Maison d’Artiste by Theo Van Doesburg : Paris via somewhere I would like to live
In June 1929, Theo van Doesburg, almost 46, finished the plans to build his own maison-atelier in the outskirts of Paris. Facing for the first time a real project to be built, his former theories of 1923 maison d’artiste for the De Stijl exhibition in Paris (Galerie Rosenberg) changed into a more concerning and possible architecture. In May 1930, while his house was being built, he visited Spain and lectured in Residencia de Estudiantes, Madrid. The lecture gives some clues of this change. But as in the very beginnings of his career, he will go on in his own aspiration of breaking the limits between art and life. The maison-atelier is the test ground. For him, as in 1923, architecture had an important role to contribute to life and society not only in an esthetical but in a moral and ethical way. «We are painters that think and measure» he said, as a way to reach a different and new culture. But also: «functions of life can not be projected in two dimensions on the drawing-board. Our step, our way of sitting, eating, drinking, sleeping, working, etc., are arguments of a certain order, a rhythm in time. This order, defines the arrangement of things in space.»
In Vers le Peinture Blanche, he identified white color as «perfection, purity and certainty». So does his own maison-atelier. Some years before, Le Corbusier had talked about the ripolin blanc or the lait de chaux (L’art decoratif d’aujourd’hui, 1925) as a moral argument toward the 1925 Exposition des Arts Decoratifs’ interiors excesses. In both cases, they will be thinking in artist’s houses to exemplify their theories. The former in his own house, the latter in Ozenfant’s maison-atelier.