R.B. Kitaj, 'Mort' 1966
R.B. Kitaj
Mort 1966
© The estate of R. B. Kitaj

Artist biography

Piet Mondrian 1872-1944

Dutch pioneer of abstract art, who developed from early landscape pictures to geometric abstract works of a most rigorous kind. Born in Amersfoort, Utrecht. Studied painting at the Amsterdam Academy 1892-4 and again, part-time, 1896-7. Friendship with the painter Simon Mans and painted landscapes in the Hague School tradition. Began to work in a more vividly coloured and sometimes pointillist style in 1908, joined the Theosophic Organisation in 1909 and made some works of a Symbolist character. First one-man exhibition with C.R.H. Spoor and Jan Sluyters at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1909. Lived in Paris 1912-14; was influenced by Cubism, which he carried to the point of abstraction. Returned to Holland in 1914 and step by step evolved a more simplified abstract style which he called Neo-Plasticism, restricted to the three primary colours and to a grid of black vertical and horizontal lines on a white ground; associated with van Doesburg in the de Stijl movement 1917-25. Lived 1919-38 in Paris where he joined the group Abstraction-Création in 1931. Moved to London 1938-40, living near Gabo and Ben Nicholson, then in 1940 to New York where he started to develop a more colourful style, with coloured lines and syncopated rhythms. Died in New York.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.532-3

Wikipedia entry

Pieter Cornelis "Piet" Mondriaan, after 1906 Mondrian (/ˈmɔːndriˌɑːn, ˈmɒn-/; Dutch: [ˈpit ˈmɔndrijaːn], later [ˈmɔndrijɑn]; 7 March 1872 – 1 February 1944), was a Dutch painter.

Mondrian was a contributor to the De Stijl art movement and group, which was founded by Theo van Doesburg. He evolved a non-representational form which he termed neoplasticism. This consisted of white ground, upon which he painted a grid of vertical and horizontal black lines and the three primary colors.

Mondrian's arrival in Paris from the Netherlands in 1911 marked the beginning of a period of profound change. He encountered experiments in Cubism and with the intent of integrating himself within the Parisian avant-garde removed an 'a' from the Dutch spelling of his name (Mondriaan).

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TateShots: Piet Mondrian

Co-curator Michael White explores how Mondrian's studio became a way of creating abstract space outside his paintings.


Abstraction and Interpretation Study Day – Part 2: Paul Wood on Mondrian and Malevich

Session 1: An Introduction to the Idea of Abstraction and Interpretation