150 years of Mondrian: The Hague pays tribute to the pioneer of the abstract
Squares, lines, colors: this abstract linear approach to art allowed the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) to become known throughout the world.
Mondrian, who many art historians believe was the inventor of the abstract, would have turned 150 this year.
To mark this jubilee, the museum which houses the world’s largest collection of works by Mondrian is now paying tribute to the artist with a major exhibition.
Until September, Movers Mondrian at the Kunstmuseum Den Haag presents major works in a gallery that even has its own dedicated soundtrack – techno music done in the style of Mondrian’s abstract methods.
“Mondrian had a great influence on 20th century art,” director Benno Tempel said at the launch of the exhibition in The Hague on the last day of March.
The museum wants to show “how Mondrian moved between his friends and his contemporaries and how great his artistic influence was on artists after him”.
The museum has more than 300 works by the painter, making it the largest Mondrian collection in the world. And it also features many works by other artists influenced by its unmistakable abstract style.
Mondrian radically changed his style during his career. At first, he painted realistic, often gloomy landscapes. But soon the trees and branches lost their solid forms.
He goes to Paris and is fascinated by cubism. Later, he creates playful compositions according to the artistic movement De Stijl with colored lines and rectangles.
His last painting, Boogie Woogie Victory, is in many ways the culmination of his creative work. It was created in his New York studio from 1942 to 1944 and was intended to reflect the “rhythm of the future”.
The museum now presents it as an end point of the exhibition.
“But at the same time, it is also the starting point for post-war art and modern abstract art.”
The museum shows how versatile Mondrian was. For example, he had developed his own vision of electronic music, triggering a new movement.
For the exhibition, Steven Brunsmann and Marco Spaventi even composed a piece of techno music based on the painter‘s ideas. This can also be heard by looking at the images.
At the same time, the exhibition also shows how close Mondrian was to other artists, such as his Dutch colleague Theo van Doesburg or the American dancer and singer Josephine Baker. – dpa