piet mondrian what type of art
Although he is best known for his abstract paintings made from squares and rectangles, Piet Mondrian started out painting realistic scenes. He especially liked painting trees.
Mondrian did not use a ruler to measure out his lines! He thought carefully about where to place the lines, like those that you see in this painting. Notice how the red, yellow and blue are placed to the side and the centre of painting doesn’t have any colour. Mondrian often used colour and composition in this way. (A composition is the arrangement of shapes and images in a picture).
Piet Mondrian was born in the Netherlands, and received his formal training there; he attended the Rijksadame van Beeldende in Amsterdam. Mondrian grew up during a time of lively developments in art. In the year in which he was born, in France, Claude Monet painted Impression, Sunrise, which initiated some of the greatest repercussions the art world had seen since the Renaissance. When Mondrian was 12 years old, Georges Seurat began painting in dots of pure color, rather than blending colours on his palette. Six years later, Mondrian’s fellow countryman, Vincent van Gogh, shot himself in a cornfield, and 12 years after that Pablo Picasso painted Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, a work that profoundly affected painting and the way in which artists perceived themselves.
In the summer of 1914 Mondrian returned to the Netherlands to visit his father, who was seriously ill, and the outbreak of World War I prevented him from returning to Paris. During this period, when he was at home and in Holland, he decided to work on an abstract art form which later on was classified as neoplastic style. The work which he produced during this period was depicted by lighter colors, simplified color selection, and forms that were balanced in their compositions. He also developed work which delved in to the spiritual realm, and created more of a connection with religion, and his faith, as opposed to the prior works which were not focused on this point.
At the age of 71 in the fall of 1943, Mondrian moved into his second and final Manhattan studio at 15 East 59th Street, and set about to recreate the environment he had learned over the years was most congenial to his modest way of life and most stimulating to his art. He painted the high walls the same off-white he used on his easel and on the seats, tables and storage cases he designed and fashioned meticulously from discarded orange and apple-crates. He glossed the top of a white metal stool in the same brilliant primary red he applied to the cardboard sheath he made for the radio-phonograph that spilled forth his beloved jazz from well-traveled records. Visitors to this last studio seldom saw more than one or two new canvases, but found, often to their astonishment, that eight large compositions of colored bits of paper he had tacked and re-tacked to the walls in ever-changing relationships constituted together an environment that, paradoxically and simultaneously, was both kinetic and serene, stimulating and restful. It was the best space, Mondrian said, that he had inhabited. He was there for only a few months, as he died in February 1944.
After a strict Protestant upbringing, in 1892, Mondrian entered the Academy for Fine Art in Amsterdam.  He was already qualified as a teacher.  He began his career as a teacher in primary education, but he also practiced painting. Most of his work from this period is naturalistic or Impressionistic, consisting largely of landscapes. These pastoral images of his native country depict windmills, fields, and rivers, initially in the Dutch Impressionist manner of the Hague School and then in a variety of styles and techniques that attest to his search for a personal style. These paintings are representational, and they illustrate the influence that various artistic movements had on Mondrian, including pointillism and the vivid colors of Fauvism.
Born Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan, the artist was the second child of Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan, Sr., who was an amateur draftsman and headmaster of a Calvinist primary school. Piet Mondrian’s uncle, Frits, belonged to the Hague school of landscape painters. Both men gave Piet Mondrian guidance and instruction when, at age 14, he began to study drawing.
His new style was reinforced by his acquaintance with the Dutch artist Jan Toorop, who led the Dutch Luminist movement, an offshoot of French Neo-Impressionism. The Luminists, like the Neo-Impressionists, rendered light through a series of dots or short lines of primary colours. Mondrian concentrated on this use of colour and limited his palette to the primary hues: he proved his mastery of this evocation of strong, radiant sunshine in paintings such as Windmill in Sunlight (1908), executed mainly in yellow, red, and blue. But he moved beyond the tenets of the movement and expressed visual concerns that would remain constant in his oeuvre. In a painting such as The Red Tree, also dated from 1908, he expressed his own vision of nature by creating a balance between the contrasting hues of red and blue and between the violent movement of the tree and the blue sky, thus producing a sense of equilibrium, which would remain his prevailing aim in representing nature. In 1909 Mondrian’s Luminist works were exhibited in a large group show at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, which firmly established him as part of the Dutch avant-garde.
Mondrian was born in Amersfoort in the Netherlands, the second of his parents’ children. He was descended from Christian Dirkzoon Monderyan who lived in The Hague as early as 1670. The family moved to Winterswijk when his father, Pieter Cornelius Mondriaan, was appointed head teacher at a local primary school. Mondrian was introduced to art from an early age. His father was a qualified drawing teacher, and, with his uncle, Fritz Mondriaan (a pupil of Willem Maris of the Hague School of artists), the younger Piet often painted and drew along the river Gein.
Although his early work was representational, he slowly developed his artistic philosophy, his works slowly devolving first into cubism, then to pure abstraction and non-representation. After WWI, he flourished in the post-war atmosphere of Paris, which allowed him pure creative freedom. Upon the outbreak of WWII, and the approach of fascism, he moved to Manhattan, NY, where he spent the rest of his life. It was in his Manhattan studio where he felt most creative, and in which he created his great masterpieces.