|"Composition in Primary Colors" by Piet Mondrian.|
Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) was born in Amersfoort, Holland. He studied to be a teacher, then decided to be a painter instead, and in 1892 enrolled in the Academy of Amsterdam. From 1895 to 1907 he painted naturalistic landscapes in delicate but rather dull colors, then a stay at Dombourg on the island of Walcheren in 1 908 changed his manner and brightened his palette. He arrived in Paris in 191 1, where he was influenced by Cubism and inclined toward abstraction. He spent the war years in Holland, continuing his experiments with abstraction until in 1916 he produced openly non-figurative paintings, rhythms consisting of horizontal and vertical lines which later became known as the "plus and minus" series. While in Holland, he became the center of a group of artists interested in geometrical proportions as the basis of art. With Theo van Doesburg, a member of this group, Mondrian founded an art magazine called De Stijl, which gave its name to the group and in which its ideas of Neo-Plasticism were set forth. Mondrian elaborated on these theories in his book LeNeo-Plasticisme, published in 1920 after his return to France. In Paris he became a member of the Circle and Square Group and, later, of the Abstraction-Creation group. He participated in large international exhibitions of abstract art in Paris and the United States. He lived in London from 1938 to 1940, then came to New York, where he was very warmly received, and had two exhibitions at the Valentine Gallery in 1 942 and 1 943 . He began painting in the more exuberant mood of "Broadway Boogie-Woogie," which is still geometrically abstract but uses bright, garish color in insistently repeating patterns that suggest the jangling pulse of Times Square at night. Since his death at Murray Hill Hospital in February, 1944, important retrospective exhibitions of Mondrian's work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitechapel Gallery in London and the Municipal Museum at The Hague. His canvases, which inaugurated a new style, are in the principal museums of modern art throughout the world.