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Piet Mondrian "Painter of tiny squares"
Object & Design Magazine
Piet Mondrian, the «painter of tiny squares» is one of the most prolific modern artists of all time. Dutch by birth, Mondrian created his work around the magazine, De Stijl, the main medium by which Neo-plasticism spread. In this way, he developed an iconic approach towards painting that inspired generations of future artists and designers.
For great innovators like Mondrian, art had to be represented by means of straight lines and pure colours. This was because what was rectilinear and chromatically pure was a symbol of the expression of the cosmic order.
In 1912, Mondrian moved to Paris, where he became inspired by Cubist artists such as Picasso and Braque. He returned to Holland during the First World War and continued developing his own artistic style.
When the Second World War broke out, the artist returned to the Netherlands, where he met those who would become his companions in the movement, Bart Van Der Leck and Theo van Doesburg. With them and some others (architects, designers, etc) he founded the magazine.
De Stijl, through which this group of artists wanted to represent the absolute truths of the universe. De Stijl quickly evolved from the name of a magazine into an artistic movement that made waves all over the world. Its aesthetic, consisting of reduced forms and primary colours was applied to painting, graphic design, furniture, architecture, and other disciplines. However, Mondrian eventually distanced himself from the group when he disagreed with Van Doesburg over the use of diagonal lines. In the end, Van Doesburg, who was bored by all the monotonous lines, ended up using diagonals, and an offended Mondrian separated from the group once and for all owing to such sacrilege. After this he travelled, exporting his artistic vision for a brief period to London before finally settling down in New York, where art collectors such as Peggy Guggenheim were receptive to him. From that moment on, his works showed the repercussions of jazz, which were, for him, the equivalent of a composition of marked black lines and primary colours that finally evolved to consist of coloured cubes. His last work, “Victory Boogie Woogie”, remained unfinished when he died of pneumonia in 1944. Even so, it is one of his most famous works. Mondrian’s former home in Winterswijk has also turned into a fascinating museum called Villa Mondrian. It is worthwhile taking the opportunity to follow in his steps, see where he learned to paint, understand his first influences, and admire the landscapes that inspired his first works.Read more Close