Mondrian, Piet (pēt mônˈdrēän) [key], 1872–1944, Dutch painter. He studied at the academy in Amsterdam and passed through an early naturalistic phase. In 1910 he went to Paris, where the influence of cubism stimulated the development of his geometric, nonobjective style, which he called neoplasticism. He and Theo van Doesburg—leaders of the so-called Stijl group of artists—founded (1917) a magazine De Stijl, in which Mondrian published articles until 1925. In 1920 he published a book on his theory that appeared as Le Neo-Plasticisme in French and as Neue Gestaltung in German. His art and theory influenced the Bauhaus movement and the development of the International style in architecture. In 1940 he settled in New York City.
Typical of his art are compositions employing only vertical and horizontal lines at 90° angles and using only the primary colors and sometimes grays or black against a white background. Sensuality, three-dimensionality, and representation are utterly eliminated from his works, as is the curved line. Within these restrictions, his paintings are executed with consummate perfection of design and craft. Much of Mondrian's work is in American and European private collections. He is well represented in the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, and in the Art Institute of Chicago.
See his essays (1945); studies by M. Seuphor (tr. 1957), F. Elgar (tr. 1968), H. L. C. Jaffé (1970), and C. Blotkamp (1995).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.