Piet Mondrian

Essay by tuliptornadoA+, June 2004

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

Downloaded 44 times


Piet Mondrian was born Pieter Cornelias Mondrian Jr. in the Netherlands in 1872 and studied at an art academy called the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam from 1892 to 1897. Mondrian's works up to 1908 were naturalistic, incorporating successive influences of academic landscapes and still-life painting, Dutch Impressionism and Symbolism.

In 1908 he began to make annual trips to Domburg in Zeeland and in 1909, he experimented with Pointillism. By 1911 Mondrian had begun to work in a Cubist style and decided to move to Paris after seeing original Cubist works by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso at the first Moderne Kunstkring exhibition in Amsterdam. In Paris from 1912 to 1914, Mondrian began to develop an independent abstract style.

Mondrian visited his ill father in Holland in 1914 and due to the outbreak of the First World War, he was forced to stay there. During the war years in Holland Mondrian further reduced his colours and geometric shapes and formed his non-objective Neo-Plastic style.

Mondrian met Bark van der Leck in 1916 and joined his new art alliance De Stijl, which also involved Theo van Doesburg and Georges Vantorgerloo. De Stijl extended its principles of abstraction and simplification beyond painting and sculpture to architecture, and graphic and industrial design. As a member of De Stijl, Mondrian wrote articles for the alliance's magazine in which he tried to explain his ideas and principles.

He returned to Paris in 1919 and exhibited with De Stijl in 1923. However, in 1925 he withdrew from the group after van Doesburg reintroduced diagonal elements and the colour green into his works. Van Doesburg also left De Stijl and started the new alliance Abstraction-Création. Mondrian started using diagonals and different colours and reformed ties with van Doesburg in 1931 when he joined Abstraction-Création.