Piet Mondrian (Dutch, 1872–1944) is best known as a founding member of De Stijl, a movement based on theories about incorporating reductive forms in art into painting, sculpture, architecture, and graphic design. Born in the Netherlands, Mondrian studied art at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam, painting naturalistic landscapes, still lifes, and other scenes with Impressionist techniques. Towards the end of the first decade of the 20th century, he began working in Pointillist, Cubist, and other abstracted idioms, and moved to Paris in 1912 to gain further exposure to the avant-garde, particularly after seeing the work of Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973) and Georges Braque (French, 1882–1963). Mondrian was visiting the Netherlands when World War I began, and he was unable to return to Paris.

During the war years and while in Holland, he developed his Abstract and reductive Neoplastic style, characterized by simplified colors and forms in balanced compositions that created an almost spiritual state of being, evident in his famous Compositions. Following the war, Mondrian returned to Paris and collaborated with Theo van Doesburg (Dutch, 1883–1931) and other artists to form the De Stijl group in 1917, which extended Mondrian’s aesthetic principles to design, sculpture, and architecture. Mondrian later left the group over a rift with van Doesburg about using the diagonal line in art, and joined the Abstraction-Création group in 1931. During World War II, Mondrian moved to London and then to New York, holding his first solo exhibition in 1942, before dying in 1944. In addition to being a prolific artist, Mondrian published several theoretical texts on Neoplasticism throughout his lifetime. His work is held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and the Kunstmuseum Basel in Switzerland, among many other institutions.

Timeline

1872
Born March 7 in Amersfoort, Netherlands
1892–1897
Studied at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam
1909
Exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. That same year he joined the Theosophic Society
1917
Became one of the founders of De Stijl
1923
Exhibited with De Stijl
1930
Showed his work with Cercle et Carre (Circle and Square)
1931
Joined Abstraction-Creation
1942
First solo show at the Valentine Dudensing Gallery, New York, NY
1944
Died February 1 in New York, NY

Exhibitions

2005
March 11 - June 19, "Piet Mondrian", Albertina, Vienna, Austria
1995
June 11 - Sept. 4, "Piet Mondrian: 1872-1944", National Gallery of Art, US
1980
Feb. - March, "Mondrian: Paintings and Drawings, 1900-1914", Sidney Janis Gallery, New York
1976–1979
"Piet Mondrian at the Guggenheim Museum", Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY
1965
Jan. - April, "Piet Mondrian", Santa Barbara, Museum of Art; and Dallas Museum of Fine Arts
1965
Washington D.C., The Washington Gallery of Modern Art, Piet Mondrian Retrospective