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Piet Mondrian

Born at Amersfoort in The Netherlands, Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan, (March 7, 1872 - 1944), usually known as Piet Mondrian, was a Dutch painter, and founder of the De Stijl art movement.

His career started as a primary education teacher, but while teaching he also studying painting. Most of his work from this period is naturalistic or impressionistice. On display at the in the Hague's Gemeente Museum are a number of paintings from this period, including such post-impressionist paintings "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 constructed of a number of shimmering squares of bright color that leap from the canvas then appear to shimmer back, drawing you into those neon lights.

His most well-know works are the familiar colored squares of three or four parts asymmetrically grouped, segmented blocks of straight lines and primary colors that look as though anyone, even a child, could paint. His often-reproduced, reduction 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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