• gerard van weyenbergh

Piet Mondrian a short overview

He said

“I build lines and color combinations on flat surfaces to express general beauty with the highest awareness. "

His life

Born in Amersfoort, in the province of Utrecht, Piet Mondrian (whose real name is Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan) is the son of a Calvinist pastor. His childhood was bathed in this Protestant doctrine to the glory of God. His uncle encouraged him to draw and paint, especially outdoors - Holland is a land of choice for the landscape tradition. He began by painting classic landscapes and, in 1892, enrolled at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam.

In the early 1900s, Mondrian turned to symbolism, then in vogue throughout Europe. His landscapes are tinged with an intellectual, even moral dimension. It was from this time that he realized the importance of color as a means of expression and cultivated certain relationships with Fauvism. Mondrian moves away from traditional figuration to join the world of the avant-garde.

Influenced by the discovery of Vincent van Gogh's , in vibrant colors, Mondrian developed a lyrical palette. Like his compatriot, who tragically died in 1890, he moved to Paris in 1911. He, too, is a mystic, interested in theosophy, which combines spiritual quest with a scientific approach. Tempted briefly by cubism, Piet Mondrian frees himself from figuration to use an abstract language. We are in 1913, and Vassily Kandinsky will dispute the authorship of this aesthetic revolution.

From 1914, the artist found his own pictorial language: it was radically geometric, based on the play of verticals and horizontals, as well as on a choice of pure colors detached from any mimicry with reality. By his admission, he searches for "general beauty" and abstraction is for him a means of accessing the truth.

Piet Mondrian contributes to the De Stijl movement ("The Style") founded by Theo van Doesburg, creator of an eponymous review in 1917. In favor of pure abstraction, they call their aesthetics "neoplasticism". Very quickly, Van Doesburg and Mondrian plan to make a total art out of it in furniture. The straight line and the primary color become imponderables of their grammar. Accepting only precise geometric figures, Mondrian fell out with Van Doesburg, however. The break with De Stijl took place in 1924.

According to Mondrian, the right angle would be the materialization of the essential complementarities at the origin of life (interior / exterior, feminine / masculine…). The painter rejects any reference to the natural object, to the traditional perspective, to focus on pure plastic relationships. In this sense, it brings another vision of the world, a "grid" of essentialist reading that goes beyond the concepts of nature or culture.

The artist works according to the principle of the series. His paintings are numbered - a way of escaping the law of the masterpiece. In the 1930s, he began to be exhibited in France, joined the Cercle et Carré group, and then became a member of Abstraction-Création, although this painting was not yet entirely in fashion in France. But Alexander Calder, who discovers it, is captivated.

In 1940, Mondrian left for the United States and settled in New York. The city, with its high skyscrapers and its rectilinear grid, inspires it. Jazz lovers, he likes this atmosphere stimulated by the arrival of many artists from the European avant-garde in the context of the Second World War. Mondrian finds great recognition in the United States. He died there in 1944. continue to read: