Piet Mondrian (1872 – 1944)

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Mondrian, Composition with Gray and Light Brown

Composition with Gray and Light Brown
1918 Oil on canvas 80.2 x 49.9 cm Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

Piet Mondrian was a Dutch artist of the De Stijl movement. While Theo van Doesberg founded the De Stijl movement, Mondrian defined a new branch of art known as Neo-Plasticism.

Mondrian, Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue

Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue
1921 Oil on canvas 39 x 35 cm

Mondrian was born in Amersfoort, Netherlands but soon moved with his family to Winterswijk. In 1892 Mondrian moved to Amsterdam to study at the Academy of Fine Art. While studying, Mondrian worked as a primary school teacher to support himself. As a student, Mondrian painted in a representational manner, creating realistic or impressionistic landscape studies. Many of Mondrian’s early paintings are in the collection of The Hague’s Gemeenemuseum.

Mondrian, Composition No. III Blanc-Jaune

Composition No. III Blanc-Jaune
1935-42 Oil on canvas 101 x 51 cm

Mondrian, Composition No. 10

Composition No. 10
1939-42 Oil on canvas 80 x 73 cm Private collection

In 1908 Mondrian began to study the theosophical movement, guided by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Mondrian’s interest in spirituality remained an important factor throughout his life and career.

Mondrian, Broadway Boogie Woogie

Broadway Boogie Woogie
1942-43 Oil on canvas 127 x 127 cm The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Mondrian, Molino al sol

Molino al sol
1911 Oil on Canvas 114 x 87 cm Gemeentemuseum, La Haya

Another inspirational force in Mondrian’s work was the 1911 Moderne Kunstkring exhibition of Cubism. After seeing this exhibit Mondrian began to simplify his work and use geometrical forms. Around this same time Mondrian decided to leave Amsterdam and move to Paris, where he studied Cubism and changed the spelling of his name from ‘Mondriaan’ to ‘Mondrian’.

Mondrian, Composición en Gris - Azul

Composición en Gris – Azul
1913 Oil on Canvas 79.5 x 63.5 cm Museum Thyssen Bornemisza

Mondrian, Bodegón con jarra de jengibre II

Bodegón con jarra de jengibre II
1912 Oil on Canvas 95.2 x 120 cm Guggenheim Museum, New York

In 1914 at the start of World War I, Mondrian returned to the Netherlands. Back in his home country, Mondrian found his place at the Laren artist’s colony, working alongside Bart van der Leck and Theo van Doesberg. In the next couple of years Mondrian was able to release a twelve-piece publication known as “The New Plastic” expressing his views on artistic theory.

Mondrian,  Composición VII

Composición VII
1913 Oil on Canvas 104.4 x 113.6 Guggenheim Museum, New York

After the war in 1919 Mondrian was free to leave the Netherlands and returned to France, where he remained for nearly twenty years. At this point Mondrian began painting his iconic grid-based paintings, painting. His early grid paintings contain grays and more subtle tones, where his later pieces use a black grid and primary colors.

Mondrian, Cuadro nº 2

Cuadro nº 2
1925 Oil on Canvas 75 x 65 cm Private Collection, Zurich

Throughout the 1920s Mondrian continued to refine his style of abstraction. Examples of experimentation can be seen in his “lozenge” works, in which he tilted square canvasses at a forty-five degree angle.

Mondrian, New York City

New York City
1942 Oil on Canvas 120 x 144 cm Harry Holtzman Collection, New York

In 1938 Mondrian left Paris to escape the spread of fascism and relocated to London for a brief amount of time before moving to New York City. While Mondrian only spent a few years in New York City he made a great impression on the art scene. The Museum of Modern Art in New York has held several exhibitions of his work and owns many pieces in its private collection. Mondrian’s work is now is Modern art collections around the world. Do you think you own a painting by Mondrian? Contact us. We are the experts on Piet Mondrian.