Art & Design/Western Art/Piet Mondrian

Modern Artist: Piet Mondrian

- The most basic form & pigments of imagination of a minimalist like myself -

I was inspired to create the above graphic by a prominent Dutch painter named Piet Mondrian who created the following Neoplactic masterpiece:

Composition with Red, Yellow, and Blue (1937-1942)

Composition with Red, Yellow, and Blue.
Oil on canvas.
73 x 69 cm (28.7 x 27.2 in)


Composition with Red, Yellow, and Blue is characteristic of the artist’s later work, for which he is best known. Mondrian created a new style called Neoplasticism, based on some of the ideas of the cubists. He created a series of almost identical geometric paintings based on a theory of universal harmony. Neoplasticism is the theory and practice of the de Stijl group, chiefly characterized by an emphasis on the formal structure of a work of art, and restriction of spatial or linear relations to vertical and horizontal movements as well as restriction of the artist's palette to black, white, and the primary colors.


Mondrian, Piet (Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan) 1872–1944, Dutch painter, who carried abstraction to its furthest limits. Through radical simplification of composition and color, he sought to expose the basic principles that underlie all appearances. He developed "neoplastic" aesthetic involving reduction of paintings to elements of straight lines, primary colors, noncolors.

Mondrian became the most radical abstractionist artist of his era. After studying cubism, Mondrian’s work became increasingly nonrepresentational, until his compositions such as Composition with Red, Yellow, and Blue above, which consists of flat planes of the three primary colors broken by black lines. In this new art form (Neoplasticism) Mondrian’s goal was to eliminate all traces of representation in favor of balanced compositions of primary color and vertical and horizontal lines. In other word, Neoplasticism represents the absolute elements—primary colors and vertical and horizontal lines—that underlie all appearances. He used vertical and horizontal lines to show that the canvas was a place consisting of right angles. His achievement of balance between unequal parts affected the direction of art, architecture, and industrial design. The movement associated with Mondrian’s style was named "de Stijl," after the magazine he formed in 1917.

Composition with Black, Red, Gray, Yellow, and Blue (1874)

Composition with Black, Red, Gray, Yellow, and Blue

Born in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, on March 7, 1872, n้ Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan, Mondrian embarked on an artistic career over his family's objections, studying at the Amsterdam Academy of Fine Arts. His early works, through 1907, were calm landscapes painted in delicate grays, mauves, and dark greens. In 1908, under the influence of the Dutch painter Jan Toorop, he began to experiment with brighter colors; this represented the beginning of his attempts to transcend nature. Moving to Paris in 1911, Mondrian adopted a cubist-influenced style, producing analytical series such as Trees (1912-1913) and Scaffoldings (1912-1914). He moved progressively from seminaturalism through increased abstraction, arriving finally at a style in which he limited himself to small vertical and horizontal brushstrokes.

In 1917 Mondrian and the Dutch painter Theo van Doesburg founded de Stijl magazine, in which Mondrian developed his theories of a new art form Neoplasticism. He maintained that art should not concern itself with reproducing images of real objects, but should express only the universal absolutes that underlie reality. He rejected all sensuous qualities of texture, surface, and color, reducing his palette to flat primary colors. His belief that a canvas—a plane surface—should contain only planar elements led to his abolition of all curved lines in favor of straight lines and right angles. His masterly application of these theories led to such works as Composition with Red, Yellow, and Blue Blue (1937-1942, Tate Gallery, London), in which the painting, composed solely of a few black lines and well-balanced blocks of color, creates a monumental effect out of all proportion to its carefully limited means.

Broadway Boogie Woogie (1942-1943)

Broadway Boogie-Woogie
Museum of Modern Art, New York City

When Mondrian moved to New York City in 1940, his style became freer and more rhythmic, and he abandoned severe black lines in favor of lively chain-link patterns of bright colors, particularly notable in his last complete masterwork, Broadway Boogie-Woogie (1942-1943, Museum of Modern Art, New York City).

Mondrian was one of the most influential 20th-century artists. His theories of abstraction and simplification not only altered the course of painting but also exerted a profound influence on architecture, industrial design, and the graphic arts. Mondrian died in New York on February 1, 1944.


DE STIJL (Dutch meaning, “The Style")

Dutch arts movement started in Amsterdam in 1917, and the periodical by the same name. de Stijl was dedicated to abstraction that would create a universal response from all viewers based on a quest for harmony and order. Among the founders of the movement were the painters Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg, who also established its journal, de Stijl (1917-1932). The spare, abstract style that they advocated was also known as Neoplasticism. It rejected all representation and restricted the elements of artistic expression to the use of straight lines, right angles, pure primary colors (blue, red, and yellow), and the so-called non-colors of black, gray, and white. De Stijl principles also influenced the decorative arts, especially architecture, exemplified by the austere clarity of the Schr๖der House (1924) in Utrecht, by architect and industrial designer Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, and the Workers’ Housing Estate (1924-1927) in Hook of Holland, by architect Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud.

Composition with Yellow, Black, Blue, Red, and Gray (1921)

Composition with Yellow, Black, Blue, Red, and Gray

In 1917 Dutch painters Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg founded an artistic group known as de Stijl. Other members included painter Bart van der Leck, sculptor Georges van Tongerloo, and architect Gerrit Rietveld. Like the suprematists and constructivists, many of the artists of de Stijl were committed to the idea of abstract art and to the view that it had a purpose beyond mere decoration. Art, they felt, could change the nature of society and create a new kind of human environment. Mondrian's Composition with Red, Yellow, and Blue reveals de Stijl's tendency to reduce painting to its most essential elements. Horizontal and vertical black lines divide the white canvas into rectangles, some of which are painted red, yellow, or blue. The surface of the painting reveals nothing impulsive or intuitive; everything seems (but was not always) pre-planned in the mind of the artist. Intending their work to look impersonal and machinelike, de Stijl artists echoed the cubists and futurists in their hope that a new society could be built by rejecting individuality and embracing a collective will.

Although Mondrian's rectilinear geometry is worlds apart from Kandinsky's dynamic and apocalyptic images, both artists were dedicated to the idea of abstract art and shared the belief that abstraction could convey philosophical meaning. Just as Kandinsky saw his abstractions as conveying a sense of spirituality, Mondrian saw the asymmetrical grids of his compositions as metaphors for the balancing of opposing forces: man and nature, individual and society, and so forth. These ideas were so central to Mondrian’s work that he envisioned his compositions as the basis for architecture and interior design, a vision that Rietveld and other architects later helped fulfill.

New York City (1941-1942)

New York City

Modern Architecture: de Stijl--The houses of Frank Lloyd Wright, with their open, flowing floor plans, had seemed strikingly original to European architects before World War I. But after the war, European architects began to strip away the heavy masonry of Wright's buildings to reveal the purity of his flowing plans, typically in modern glass structures with interlocking volumes. Among the first to do so were members of the de Stijl group in the Netherlands. This diverse group of architects, artists, and craftspeople was active from 1917 to 1931.

Dutch painter Piet Mondrian and designers Theo van Doesburg and Gerrit Rietveld were the chief exponents of de Stijl. The spare intersecting planes in primary colors of Mondrian's paintings found architectural realization in the Schr๖der House (1924) in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Designed by Rietveld and the client, Truus Schr๖der, the house featured steel beams and industrial railings set off by solid red and white walls. Sliding panels enabled the occupant to choose between a single expansive space or separate sleeping, eating, bathing, or work rooms.

Composition with Color Planes and Gray Lines (1918)

Composition with Color Planes and Gray Lines

Source: Encarta Encyclopedia.

Picture Horizontal Line Home Gayly Venomously BryonyTrinity Gayly Venomously BryonyTrinity The Perfectionist's Sanctuary The Perfectionist's Sanctuary
English to Thai Translation | Thai to English Translation Bilingual Translations My English & Thai Poetry Poetry Digital Photo Galleries Digital Photography
Art & Graphic Design Art & Design Gallery New Stuff on What's New?
Click to Search My Site Site Search's Site Map Site Map    
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Authored, designed and maintained by Bryan.
All Web contents © 2001- Bryan Wathabunditkul. All rights reserved.
No part of this Web site may be reproduced, in any forms or by any means,
without permission in writing from me.

Feel free to e-mail me :-)