Piet Mondrian was known as “the father of geometric abstraction” an important figure in Modernism around the time of Cubism in the early 20th century and a main contributor to the De Stijl movement in 1917.
Born in Holland in 1872, Mondrian was a self-taught painter and was highly educated from a young age in drawing. After becoming a full –time artist, he began travelling back and forth between Amsterdam and various parts of rural Holland where during his travelling he would devote his time to painting landscapes. Over time his works gradually became more and more abstract where he would exclude details he felt were irrelevant to express movement or the image of what he was trying to represent. The more abstract his work became the more appreciation and recognition he seemed to gain from existing artists, however he gained more criticism from the Dutch art critics.He wished to emphasize the flatness of the surface of a painting rather than create depth.
After returning to Holland in 1914 around the time of World War 1, Mondrian’s works slowly became more and more abstract as curved lines began to disappear in his paintings altogether as well as the identity of objects or nature.The influence of Cubism marked a distinct turning point in Mondrian’s work as he became more familiar with the artists works of Picasso, Braque and other popular artists involved in the movement of cubism. Mondrian moved to Paris in 1912 where avant-garde art thrived at the time. He began to refine his landscapes by using the cubism structure to create frameworks in his paintings.
In 1919, Mondrian moved back to Paris where he began painting his most famous abstract works where he only used a few horizontal and vertical black lines with certain blocks of primary colours where representation in his works were completely eliminated. After moving to London in the 1940’s his more recent works became more vibrant with coloured lines instead of block grids. His paintings showed more energy and rhythm to the composition of his work. His work created a new insight into how architecture was formed, molding a new image to the society after the damaging effects of the Wars.