Mondrian is one of those Dutch painter who reflects the consciousness of his countrymen. His attention to detail and simplification is extraordinary. He was extremely versatile and could paint in various styles. In his search for the essence of color and form he created the work we know him for today which is exact and clear. When I look at his work I feel like I’m peering into a microscope to get to the essence of a painting.
Pieter Cornelis “Piet” Mondriaan, after 1906 Mondrian March 7, 1872 – February 1, 1944), was a Dutch painter.
He was an important contributor to the De Stijl art movement and group, which was founded by Theo van Doesburg. He evolved a non-representational form which he termed Neo-Plasticism. This consisted of white ground, upon which was painted a grid of vertical and horizontal black lines and the three primary colors.
Mondrian was born in Amersfoort in The Netherlands, the second of his parents’ children. He was descended from Christian Dirkzoon Monderyan who lived in the Hague as early as 1670. The family moved to Winterswijk when his father, Pieter Cornelius Mondriaan, was appointed head teacher at a local primary school. Mondrian was introduced to art from a very early age: his father was a qualified drawing teacher, and with his uncle, Fritz Mondriaan (a pupil of Willem Maris of The Hague School of artists), the younger Piet often painted and drew along the river Gein.
After a strictly Protestant upbringing, in 1892, Mondrian entered the Academy for Fine Art in Amsterdam. He already was qualified as a teacher. He began his career as a teacher in primary education, but while teaching he also practiced painting. Most of his work from this period is naturalistic or impressionistic, consisting largely of landscapes. These pastoral images of his native country depict windmills, fields, and rivers, initially in the Dutch Impressionist manner of the Hague School and then in a variety of styles and techniques documenting his search for a personal style. These paintings are most definitely representational, and illustrate the influence that various artistic movements had on Mondrian, including pointillism and the vivid colors of fauvism.
“I construct lines and color combinations on a flat surface, in order to express general beauty with the utmost awareness. Nature (or, that which I see) inspires me, puts me, as with any painter, in an emotional state so that an urge comes about to make something, but I want to come as close as possible to the truth and abstract everything from that, until I reach the foundation (still just an external foundation!) of things… I believe it is possible that, through horizontal and vertical lines constructed with awareness, but not with calculation, led by high intuition, and brought to harmony and rhythm, these basic forms of beauty, supplemented if necessary by other direct lines or curves, can become a work of art, as strong as it is true.”