This is an extract from a new exhibition at the Tate modern entitled Forms of Life. It features two artists - Hilma AF Klint (1862-1944) and Piet Mondrian (1872-1944). They both began as academically trained landscape artists and then developed a more radical approach to painting in the 20th cent. I had come to the exhibition to see Mondrian's work and his development. I have seen versions of his abstract paintings used many times in design from fabrics to architecture. I have posted some of his work here in chronological order.
Wednesday, 31 May 2023
Evening landscape with cows. 1906
Lighthouse at Westkapelle. 1910
Dune landscape 1911
Composition No IV 1914
For this painting Mondrian turned his attention away from the tree motif to focus on his immediate surroundings, advertisements on the facades of buildings in Paris. He believed that urban environments especially classical architecture followed the eternal laws of nature and this could be expressed through his modern approach to painting. In January 1914 Mondrian wrote ' Nature (or that which I see) inspires me but I want to come as close as possible to the truth, and thus abstract everything until I arrive at.... an outward foundation of things.'
Composition with Grid3: LozengeComposition with Grey Lines. 1918
Composition with grey lines is a regular grid with horizontals, verticals and diagonals. The thickness of the grey lines vary and contrast with the otherwise white painting creating a flickering effect. Mondrian decided to hang it from a corner so that lines appear to extend beyond the edges of the canvas . This is a characteristic shared by all his abstract work but perhaps most evident in this painting which dominates the space. Mondrian never sold this piece but always hung it in a high position giving it a sense of prominence. he eventually gave it as a gift to a childhood friend.