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Frequently asked questions about Piet Mondrian

Our guides regularly receive questions about Piet Mondrian. We have collected the most frequently asked questions and put them on this page.

We make a distinction. Questions about his private life and questions about his work.

Questions about his life

Piet Mondriaan was a Dutch artist. He became world famous for his abstract compositions, which are composed of black straight lines and white, yellow, red and blue areas.
Piet Mondriaan was born on March 7, 1872.
Piet Mondriaan was born in Amersfoort.
The house where Piet Mondriaan was born is located at Kortegracht 11 in Amersfoort. There he spent his first years of life from 1872 -1880. In 1880 the family moved to Winterswijk, where his father Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan became the principal of the School for Christian Popular Education. They lived on the street Zonnebrink, where Villa Mondrian is located today. Piet Mondrian moved to Amsterdam in 1892. He later lived in Uden (1904), Laren (1915-1919), Paris (1912-1914 and 1919-1938), London (1938-1940) and New York (1940-1944), among other places.
Piet Mondrian attended the School for Christian Popular Education in Winterswijk. He received his artistic training at the Rijksacademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam.
No Piet Mondriaan had never been married.
No Piet Mondriaan did not have children.
Piet Mondrian obtained the certificates for basic and advanced drawing education, which allowed him to teach drawing in elementary and secondary schools. However, he never got a job as a drawing teacher and never practiced any profession other than that of an artist.
Piet Mondriaan died on February 1, 1944 in New York. He was 71 years old.
Piet Mondriaan died of pneumonia.

Frequently asked questions about his artistic work

Piet Mondrian's father often drew festive and commemorative plaques with national and religious motifs. From the age of 12, Piet Mondrian was allowed to help with the production of these panels. In addition, Piet Mondrian received drawing lessons from his father. Piet Mondrian also learned to paint at an early age from his uncle Frits Mondrian, who spent the summer months in Winterswijk capturing the scenery landscape on paper. Frits Mondrian taught young Piet about light, the use of color, and composition. Thanks to the encouragement of his father and uncle, Piet Mondrian discovered and developed his talent for drawing and painting. It was probably this encouragement, resulting in Mondrian's passion for craft, that made Piet Mondrian want to become an artist. By the age of 14, Piet Mondrian had already set up his own studio in the playroom in his parents' house.
Piet Mondrian began painting when he was still a teenager. His uncle at the time, Frits Mondrian, for example, often took him to Winterswijk and The Hague to paint outdoors.
Although Piet Mondrian had previously created paintings that were more abstract in nature, 1911 marks an important year in Piet Mondrian's journey toward full abstraction. In the spring of 1911, he traveled to Paris for several days to see the works of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and other Cubists. Cubism, a modern art movement in which paintings consist mainly of geometric planes, caught the attention of Piet Mondrian, who by this time was already searching for a visual language that would allow him to depict nature as purely as possible. In the fall of 1911, Piet Mondrian decided to move to Paris and adopt the modern visual language. The modern pictorial language, which was on the rise in France, finally encouraged Piet Mondrian to capture reality using only simple elements. However, it would be several years before Piet Mondrian began to work in a completely abstract manner.
From his early work it is known that Piet Mondrian rode his bicycle and a paint box into the hedgerow landscapes of Winterswijk and the surroundings of Amsterdam to paint. His bicycle had several stands and he could attach a canvas to the handlebars so that he could also work while sitting on the bicycle. Of his later abstract work, it is known that Piet Mondrian set up all the color areas very precisely with a ruler, colored strips of tracing paper and self-adhesive tape in different colors. The paper and tape allowed him to search for the right composition and color balance without having to immediately apply paint to the canvas.
Piet Mondrian used oil paint for his paintings. When he used paint for works on paper, it was usually watercolor, but sometimes he used oil paint for it.
Piet Mondrian used canvas, cardboard, (sketchbook) paper, watercolor, oil paint, charcoal, tempera, chalk, gouache, crayons, and pencils. For his last work, Victory Boogie Woogie (1944), he also used ribbon.
Piet Mondrian became known primarily for his modern approach to art and abstract imagery. Among the paintings consisting of dark colors in a realistic style, a painting style that was known in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, his work stood out.
The life work of Piet Mondrian is very diverse. His works can therefore be attributed to several art movements, such as cubism and neoplasticism.
Currently, about 720 paintings by Piet Mondrian are known. It may be that in the near future new paintings will be discovered and the number will be higher. It may also be that paintings that we now believe were painted by Piet Mondrian are actually by another artist. In this case, they are no longer counted. For example, in addition to paintings, Mondrian also made numerous drawings and watercolors. So the total number of Piet Mondrian's artworks is much higher.
What exactly constitutes a "Mondrian" is difficult to say. Many people think of the name Mondrian in terms of his geometric abstract compositions with black lines and areas of primary colors. But, of course, it can be any work of art that Piet Mondrian created.
It is difficult to say exactly what a "Mondrian" is worth. First, the value of a work of art is not easy to determine. It depends on many aspects. In Mondrian's case, his abstract paintings can reach a value in the tens of millions, while works from his early, figurative period are often in the tens to hundreds of thousands of euros. In any case, Mondrian's works are in high demand on the art market.
The largest collection of Mondrian's works is in the Kunstmuseum Den Haag. His paintings also hang in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Stedelijk Museum and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Tate Modern in London and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, among others. A number of Piet Mondrian's (early) paintings can, of course, always be admired at Villa Mondrian.

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