Monday, September 14, 2009


Trafalgar Square (1939-1943)
Composition C (1920)
Broadway Boogie-Woogie (1942-1943)

These are some of my favorite paintings by PIET MONDRIAN on display at the Museum of Modern Art. Mondrian was a Dutch painter and an important contributor to the De Stijl art movement, which was founded by Theo van Doesburg. Despite being well-known, often-parodied, and even trivialized, Mondrian's paintings exhibit a complexity that belie their apparent simplicity. The non-representational paintings for which he is best known, consisting of rectangular forms of red, yellow, blue, or black, separated by thick, black, rectilinear lines, are actually the result of a stylistic evolution that occurred over the course of nearly thirty years, and which continued beyond that point to the end of his life. Born at Amersfoort in The Netherlands as Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan, 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 Holland depict windmills, fields, and rivers, initially in the Dutch Impressionist manner of The Hague School, and then using a variety of styles and techniques documenting his search for a personal voice. 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. (info from

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