Piet Mondrian [1872 – 1944]

Dutch painter and art theoretician

Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan

[after 1906 Piet Mondrian]

was born,

March 7, 1872

in Amersfoort, Utrecht, Netherlands

Regarded as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, he is known for being one of the pioneers of 20th-century abstract art. He changed his artistic direction from figurative painting to an increasingly abstract style, until he reached a point where his artistic vocabulary was reduced to simple geometric elements. Art critic Robert Hughes considers him as “one of the supreme artists of the 20th century.” Dutch art historian Carel Blotkamp -an authority on De Stijl- also described him as “one of the great artists of the twentieth century”. On a side note, he never used a ruler! 😉

So here’s a glimpse of his work & words
Little House in Sunlight

❝ Abstract art is not the creation of another reality but the true vision of reality.❞

Broadway Boogie Woogie

❝ Vertical and horizontal lines are the expression of two opposing forces; they exist everywhere and dominate everything; their reciprocal action constitutes ‘life’. I recognized that the equilibrium of any particular aspect of nature rests on the equivalence of its opposites.❞

Red Amaryllis with Blue Background

❝ The emotion of beauty is always obscured by the appearance of the object. Therefore, the object must be eliminated from the picture.❞

Ocean 5

❝ Intellect confuses intuition.❞


❝ I, too, find the flower beautiful in its outward appearance. But a deeper beauty lies concealed within.❞

Composition 8

❝ The surface of things gives enjoyment, their interiority gives life.

Truncated View of the Broekzijder Mill on the Gein, Wings Facing West

❝ Every true artist has been inspired more by the beauty of lines and color and the relationships between them than by the concrete subject of the picture.

Summer, Dune in Zeeland

❝ The more basic the color, the more inward, the more pure.

Composition No. 10

❝ I wish to approach truth as closely as is possible, and therefore I abstract everything until I arrive at the fundamental quality of objects.❞

Composition with Color Planes 5

❝ It is a task of art to express clear vision of reality.❞

Amstel River

❝ It is possible that, through horizontal and vertical lines constructed with awareness, but not with calculation, led by high intuition, and brought to harmony and rhythm, these basic forms of beauty, supplemented if necessary by other direct lines or curves, can become a work of art, as strong as it is true.❞


❝ I don’t want pictures, I want to find things out.❞

Still Life with Gingerpot I

❝ The truly modern artist is aware of abstraction in an emotion of beauty.❞

Tableau I

❝ I think you too recognize the important relationship between philosophy and art, and it is just this relationship that most painters deny. The great masters do grasp it, unconsciously; but I believe that a painter’s conscious spiritual knowledge will have a much greater influence upon his art, and that it would be due only to a weakness in him, or lack of genius, should this spiritual knowledge be harmful to his art.❞

Spring Sun (Lentezon); Castle Ruin; Brederode

❝ If you follow nature you will not be able to vanquish the tragic in any real degree in your art… We must free ourselves from our attachment to the external, for only then do we transcend the tragic, and are enabled consciously to contemplate the repose which is within all things.❞

Tableau No. 2 Composition No. VII

❝ By the unification of architecture, sculpture and painting a new plastic reality will be created.❞

New York City I

❝ The only problem in art is to achieve a balance between the subjective and the objective.❞

Lighthouse in Westkapelle [in Orange]

❝ The purer the artist’s ‘mirror’ is, the more true reality reflects in it. Overseeing the historical culture of art, we must conclude that the mirror only slowly is purified. Time producing this purifying shows a gradual, more constant and objective image of reality.❞

Tableau I; Lozenge with Four Lines and Gray

❝ The relation of color and the relation of proportion are both based on the relation of position.❞

Still Life with Gingerpot II

❝ In past times when one lived in contact with nature, abstraction was easy; it was done unconsciously. Now in our denaturalized age abstraction becomes an effort.❞

Evening; Red Tree

❝ Reality manifests itself as constant and objective – independent of us, but as changeable in space and time. Consequently, its reflection in us contains both properties. Mixed up in our mind, these properties are confused and we do not have a proper image of reality.❞

Tableau no. 2 / Composition no. V

❝ Why should art continue to follow nature when every other field has left nature behind? ❞

Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow
I’m sure many remember Yves Saint Laurent tribute to Mondrian, in 1965, designing cocktail dresses.

❝ Nature or, that which I see, inspires me, puts me, as with any painter, in an emotional state so that an urge comes about to make something, but I want to come as close as possible to the truth and abstract everything from that, until I reach the foundation, still just an external foundation, of things… ❞

Willow Grove; Impression of Light and Shadow

❝ The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel.❞

Composition in Yellow, Blue, and White, I

❝ Observing sea, sky and stars, I sought to indicate their plastic function through a multiplicity of crossing verticals and horizontals. Impressed by the vastness of Nature, I was trying to express its expansion, rest and unity.❞

View from the Dunes with Beach and Piers, Domburg

❝ The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel.❞

Victory Boogie Woogie

❝ To approach the spiritual in art, one will make as little use as possible of reality, because reality is opposed to the spiritual.❞


Self Portraits

listening to

Arvo Pärt

“Spiegel im Spiegel*”

*Mirror in the Mirror

Renaud Capuçon violinGuillaume Bellom piano

For more information on Mondrian:








55 replies »

  1. Oddly enough I know of Mondrian from fashion; Yves St. Laurent’s famous Mondrian dress.

    I drew one on Boogapony Holly. I thought I did some justice.
    Although I prefer his non geometric paintings better, I like everything I see here.
    Thank you, Marina!
    You put a lot into these posts,and I appreciate it.
    Also, the music is perfect for Modrian’s art.

  2. Wow, what an exquisite artist he was, Marina. I love that you shared his philosophy, too. I find it difficult to choose a favorite, but some paintings that stand out are: Little House in Sunlight, Composition 8, Spring Sun, and I remember seeing those cocktail dresses, also. Such stunning and versatile work. Thanks for this bit of education. Love and hugs, my friend! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    • Amazing artist. Most abstract artists were masters of representational art too, or so they started off [Picasso is one of them], so it makes it really interesting to see their progress. Happy Hump Day, Frank!

  3. Such a wonderful artist! I didn’t know he never used a ruler 😱 I have to ask, how did he do it?
    The Pärt was a wonderful choice too. One of my favourite pieces by him 💕

    • Exactly… when I read it, I was curious too but didn’t look further for an answer.* Amazing right?! For some reason, Pärt music was what came to my ears with Mondrian, especially Devotion.
      *I just looked it up and this is what I found:
      “He used tape or strips of paper as an early form of masking tape when creating the blocks of colour. The black lines were thinly painted to start with, and he gradually built up the bold shapes until he’d created those perfect straight edges.”
      and this:
      “The straight line was one of Mondrian’s most important pictorial devices, as he claimed it facilitates the human ability to understand complicated experiences. Straight lines bring a sense of order and expression to humanity, where the sharpness of the line’s edge has a more profound impact on the overall work. “

  4. Marina – you have the best virtual artist tours. It is as if I have walked into an art gallery when I visit your space. What I most appreciate about Piet Mondrian’s art is the message that comes through – his search for universal values and aesthetics, while remaining rooted in nature. He diversity of art is extraordinary. I am taking this thought with me to think about this week: “The surface of things gives enjoyment, their interiority gives life.” Sending hugs!

  5. My absolutely favourite piece of music is Spiegel im Spiegel. When it plays, I close my eyes and meditate for the full 9 minutes – even if I`m sitting at reception!!

    As for Mondrian, his paintings are outstanding. I will never understand how one can draw lines and fill in certain of the squares or rectangles can be considered high art when I get laughed out of art class for doing same, but hey, what do I know?

    • With you on Spiegel im Spiegel!
      Laughed out?! Not right!
      As for abstract art, all those masters knew very well how to draw (if one sees their early works it’s obvious!). They are making a point with their abstraction one way or another.
      I couldn’t believe that Devotion (one of my favorite works) was Mondrian’s.

  6. Yes, I do remember seeing photos of those Yves Saint Laurent dresses.

    I greatly enjoyed this introduction to Piet Mondrian, his work, and his philosophy of art. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been attending artists’ salons on Zoom sponsored by Woven Tale Press. I’m gaining a much better understanding and appreciation of abstract painting. Thank you for continuing my educaton with this post!

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