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Piet Mondriaanartist • painter • watercolourist • draughtsmanAmersfoort 1872-1944 New York (Verenigde Staten)

biography of Pieter Cornelis 'Piet' Mondriaan

Piet Mondriaan (1872-1944) is considered one of the most influential artists of his time as one of the pioneers of abstract art. But before he discovered his unique signature, he went through a drastic style development during his career. Mondrian started his artist career with impressionist paintings, after which he developed in Symbolism and Cubism. Ultimately, his views on art resulted in an abstract form of painting in which, from 1925, he depicted nature in abstract horizontal and vertical lines and areas of color.
Born in Amersfoort, he moved to Winterswijk at the age of eight, where his father became head teacher at the Christian School. Christian thought played an important role in the family, which is reflected in Mondrian's almost devout devotion to achieving the ideal of perfect purity, harmony and austerity in his work. Mondriaan goes through primary school, two years of secondary school and obtains the certificate of Primary and Secondary Education Signature. In between, he also takes lessons from his uncle Frits Mondriaan. In 1892 he moves to Amsterdam to study painting at the Rijksacademie. He becomes a member of the artists' association Arti et Amicitiae en Sint Lucas, which gives him access to the official exhibition circuit. These years are characterized by hard work to provide for its maintenance and numerous relocations.
Mondrian's early work in the years just before the turn of the century consists of landscapes in the tradition of the Hague and Amsterdam School. Around his thirties he became interested in basic geometric shapes. His philosophy is that this form language is the basis of everything, despite the fact that it never occurs as such in nature. He immersed himself in the teachings of Theosophy and in 1908 became a member of the Theosophical Society. In Domburg he meets Jan Toorop, who awakens his interest in Symbolism. He paints portraits of women and flowers – his triptych Evolution is a clear reflection of his theosophical thoughts and depicts the three stages of spiritual awakening.
Between 1900 and 1911, in the vicinity of Abcoude, he painted a series of landscapes with mills in the vicinity of the river Gein. In these landscapes he focuses more and more intensively on the effect of light, sun or moon. The compositions gradually become more daring: 'cut off' windmills and a strong austerity of the composition with horizontals and verticals. His style developed in these years from naturalistic-impressionistic to pre-luministic. Influenced by the work of Jan Sluijters, among others, his color palette changes into a powerful, eventually almost Fauvist color range. The works that were created in the first decade of the 20th century have been important for the further development of his artistry, because they are also a prelude to his innovative geometric-abstract art. Mondriaan gradually detaches himself from visible reality and experiments with colours, image construction and simplification of forms
From 1911 to 1914, Mondrian lives and workes in Paris, where he became acquainted with the experimental avant-garde and immediately changed his name to Mondrian. He feels enormous admiration for the brutality of the Fauvism of artists such as Henri Matisse and Kees Van Dongen. But he is even more attracted to the cubism of Picasso and Fernand Léger, who strongly influence his work. In August 1914, when the First World War breaks out, Mondrian is in the Netherlands and cannot return to Paris. But the development of his work continues in contact with Theo van Doesburg and Bart van der Leck, who invite him to contribute to a new art magazine, De Stijl, which was founded in 1917. The artists who joined De Stijl sought ways to achieve the greatest possible harmony and universality in art, which could only be achieved through the use of geometric shapes. The design language was limited to rectangles, squares and lines in the primary colors red, yellow and blue, supplemented by white, gray and black. Mondriaan publishes several articles and introduces the term neoplasticism in them. At the same time, he puts his words into action and from 1917 onwards all naturalism disappears from his work and gradually every movement and depth disappears.
In 1919 Mondrian returns to Paris, where he focuses on the principles of Nieuwe Beelding (New Plasticism) or neoplasticism. He breaks with Van Doesburg who sticks to secondary colors and Mondriaan embroiders on the diamond-shaped canvases he already made in the Netherlands. With his compositions of primary colours, horizontal and vertical lines and even color areas, he wants to evoke a sense of harmony, which is connected with the greater cosmic equilibrium. He wants to create absolute 'beauty'. From 1921, the well-known broad black lines appear in his work, which delimit the rectangular and square surfaces of the compositions. His most famous works, compositions in red, yellow and blue with horizontal and vertical lines, appear from 1925.
Like many European artists, Mondrian left for New York just before the outbreak of the Second World War in 1940. There he is inspired by jazz and boogie woogie music and continues to develop new ideas. His last painting, the famous Victory Boogie Woogie that he made in 1944, is more playful than the last strict works he made in Europe. It consists of colored blocks – in line with his last line of thought that a painted line is not essentially different from a painted surface. Unfortunately, he has not been able to expand on this latter line of thought. On February 1, 1944, he died of pneumonia, leaving the canvas unfinished. Mondrian's oeuvre with its almost linear stylistic development has led to a revolution in painting. He is regarded as one of the pioneers of pure abstract painting, the direction taken by the avant-garde from the last phase of modern art.


for salepaintings, watercolours and drawings by Piet Mondriaan


Piet Mondriaan | Landscape near Montmorency, oil on canvas, 46.3 x 55.2 cm, signed l.r. and on the reverse and dated on the reverse 8 Aug. '30

Piet Mondriaan

painting • for sale

Landscape near Montmorency, 1930

Piet Mondriaan | View of the river Seine, oil on canvas, 54.2 x 73.1 cm, signed l.l. and painted in 1931

Piet Mondriaan

painting • for sale

View of the river Seine, 1931

Piet Mondriaan | Farm with tree, oil on board laid down on panel, 75.5 x 64.0 cm, painted circa 1906-1907

Piet Mondriaan

painting • for sale

Farm with tree, ca. 1906-1907

Piet Mondriaan | A haystack, oil on canvas, 63.3 x 51.9 cm, signed l.r. and painted between 1897-1898

Piet Mondriaan

painting • for sale

A haystack, ca. 1897-1898

Piet Mondriaan | Geinrust farm with Isolated Tree at left, oil on canvas, 47.7 x 63.8 cm, signed l.r. and painted ca. 1905-1906

Piet Mondriaan

painting • for sale

Geinrust farm with Isolated Tree at left, ca. 1905-1906


previously for salepaintings, watercolours and drawings by Piet Mondriaan


Piet Mondriaan | The ponds in the Haagse Bos, oil on panel, 24.3 x 29.6 cm, signed l.l. and dated '87

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

The ponds in the Haagse Bos, 1887

Piet Mondriaan | The Oostzijdse Mill at the Gein, viewed from the Landzicht farmhouse, oil on canvas, 27.5 x 40.5 cm, signed l.r. and painted ca. 1902-1903

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

The Oostzijdse Mill at the Gein, viewed from the Landzicht farmhouse, ca. 1902-1903

Piet Mondriaan | A small farmhouse, oil on canvas, 32.7 x 46.2 cm, signed l.l. and ca. 1905-1907

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

A small farmhouse

Piet Mondriaan | Cattle in an orchard, oil on canvas, 50.2 x 69.3 cm, signed l.l. and painted 1902-1903

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

Cattle in an orchard

Piet Mondriaan | A farm behind a fence, oil on canvas laid down on panel, 20.5 x 29.1 cm, signed l.l. and to be dated 1897-1900 poss. 1904

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

A farm behind a fence

Piet Mondriaan | Calves in the meadow - 'het white bull-calf', oil on canvas laid down on board, 31.0 x 39.1 cm, signed l.r. and painted ca. 1905

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

Calves in the meadow - 'het white bull-calf'

Piet Mondriaan | The 'Broekzijdse Molen' along the Gein, oil on canvas laid down on panel, 34.6 x 46.3 cm, signed l.r. and painted ca. 1905

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

The 'Broekzijdse Molen' along the Gein

Piet Mondriaan | A summer's night, a study, oil on canvas, 32.3 x 44.1 cm, signed l.r. and painted 1906-1907

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

A summer's night, a study

Piet Mondriaan | The river Gein with the Oostzijdse Molen by sunset, oil on canvas, 75.2 x 132.4 cm, signed l.r. and painted circa 1907

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

The river Gein with the Oostzijdse Molen by sunset

Piet Mondriaan | Portrait of Mrs. L.C.M. Rijnen-van den Bosch, oil on panel, 49.1 x 38.7 cm, signed m.r. and painted 1914-1915 (Joosten) or 1908-1911 (Bax)

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

Portrait of Mrs. L.C.M. Rijnen-van den Bosch

Piet Mondriaan | Portrait of C.M.J.W. Rijnen, oil on panel, 49.6 x 39.1 cm, signed r.c. and painted 1914-1915 (Joosten) or 1908-1911 (Bax)

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

Portrait of C.M.J.W. Rijnen

Piet Mondriaan | The river Gein with the Oostzijdse Molen, oil on canvas, 63.0 x 75.4 cm, signed l.l. and painted circa 1902-1903

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

The river Gein with the Oostzijdse Molen

Piet Mondriaan | Farmstead with long row of trees on the Gein, oil on canvas, 35.8 x 45.3 cm, painted in 1905-1907

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

Farmstead with long row of trees on the Gein

Piet Mondriaan | Landscape near Montmorency, oil on canvas, 46.3 x 55.2 cm, signed l.r. and on the reverse and dated on the reverse 8 Aug. '30

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

Landscape near Montmorency

Piet Mondriaan | A farm along a waterway, oil on canvas laid down on panel, 23.5 x 32.0 cm, signed l.r. and painted circa 1903

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

A farm along a waterway

Piet Mondriaan | Cows by a stream, oil on canvas laid down on painter's board, 37.4 x 27.1 cm, signed l.l. and painted between 1902-1905

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

Cows by a stream

Piet Mondriaan | A shipyard, oil on canvas, 31.0 x 37.3 cm, signed l.r.

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

A shipyard

Piet Mondriaan | A haystack, oil on canvas, 63.3 x 51.9 cm, signed l.r. and painted between 1897-1898

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

A haystack

Piet Mondriaan | View of the river Seine, oil on canvas, 54.2 x 73.1 cm, signed l.l. and painted in 1931

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

View of the river Seine, ca. 1931

Piet Mondriaan | A farm along the river Gein, oil on canvas, 62.0 x 74.5 cm

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

A farm along the river Gein

Piet Mondriaan | A yard, oil on canvas, 30.8 x 44.0 cm

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

A yard

Piet Mondriaan | On the Lappenbrink, Winterswijk, the Netherlands, oil on canvas laid down on board, 33.5 x 45.0 cm, signed l.l.

Piet Mondriaan

painting • previously for sale

On the Lappenbrink, Winterswijk, the Netherlands

Piet Mondriaan | Lily, charcoal on paper, 25.9 x 19.0 cm, signed l.r. 'P. Mondrian' and executed 1912 or after 1921

Piet Mondriaan

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

Lily, 1912

Piet Mondriaan | The Oostzijdse Molen on the river Gein near Abcoude, black and white chalk on paper, 24.5 x 36.0 cm, signed l.l. and dated 1903

Piet Mondriaan

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

The Oostzijdse Molen on the river Gein near Abcoude

Piet Mondriaan | A flowering apple tree, coloured pencil on paper, 19.0 x 25.0 cm, signed l.l. and painted circa 1917

Piet Mondriaan

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

A flowering apple tree

Piet Mondriaan | A farm near Duivendrecht; detailed examination of a barn, pencil on paper, 16.7 x 11.7 cm, painted circa 1905

Piet Mondriaan

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

A farm near Duivendrecht; detailed examination of a barn

Piet Mondriaan | Farm near Duivendrecht; detailed examination of a barn, pencil on paper, 16.6 x 11.7 cm, painted circa 1905

Piet Mondriaan

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

Farm near Duivendrecht; detailed examination of a barn

Piet Mondriaan | A branch, a study, pencil on paper, 16.8 x 11.7 cm, painted circa 1905

Piet Mondriaan

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

A branch, a study

Piet Mondriaan | A farm near Duivendrecht, detailed examination of the right side, black chalk on paper, 13.6 x 15.0 cm, painted circa 1905

Piet Mondriaan

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

A farm near Duivendrecht, detailed examination of the right side

Piet Mondriaan | A farmstead, chalk on paper, 11.7 x 16.8 cm, painted circa 1905

Piet Mondriaan

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

A farmstead

Piet Mondriaan | A farm in a landscape, with Arnhem in the distance, watercolour and gouache on paper, 46.0 x 65.0 cm, signed l.r. and painted ca. 1901

Piet Mondriaan

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

A farm in a landscape, with Arnhem in the distance

Piet Mondriaan | View of the Amstel, pencil on paper, 19.0 x 25.0 cm, signed l.r.

Piet Mondriaan

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

View of the Amstel

Piet Mondriaan | On their way to the church, watercolour on paper, 15.5 x 6.0 cm, signed l.c.

Piet Mondriaan

watercolour • drawing • previously for sale

On their way to the church


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