Only Surviving Model by Theo van Doesburg Acquired by Het Nieuwe Instituut


We are excited to announce that Het Nieuwe Instituut has added a “work of national importance” to the National Collection for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning – the only surviving interior model by Theo van Doesburg for the cinema and dance hall of the Café de l’Aubette (1926/1927).


“It could be purchased for 550,000 euros – Behrang Mousavi, head of heritage at Het Nieuwe Instituut, emphasizes that the Swiss gallery owner Mathias Rastorfer, who had owned it for years, was very generous with that. "He necessarily wanted it to go to a cultural institution; he could have gotten more for it."
- Harmen van Dijk, Trouw, March 22, 2021


The interior of Café de l’Aubette (1928) was one of the most iconic projects of De Stijl, a unique collaboration between three major avant-garde artists Jean Arp, Sophie Arp and Theo van Doesburg to create a Gesamtkunstwerk, representing the multidisciplinary mindset that merges the different arts into a unique esthetic experience applied to daily life.


The Color Design is a unique hybrid of a gouache and a scale model with a dynamic design with diagonals for the ceiling and three walls. A milestone in his oeuvre and in the development of De Stijl, the interior model expresses Van Doesburg’s intended synthesis of painting and architecture and exemplifies his theory of Elementarism.


The addition of preliminary Color Design to the final color studies makes the Van Doesburg collection even more multifaceted, showing the development from the first sketches of 1926 to the final designs. Director Guus Beumer speaks of “an anchor point in the discussion about the ambitions of Van Doesburg and De Stijl” that “should not be missing from the National Collection.”


We are pleased to add another museum piece to our treasury of sold masterpieces.