Sunrise Mondrian by Jenie Yolland kilnformed glass

Piet Mondrian

I made this piece of glass and was told it was just like a work by Piet Mondrian…so here is a brief snapshot about who Piet Mondrian was, I do hope you enjoy finding out about him.   I am now on a quest to make many more vibrant works that remind us of him and his philosophy.

The artistic philosophy of the De Stijl movement that formed the basis of the group’s work is known as neoplasticism (the new plastic art or the Nieuwe Beelding in Dutch),  Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) was one of the group’s principal members.

Piet Mondriaan's birthplace in Amersfoort.

Piet Mondriaan’s birthplace in Amersfoort

Piet Mondrian was born in Amersfoort in the Netherlands.

His father Pieter Cornelius Mondriaan, was Head Teacher at the local primary school and also a qualified drawing teacher & with his uncle Fritz Mondriaan (a pupil of the Hague School) they both took young Piet to paint and drew along the River Gein.    Here is the house where they lived at this time.

Mondrian house

Mondrian house

In 1892 Mondrian entered the Amsterdam Academy for Fine art.  Most of his work from this period were landscapes, pastoral images, windmills, rivers etc.  lots of these works can be seen in the Gemeentemuseum in Hague.

View from the dunes with beach and piers domburg oil and pencil on cardboard painting by mondrian 1909 museum of modern art new york city.

View from the dunes with beach and Piers Domburg oil and pencil on cardboard painting by Mondrian 1909 museum of modern art New York City.

Proponents of De Stijl advocated pure abstraction and universality by a reduction to the essentials of form and colour;  they simplified visual compositions to the vertical and horizontal directions, and used only primary colours along with black and white.

Mondrian wrote an essay on this titled “Neo-Plasticism in Pictorial Art”  – he says “this new plastic idea will ignore the particulars of appearance, that is to say, natural form and colour.  On the contrary, it should find its expression in the abstraction of form and colour  in the straight line and the clearly defined primary colour”.

The works of the De Stijl group avoided symmetry and attained aesthetic balance by the use of opposition.  Their formal vocabulary was limited to the primary colours, red, yellow, and blue and the three primary values, black, white and grey.

Extract from Dutch magazine De Stijl, with 'klankbeelden' by theo van Doesburg

Extract from Dutch magazine De Stijl, with ‘klankbeelden’ by theo van Doesburg

You can see this element of the movement which embodies the second meaning of stijl “a post,  jamb or support”.

In 1911 Mondrian moved to Paris and changed his name to Mondrian (from Mondrianne) he was influenced by the cubist style of Picasso and Georges Braque.  Paintings such as The Sea (1912) and his other studies of trees still contain geometric shapes and interlocking planes.

Mondrian gray trees (1912)

Mondrian gray trees (1911)

Mondrian published “De Nieuwe Beelding in de schilderkunst” (“The New Plastic in Painting”)in twelve installments during 1917 and 1918. This was his first major attempt to express his artistic theory in writing.

Mondrian’s best and most-often quoted expression of this theory, however, comes from a letter he wrote to H.P. Bremmer in 1914:

“I construct lines and color combinations on a flat surface, in order to express general beauty with the utmost awareness. Nature (or, that which I see) inspires me, puts me, as with any painter, in an emotional state so that an urge comes about to make something, but I want to come as close as possible to the truth and abstract everything from that, until I reach the foundation (still just an external foundation!) of things…

I believe it is possible that, through horizontal and vertical lines constructed with awareness, but not with calculation, led by high intuition, and brought to harmony and rhythm, these basic forms of beauty, supplemented if necessary by other direct lines or curves, can become a work of art, as strong as it is true.”

Piet Mondrian and Petro van Doesburg

Piet Mondrian and Petro van Doesburg

In the early paintings of this style the lines delineating the rectangular forms and relatively thin, and they are gray, not black.  The lines also tend to fade as they approach the edge of the painting, rather than stopping abruptly.  The forms themselves, smaller and more numerous than in later paintings.

1924 however, he broke with the group after van Doesburg proposed the theory of elementarism, proposing that the diagonal line was more vital than the horizontal and the vertical.

Mondrian 1930

Mondrian 1930

As the years passed and Mondrian’s work evolved further, he began extending all of the lines to the edges of the canvas and he also began to use fewer and fewer coloured forms, favouring white instead.

His work continued to progressed, his lines began to take precedence over forms in his painting.  He began to use thinner lines and double lines more and more, punctuated with a few small coloured forms.  Double lines particularly excited Mondrian, for he believed they offered his paintings a new dynamism which he was eager to explore.

Mondrian 1937

Mondrian 1937

With the advance of fascism he moved to London in 1938. and in 1940 leaving for Manhattan where he remained until his death.  His later works were very busy, with more and more lines than any of his previous works.

Mondrian produced this work “Composition”  which introduced a shocking innovation – thick coloured lines (instead of black ones)…he appears to have taken unfisished black line paitings from his Paris days and completed them in New York.  The newly coloured areas are thick and unusally for Mondrian, unbounded by black.

Broadway Boogie Woogie 1942-43 by Piet Mondrian

Broadway Boogie Woogie 1942-43 by Piet Mondrian

His Composition no 10, 1939-1942, clearly defined Mondrian’s radical but classical approach to the rectangle.

Piet Mondrian

Piet Mondrian

and being generally unaware of this history, I created these pieces that are surprisingly in very much the same vein.  Form line and function together with strong lines.Scarlet Mondrian by Jenie Yolland

and another piece:Mondrian Multicolour by Jenie Yolland

 

turquoise yellow mondrian inspired by Jenie Yolland

 

and another inspired by the design of Mondrian and the colours of a gorgeous day at the beach.  I wonder what colours would describe a gorgeous day at the beach to you?  Please let me know here on  the blog.  Thankyou.

Turquoise-yellow-mondrian-by-Jenie-Yolland-13turquoise & yellow mondrian inspired by Jenie Yollandturquoise yellow mondrian inspired by Jenie Yollandturquoise yellow mondrian inspired by Jenie Yollandscarlet mondrian 30 x 30 cmsSave

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