|Movements||De Stijl, or Neoplasticism|
Pieter Cornelis “Piet” Mondrian had a dream of becoming a Realist painter, but instead was responsible for evolving the Neoplasticism movement. His paintings were often sparse and asymmetrical, using only three primary colors.
Piet Mondrian had a difficult childhood. His father was a Protestant who devoted his time to church activities, mostly at the expense of his family life, and his mother was very sickly. As a result, he grew up bitter and cynical. He became fascinated with art after his father taught him how to draw. In 1892, Mondrian enrolled in the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten (Royal Academy of Visual Arts) in Amsterdam. He returned home when he fell ill due to pneumonia. While recovering, he painted rural watercolor landscapes. Due to his childhood struggles, he had difficulty maintaining relationships in adult life. He married Greet Heybroek in 1914 and broke up just three years later, never marrying again after that. Mondrian fell ill from an acute pneumonia attack and died in 1944. He left everything to a young artist named Harry Holtzman, disinheriting his siblings. His memorial service was held at the Universal Chapel on Lexington Avenue in New York City and was attended by roughly two hundred people, including many famous artists. He was interred in the Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.
In 1904, Piet Mondrian painted Brabant Farmyard, which reflected his aim to be a Realist painter. The naturalistic characteristics in this painting showed his association with The Hague School. He painted farmyards, depicting landscapes that were sparse and placed close to the viewer. His 1922 painting Composition embraced Neoplasticism and followed the movement’s principles. In this artwork, he placed the elements in asymmetric order to achieve an unbalanced equilibrium and used only three primary colors. In 1942, his last completed painting, Broadway Boogie Woogie, paid homage to New York City. Critics say it did not reflect the qualities expected of Neoplasticism, which is thought to have been due to his failing health and the shortage of art supplies caused by the war.
- Mondrian’s father was a school principal.
- He lived in the United States the last four years of his life.