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Piet Mondrian

Born at Amersfoort in The Netherlands, Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan, (March 7, 1872 - February 1, 1944), usually known as Piet Mondrian, was a Dutch painter, and an important contributor of the De Stijl art movement, which was founded by Theo van Doesberg.

He began his career as a teacher in primary education, but while teaching he also practiced painting. Most of his work from this period is naturalistic or impressionistic. On display in the Hague's Gemeente Museum are a number of paintings from this period, including such post-impressionist works as "The Red Mill" and "Trees in Moonlight". (Examples of his more familiar geometric later work are also on display).

He was deeply struck by an exhibition of Cubism held in Amsterdam in 1911 which profoundly affected his later work.

His painting "Broadway Boogie Woogie" at the San Franciso Museum of Modern Art is highly influential in the school of abstract geometric painting. The piece is made up of a number of shimmering squares of bright color that leap from the canvas, then appear to shimmer, drawing you into those neon lights.

His most well-known works are the familiar colored squares of three or four parts asymmetrically grouped, segmented blocks of straight lines and primary colors that, some believe, look as though anyone, even a child could paint, however others find his compositions in the style which Mondrian termed neoplasticism to be original and difficult to reproduce to obtain the same effect that Mondrians work can give to some. His oft-emulated reductionist style continues to inspire artists, fashion and advertising.

He died in New York in 1944.

Reference: Schapiro, Mondrian: On the Humanity of Abstract Painting (George Braziller 1995).

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