• Natural Landscapes
  • 2018-05-18T00:00:00+02:00
  • 2018-10-28T23:59:59+01:00
  • Piet Mondriaan (1872 – 1944) mainly became known as a pioneer of abstract art, but he only started experimenting with this style around his forties and after he left for Paris. Before that time, he painted realistic scenes in which nature played a leading role. From Friday 18 May 2018, the Mondriaanhuis will feature an exhibition that focuses on Mondriaan’s figurative period.

The PUUR NATUUR (NATURAL LANDSCAPES) exhibition shows a selection of works of art from the period 1895 – 1910, including a wide variety of subjects, such as landscapes, portraits, flowers and still lifes, which demonstrate how surprisingly versatile Mondriaan was during this stage in life.

Mondriaan spent most of the time he lived in The Netherlands in Amsterdam, and also lived in various Dutch villages. He often took his bicycle to draw in the countryside or paint what he saw there: grand views, farms, cows in a cowhouse, or mills, all with those characteristic Dutch cloudscapes. Although his work in this period was figurative, it became obvious over time that composition and lines were becoming increasingly important to Mondriaan. His use of colours also changed over the course of time, from dark and brown hues to brighter ones.

Mondriaan created many portraits during his Dutch period, some of which commissioned and thus paid. He often painted portraits of people from his circle of acquaintances, including one of Frits Mondriaan, Piet’s uncle, also in the exhibition. A hairdresser and painter, uncle Frits created mainly landscapes in the Hague School style and taught Piet the basic skills of the trade. 

The jewel in the exhibition is without doubt the red amaryllis against a blue backdrop. At the beginning of his career and also during his abstract period, Mondriaan painted flowers on a regular basis. Usually one single flower, a chrysanthemum or amaryllis for instance, takes centre stage in the composition. The general view is that Mondriaan created these flower paintings because of the demand for them, but they in no way look as something he was ‘forced’ to do and are of very high quality.

About the Mondriaanhuis
The Mondriaanhuis in Amersfoort is the birthplace of Piet Mondriaan, where he was born in 1872. In the Mondriaanhuis, visitors can learn more about the artist as a human being and a painter, and in addition see how his work gradually changed from realistic landscapes toabstract compositions with characteristic lines and surfaces. In 2017, the Mondriaanhuis underwent a major renovation, during which two impressive video installations were placed to allow visitors to enter Mondriaan’s world.