The century old De Stijl Movement that reinvented the face of Dutch art in the early twentieth century has been wheeled out from the hall of fame and given a primary position in the new Mondrian exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum de Haag, opening summer 2017. Piet Mondrian figure-headed the artistic style, literally “the style” in English, alongside artist Theo Van Doesburg. De Stijl encapsulated the effects of shape and primary colour, breaking art down into rare and basic components that could be shown to play together and form various sensations on canvas.
The exhibition will show the progression of the work and life of Mondrian as he travelled the world, settling in Amsterdam, Paris, London, and finally New York. 300 pieces by the iconic abstract painter will be on display, providing the largest collection of Piet Mondrian in the world.
The plain and direct methods of artistic expression found in De Stijl are considered to be in response to the horrors of the Great War, ending in 1918. With striking repetitious designs of blocks in primary colour, the technique began to push boundaries on what shape, form, and colour could be used to represent.
Mondrian, showing artistic talent from a young age, began in Holland painting landscapes. With an eye for vivid flow, the early works were playful and showed a pre-established skill for use of vivid colour and line. As the twentieth century progressed into its opening years, Mondrian craved a new approach, something modern and fresh for the new era. It was then that he decided to pack up and move to Paris, where the art world was flourishing with new ideas and philosophies. It was here that he sought to liberate himself from the traditional approach of his past. Making a name for himself on the social scene and also finding his unique Mondrian style, it was Paris where the painter became settled in his now famously established direction.
Because of Nazism, Mondrian fled France and moved into a flat in London, where he continued his work as an artist, finding friendship and companionship in jazz clubs and the vibrant London social scene. His work became more sought after, and he was offered to contribute to several high profile galleries, however because of the threat of Nazism drawing closer, he decided to spread his wings and migrate to New York. Taken by the bright lights and culture, the New York music and art scene fuelled the rest of his work until he died in 1944.
The Mondrian exhibition is running from the 3rd of June until the 24th of September 2017, at the Gemeentemuseum De Haag, Netherlands.
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