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Mondrian special feature Mondrian

Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) is famous for his works in which planes divided by vertical and horizontal lines are colored in primary colors such as red, blue, and yellow. Along with Wassily Kandinsky, he is considered to be one of the early painters who created full-fledged abstract paintings, and was one of the pioneers who was active in the swell of 20th century art. Mondrian influenced not only painting, but also architecture, industrial design, typography, fashion, and graphics. Among them are fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and Miffy creator Dick Bruna.

《Rhombus composition of red, blue, yellow, and gray》
washington national gallery

Mondrian's history as a painter

Piet Mondrian at age 54

Mondrian was born in 1872 in Amersfoort, Netherlands. He became familiar with painting from an early age, learning from his father and uncle who were amateur painters, and from the age of 20 he received traditional art education at the Rijks Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam. At first he imitated Van Gogh and Seurat in landscapes and still lifes, and continued his search to establish his own painting style. His turning point came in 1911 at an exhibition held in Amsterdam at the age of 39. After coming into contact with Cubist works from Paris, he decided to go to Paris, where Picasso and Braque were active. Mondrian was 40 years old at this time, and during his stay in Paris from 1912 to 1914, his interest in abstract painting strengthened.

“Red Amaryllis and Blue Background” 1907, MOMA Collection

Mondrian studied Cubism, but eventually realized that what he was aiming for was different, and began to explore Mondrian's unique world. From this period of trial and error, Mondrian's works began to be titled "compositions." However, he sometimes drew and sold pictures of plants, especially flowers, to make a living.

He returned to the Netherlands from 1914 to 1918 during World War I, and in 1914 he developed a style called ``Plus Minus,'' which consists of intersecting horizontal and vertical lines. There was a transition from extremely geometricized and simplified paintings of the sea and pier to abstract paintings that distanced themselves from the form of all things.

"Wharf and the sea (Composition No.10)"
Kröller-Müller National Museum Collection

In Composition No. 10 (Wharf and Sea), Mondrian reduces a natural scene to a world of abstract lines. The regularly arranged lines on the screen evoke the rhythmic movement of waves. The dense mesh toward the top gives a vague sense of the horizon, and the emphasized vertical lines at the bottom are reminiscent of a jetty rising into the sea. (From “MONDRIAN” published by Taschen)

Mondrian was also responsible for the founding of the De Style school, which influenced European painting, architecture, and design.

Magazine "De Stijl"

In 1917, together with painter and architect Doesburg, he founded the art magazine De Stijl. These abstract artists believed that painters, sculptors, and architects should work together to create a new world. Their ideal was a world where people could live in good balance according to the laws of the universe, and they believed that a simple and easy-to-understand form was needed to express that philosophy. Eliminating all excess, I aimed to acquire a universal principle based on the pure relationship between color and line. Mondrian established his own art theory, which he called ``Neo-Plasticism.'' Mondrian's then-universal vision, based on his intuition and insight, creates an orderly and balanced beauty.

《Red, blue, yellow composition》
Zurich Art Museum

In 1919, he returned to Paris, and from 1921 onwards, for nearly 20 years, he established a new style using bright primary colors, instantly recognizable as Mondrian. These are also known as the "Convolution" series, and are his best-known masterpieces.

In 1940, Mondrian moved to New York to escape the flames of World War II, where his work further evolved.

Inspired by the urban energy and modern art of New York, Mondrian created his new works ``New York City'' and ``Broadway Boogie Woogie,'' inspired by jazz music. Boogie Woogie was popular jazz music at the time, and it is said that Mondrian liked listening to jazz. Although the basic principles of his work have not changed, he no longer uses black and has become more rhythmic with brighter lines.

"Broadway Boogie Woogie", MOMA

In 1942, at the age of 70, he held his first solo exhibition at the Valentine Dudensing Gallery. Two years later, he contracted pneumonia and was hospitalized. A few days later, he passed away at the age of 72, leaving behind an unfinished version of Victory Boogie Woogie.

Influences outside of painting

Both during his lifetime and after his death, Mondrian exerted a tremendous influence not only on painting, but also on architecture, designers/creators, and contemporary design.

Gerrit Rietveld, a furniture maker, was a member of the art movement De Stijl and was inspired by Mondrian. Rietveld's ``Red & Blue Chair,'' which is popular even today, is like a three-dimensional Mondrian painting, and is a chair that gives a feeling of infinite expansion into the surrounding space. This chair was so well received that there was even talk of building a house using the same principle, and this is Rietveld's Schroeder House, which was registered as a World Heritage Site in 2000.

Mondrian look and Yves Saint Laurent

There is a fashion term in the fashion world called "Mondrian look". It all began with a dress released by art collector Yves Saint Laurent in 1965 in Paris, where Mondrian was based. Inspired by Mondrian's work, this garment is a simple white dress divided by black horizontal and vertical lines, with the three primary colors of red, yellow, and blue boldly arranged. . The ``Mondrian look'' attracted worldwide attention as the first attempt to incorporate contemporary art into fashion.

blue bottle coffee mondrian cake

Blue Bottle Coffee, which has recently been called the Apple of the coffee world, opened its first store in Tokyo in Kiyosumi-Shirakawa and has become a hot topic of conversation. Caitlin Freeman, a pastry chef and wife of founder James Freeman, placed a Mondrian cake she made inspired by a special exhibition at the cafe attached to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). ``MODERN ART DESERTS'', which became popular and published with this on the cover, is also well-received. Anyone can make a Mondrian cake by reading this recipe.

A space with Mondrian. This piece will look great in a modern office or living room, making the entire room look stylish.

Go to list of Mondrian works

We may be able to reproduce Mondrian's works other than those listed above, so please feel free to contact us.

*Currently, the production period is approximately 45 business days (including Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, Italian Christmas, year-end and New Year holidays, and summer holidays).