Primary Colors for Grown-Ups: De Stijl, Bauhaus, and Beyond

Primary Colors for Grown-Ups: De Stijl, Bauhaus, and Beyond

Sarah Rainwater
Oct 6, 2010

Red, yellow, and blue may be the preferred color scheme for the 5-and-under set, but that doesn't mean that the heart of the color wheel is lacking in sophistication. Artists of the De Stijl movement in the 1920s including Piet Mondrian and Gerrit Rietveld, which also influenced members of the Bauhaus, were so enamored of primary colors that they restricted their palette to only red, yellow, blue, black, white and gray.

While I freely admit that primary colors can evoke a kindergarten or (worse) the 80s, they can also be classic, playful, modern and absolutely all grown-up.

1. A painted collage by De Stijl architect Theo van Doesburg, 1925
2. On View: De Stijl Designer Gerrit Rietveld
3. Mondrian-Inspired Homes
4. From Readers: Maude's Mondrian Kitchen
5. Guesthouse of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation

6. A Fresh Take on a Primary Color Interior
7. Naseem's Back Bay Live / Work Space
8. The Family Home of Architect Ernö Goldfinger
9. My own primary-colored dining room
10. Primary Colors: Christopher Coleman — Angel Sanchez's Apartment

11. Joseph Albers Nesting Tables At Home
12. Rug by Anni Albers from DWR

Images: 1, Rijswijk/Amsterdam, Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage, via Wikimedia Commons; 2, Abbeville Press; 3, Frankie Norstad for Susan Diana Harris; 5, Siftung Bauhaus Dessau; 6, Zane Williams via Contemporist; 7, Kyle Freeman; 8, ©NTPL/Dennis Gilbert; 9, Sarah Rainwater; 10, Christopher Coleman

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