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Pieter Mondrian 1872-1944 Netherlands

Mondrian, aka Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan

We have been exploring geometric shapes throughout art history, and last week we looked at the work of Mondrian. After attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam, he experimented with numerous styles that eventually led to the style that we associate with him today. Around 1910 to make money to support his art, Mondrian worked as an assistant to Professor Reindert Pieter van Calcar at Leiden University in the Netherlands. He drew bacteriological specimens in the laboratory for the professor, and performed a lot of quantitative and experimental research. Between 1901 and 1920, the researchers at Leiden were awarded three Nobel Prizes. Mondrian’s experience working at Leiden University had a tremendous influence on theoretical breakthroughs in painting and a strategy of looking, measuring, and experimenting with nature. He was convinced that the creative process was directed and led by the intuitive,and driven by unknown forces. He later relocated to Paris where he was and exposed to major art trends and many artists like Picasso and Braque . 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. He refined and reduced line and color to his iconic style that we recognize today and became one of the most important leaders in the development of modern art and a founder of the Dutch abstract art movement known as De Stijl (“The Style”). Mondrian's work had an enormous influence on 20th century art, influencing not only the course of abstract painting and Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism as well as fields outside the domain of painting, such as design, architecture and fashion.