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Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan

Born: 1872 AD
Died: 1944 AD
Nationality: Dutch
Categories: Artists, Educators, Painters, Teacher

1872 – Pieter Cornelis (Piet) Mondriaan, born on the 7th of March at Amersfoort and trained at the Amsterdam Academy. He first followed the naturalism of the Haguc school but awareness of new tendencies and also an interest in Theosophy led him to become more selective from among the form’s before him and the colors on his palette.

1908 – He was using the bright colors of fauvism, though in a flat and controlled manner, for paintings of isolated motifs’ church tower, windmill, tree.

1910 – 1911 – His Evolution triptych is a triple image of a woman’s spiritual development, close in pose and style to his Red Windmill Simplification led him to Cubism. The two versions of Still Life with a Ginger Pot are Cezannist and Cubist, but his Cubism is to do with structure, not with ambiguities of representation.

1912 – He moved to Paris, where he dropped one of the ‘a’s from his original name, Mondriaan. In his new paintings, Cubism becomes a means of structuring and of recording degrees of visibility in observing buildings and trees.

1914 – His work appear abstract though still derived from seen motifs. That summer he visited Holland and was kept there by the outbreak of war. While it ran its course, he sought further clarification. The Tier and Ocean’ series of  short vertical and horizontal black lines on white grounds, conveys UK scene by minimal means that still suggest observation.

1915 – He had met Van Doesburg.

1916 – He met Van der Leck and began to write the essays that were published in De Stijl, and brought together in Paris as neo-plasticism.

1919 –  He had returned to Paris.

1921 – He attained his pictorial languuage asymmetrical arrangements of rectangles of primary color held by a structure of black bands on a white ground, using rectangular or square canvases mounted so as to project rather than be contained in a frame. Some of these are diamond-shaped again, and he wanted them hung higher than normal, according them a quasi-religious status. That cannot describe the visual force of all these icon-like paintings, the patiently worked density of his paint surface, the attention given to the location and varying breadth of the bands, also to hues and intensities of his primaries and whites, the amazing range of expression they carry.

1922 – A 50th birthday exhibition in Amsterdam had little succees; a De Stijl exhibition shown in Paris brought art-world notice but little money.

1925 – He withdrew from De Stijl because of Van Doesburg’s call for the use of diagonal structures. Mondrian held to the vertical/horizontal but again demonstrated the use of the diamond format.

1942 – 1943 – Popular music and city sensations contributed to this new dynamism, sensed as exaltation in Broadway Boogie-Woogie and in the unfinished diamond-format Victory Boogie-Woogie.

1944 – Died on the 1st of February due to Pneumonia in New York City.