Monday, February 20, 2012

Mondrian, Piet

Night Landscape (Landschap bij nacht)
c.1907 - 1908
Oil on canvas
35 x 50.2 cm
Private collection

Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) seemed more a scientist or priest than an artist.
He was a Dutch Abstract painter of the first half of the 20th Century.

At the beginning of his career, Piet Mondrian firmly rooted in the representational form, favoring naturalistic and impressionistic landscapes. His early work reflected the influence of avant-garde trends such as Post-Impressionism and Cubism. Then he advocated a style called “neoplasticism,” which entailed complete rejection of visually perceived reality as subject matter and the restriction of a pictorial language to its most basic elements of the straight line, primary colors, and the neutrals of black, white, and gray. After that, inspired by New York City's pulsating life and the new rhythms of musical forms such as jazz, he replaced his austere patterns with a series of small squares and rectangles that coalesced into a flow of colorful vertical and horizontal lines.

A contemporary and disciple of the famous cubists Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, Mondrian challenged the definition of art itself, working with simple lines, right angles, correct geometric figures and pure, primary colors. His work attained a level of abstraction far beyond that of even his most progressive colleagues. The consistent development of Mondrian's art toward complete abstraction was an outstanding feat in the history of modern art, and his work foreshadowed the rise of abstract art in the 1940s and '50s.
He died of pneumonia on February 1, 1944 and was interred in the Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.