History of Mondrian Form

Fundamental Mondrian Art Style

As the 1800s came to an end, a group of forward-looking artists, architects and designers broke away from the Victorian constraints and developed a new style that encouraged an interdisciplinary approach fostering a sharing of contemporary thought and ideology until the post-modern period in the 1970s. It was a means for the artists and artisans to express themselves about the world that was quickly becoming increasingly high tech and advanced. The object was to go beyond the status quo and emphasize freedom of expression, progressive concepts and nontraditional methodology. Some of the most influential modernist artists' work included the geometrics of Piet Mondrian, the striking furniture of Gerrit Rietveld and the architecture of Alvar Aalto.

The New Art

In his book, The New Art -- The New Life, Mondrian, expressed that the world of nature has kept viewers from seeing reality as it exists. Instead, he said, reality lies behind the naturalistic environment. As a result, he refused to paint anything that appeared life-like, realistic, and representational. This led him into a entirely new form of abstraction, only allowing the essence to remain, that was revealed in either horizontal or vertical lines, primary colors of red, yellow, and blue, and the three different tones of white, gray, and black. The style was based, he explained, on a complete harmony of straight lines and pure colors underlying the visible world.

The Artist, Mondrian

Pieter Cornelis Mondrian, Jr. was born on March 7, 1872, in the Netherlands. After studying art, his first work was naturalistic with landscapes, still-lifes, Dutch impressionism and symbolism. By 1910, after seeing work by Pablo Picasso and George Braque, he began experimenting considerably with the cubist modality. Within a few years, he had started to develop his own personal abstract style, neo-plastic, a translation of nieuwe beelding, which also means "new form" or "new image." To present times, this style makes his works distinct from others. Some individuals are born with artistic technique. Without having to think about it or take lessons, they automatically have the innate ability to make the canvas come alive with their visual concept. Not so with Mondrian, explains Kutner. Breakthroughs do not always arrive like thunderbolts, even for brilliant artists. He showed few signs of exceptional talent in his youth. Rather he seemed something of a plodder, deeply rooted in the landscape tradition of his native Holland and tethered to the rural society in which he was raised. So, he kept at it. "Experience was my only teacher," Mondrian said. "The artist, born of the past, advances as far as his intuition permits".

According to the article "Painter's Canvas Was Limitless; Follow Your Vision: Mondrian's dedication to his art was no abstraction," much of his success was due to his continual desire to show the harmony of the universe to others. It was a daunting goal, but he never gave up. Instead, he toiled in poverty for decades until hitting on the perfect pictorial language for his vision. As a result, says Alejandro Anreus, an art history professor at William Paterson University in New Jersey, "Mondrian's impact on modern art is extraordinary. He opened up avenues of art that are still being explored today."

Inspiration For This Page

Colors that inspired this page using Mondrian Style

Although the Mondrian style was set to mostly primary colors on white originally, contemporary design and art often borrows from this artist's style unbeknownst to the viewer. As you can see, this page has used the color composition of the above images color scheme and made a tasty Mondrian page layout that the untrained eye would not recognize as a Mondrian influence. His work lives on in web design's fundamental layout being an ideal framework to explore Mondrian styles.

Student Construction by RussT Productions • Fall 2013