Piet Mondrian was known as a pioneer of abstract art. Born in 1872, in Amersfoort, Utrecht, dutch painter Mondrian began his early career painting part time during the 1890’s at the Amsterdam Academy (Alley, 1981).
Mondrian painted in several different styles throughout his career but one of his more notable periods was following his exposure to cubism where he then started creating checkerboard style paintings, limiting the colour palette to primary colours only. During this phase of his art career Mondrian painted around 250 of these geometric abstracts (Albany Museum, 2020). Later in Mondrian’s life he relocated to New York and produced “Broadway Boogie-Woogie”, Mondrian much like Wassily Kandinsky was also influenced by music and intertwined this within his work. There is an increase in Mondrian’s use of yellow in comparison to previous geometric paintings, and this could have been due to all of the yellow taxi’s he no doubt saw around the bustling streets of New York (Albany, 2020).
In contrast to Mondrian’s more colourful works in his later years, he also experimented with line more simply such as in Composition no.10 Pier and Ocean. In this example Mondrian was also influenced by his surroundings whilst living in the seaside resorts of Domburg and Scheveningen. Much like how Wassily Kandinsky made preparatory watercolours exploring colour, Mondrian made several sketches of the shore line and breakwaters and used these for the basis of Composition no. 10 Pier and Ocean (Kröller Müller Museum, 2021). Looking more closely at the painting I can see the waves and lines caused by the motion of the sea water hitting the shore, the rhythmic and never ending phenomenon guided by the moon, the entirety of the painting does also look quite moon-like itself. The straight black lines also appear to fade in intensity as they move toward the outer edges of the circle much like waves dissipating in time.
Alley, R. Catalogue of the Tate Gallery’s Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.532-3. Viewed on 21/07/2021 [https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/piet-mondrian-1651]
Albany Museum, 2020, Piet Mondrian, viewed on 21/07/2021 [http://www.albanymuseum.com/kids-staying-inspired/piet-mondrian]
Kröller Müller Museum, 2021, Compositie 10 in zwart wit, 1915, viewed on 21/07/2021 [https://krollermuller.nl/en/piet-mondriaan-composition-10-in-black-and-white]