Piet Mondriaan (aka Mondrian)

A schoolhouse in Amersfoort was where Pieter Cornelis (Piet) Mondri(a)an (1872-1944) was born. We planned to dedicate this week's blog to the man himself and the 'Mondriaanhuis' (huis = house, the Dutch language is that simple!). However, at present the Mondriaanhuis is being refurbished, renewed, rearranged - something with re- anyway. The general public is welcome as from coming Thursday. Therefore, our blog is postponed for a week. Only one - no big deal. Higly recommended: the dedicated Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piet_Mondrian.

Piet (‘Pieter Cornelis’) Mondriaan’s registration with the authorities on the 8th of March, 1872. He was born on the 7th at 6:00AM and registered by his father, Pieter Cornelis, a 32-year-old headmaster, the next day. His mother, of the same age, was Johanna Christina de Kok and the witnesses Hijman Jacob Cruijff(!), (62) a (house?)painter and Philippus Elbertus van Ittersum , (58) jobless.

A picture of the school-building annex family-home where Mondriaan was born. The building nowadays houses a dedicated museum, called the Mondriaanhuis – reopened last Thursday the 9th of March, 2017.

Pictures of both Mondriaan’s parents. The entire family lived inside the building: father, mother, Piet, his three brothers and one sister. It was an unconventional and not very close family. In appearance and character ‘our’ Piet resembles his father (also called Piet) most. Mother Johanna suffered from a poor health. As a result, many care responsibilities fell on the shoulders of Christien, Piet’s older sister. The building the family lived in was in a poor condition because the canal in front of it flooded regularly, causing mould growing high upon the walls.

After entering the (refurbished) building one experiences immediately one of the colours Mondriaan (and ‘De Stijl’-movement – see hereunder) is famous for. In this case it’s totally, all, 100% yellow.

The painter in 1899 at an age of around 27 years. (We were unable to find the copyright-holder.)

When still living in The Netherlands, in Amsterdam at that time, the painter would take his paintbox and travel into the countryside by bike.

One of his early works, dating around 1905, depicting something quintessentially Dutch: (a) pollard willow(s) along a ditch.

Mondri(a)an never married, not meaning he was not interested in women – on the contrary. He had a full and dynamic love life with several girlfriends and got engaged twice. The first time, in 1906, he changed his mind pretty quick. Afterwards he declared to have been blinded by her beauty and acted on that (only) – even losing his interest in art. A mistake. The second engagement happened when he was already 59 (around 1931). Eventually that did not work either, as his bride-to-be was 38 years(!) his junior. Her father strongly opposed the wedding, them thus forcing to disengage.

A huge jump now to Mondri(a)an’s last, arguably most famous -and unfinished- work of art, called ‘Victory Boogie Woogie’. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_Boogie_Woogie. It’s now in the Gemeentemuseum at The Hague, The Netherlands. He died on the 1st of February, 1944 of pneumonia – in New York city and was interred at the Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY.

  • Shoes

    After Mondi(a)an’s dead his fame grew fast. Until the present day he has remained an important influence in our lives.

  • Bathing-suit

    In architecture or the visual arts and in the commercial world he has found his way.

  • Dog

    Countless products with a Mondri(a)an design are eagerly bought all over the world: from t-shirt to...

  • Toilet-lid

    …notebook from suitcase to mug. Everything you can think of actually exists. Mondri(a)an is still alive!

Piet Mondri(a)an was one of the members of the Dutch artistic movement ‘De Stijl’ (The Style). Think of Rietveld, Van Doesburg etc. Look for (loads) more about De Stijl, its members and what they created at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Stijl. This year De Stijl’s founding 100 years ago is extensively celebrated. All information is to be found by using the link http://www.destijlutrechtamersfoort.nl/en. Visit one of the numerous venues if you can!

Cycling route Utrecht-Amersfoort

The cities of Utrecht and Amersfoort are both strongly associated with De Stijl. A new cycling route will be constructed between the two cities (both situated within the centrally situated province of Utrecht in The Netherlands) showing works of art by Boris Tellegen – in the De Stijl-style- and consisting of several different, though related, parts. All of this inspired by 100 years De Stijl. For a contemporary work of art by Boris Tellegen, see https://www.mondriaanhuis.nl/en/do-mondriaan/on-view/rietveld-meets-mondriaan?set_language=en. Hope to meet you again the first Sunday of April (when we’re back on Day Light Saving Time again!).