his life and his relationship with De Stijl and its artists as well as with other movements (and with architect Berlage, e.g.).

You may wonder why I would bother to maintain this website. I don't own any of van der Lecks paintings, nor am I related to him. I'm not an art student. The reason I made this website is this. My grandfather in his time was a painter. He was a housepainter for profession and an artist for fun. Hadn't his parents been very poor, it would have been the other way round. My granddad was 18 years old when he worked in a crew that was painting the gates and the fence of the Hoge Veluwe estate, at a time when van der Leck was planning the decoration of the Jachtslot St. Hubertus. Van der Leck needed an assistant, and when he heard my granddad was especially good at mixing and determining colors, he asked him to be his assistant. Although my granddad never saw Van der Leck again after the work was finished, when talking about that special assignment some sixty years later, my grandfather still got emotional about the colors and shapes that Van der Leck created at St. Hubertus. I inherited this special relationship with Van der Leck.

Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller

The estate De Hoge Veluwe

About Bart van der Leck

Painting the fence (in Dutch)

Interview in Apeldoornse Courant (in Dutch)

The Boudoir

RKD: archive Bart van der Leck

The Cat (1914)