Villa Allegonda 1916-1928
A De Stijl Gesamtkunstwerk
Resting atop the dunes in the seaside region of Katwijk aan Zee, there stands the Hotel Savoy and more importantly, what might be considered one of J.J.P. Oud’s earliest demonstrations of the De Stijl philosophy in his architecture, the Villa Allegonda, as it was once called.
Originally the villa was known as Sigrid and inhabited by a Norwegian painter. The artist shortly thereafter sold the villa to the Rotterdam businessman J.E.R. Tousselot. After the transaction, the villa underwent a series of renovations and remodeling that continued for a number of years, the first of which was under the direction of Oud. The architect was tasked to renovate the villa whose existing details were then aligned with nearby North African architectural themes and vernacular. He enlisted a number of his close associates, many if not all of whom were artists. His drawings show a very clean and geometric structure, with an asymmetry prominent in his work.During World War II there was a mine explosion that destroyed van Doesburg's original windows.
Upon Oud’s suggestion, Theo van Doesburg was invited to design two leaded glass windows for the villa; he sketched Composition V in 1917-1918 (in 1984 the Kunsthaus Zurich purchased the original drawing where it presently resides). While it is not entirely known how many sketches for windows he produced, both Composition II & V were manufactured by the firm Vennootschap Crabeth in den Haag, and were installed into the staircase hall of the villa. A period image shows the installed Composition II, the renovated villa and the sketch for Composition V. In a letter dated to December 1923, van Doesburg confirmed to Karel Wasch, then secretary of the N.V. Glasfabriek Leerdam, that he created and had installed both windows II and V in the villa Allegonda. During World War II there was a mine explosion and both windows were destroyed.
Later, in 1956, after van Doesburg’s passing, his widow Nelly van Doesburg, herself an avant-garde artist and musician, sold the original color design sketch to De Bijenkorf Rotterdam, who then instructed the Dutch leaded glass firm Bogtman in Haarlem to fabricate the present example, to be installed in the Marcel Breuer designed Rotterdam Beehive building.
This window has been widely exhibited including at the Foundation Beyeler and it was on extended loan to the Stedelijik Museum in Amsterdam from 1969-1985.
While this window is a posthumous reproduction of the originally installed example, it has been exhibited widely and is illustrated in the Fondation Beyeler catalog Ornament and Abstraction, published on the occasion of the exhibition bearing the same name. It is also generally accepted that the dimensions match the original window. Along the window’s metal exterior framework are exhibition labels. The history of this window illustrates the fully realized concept of art-architecture that van Doesburg was looking to attain. The rhythmic movements of the color scheme remain in adherence to the De Stijl philosophy, setting apart the artist and group in the canon of theoretical art and history.
 Please see J.J.P. Oud Poetic Functionalist 1890-1963 The Complete Works, Taverne, Wagenaar and de Vletter, ppg. 127-138 for a wider discussion of the villa
We speak of concrete and not abstract painting because nothing is more concrete, more real than a line, a color, a surface.
Theo van Doesburg