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The Art World Of Piet Mondrian.

Byline: Aarathi

Last week, Christie's the famous auction house in London was witness to some exciting action.

Dutch painter Piet Mondrian's work which had come up for sale was auctioned off for a record $50.6mn (A[pounds sterling]32.1mn). Created in 1929, the piece was titled Composition No. III, With Red, Blue, Yellow and Black. Earlier in 1997, the same piece had been auctioned off for $3.8mn.

Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) was a creator of iconic abstract paintings, dominated by geometric shapes and primary colors. Let's trace back his life.

Early life And Childhood

Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan was born in Amersfoort, Netherlands in 1872. His father was an art teacher and young Piet was exposed to arts early on in life. Indeed he himself also qualified as a teacher before going on to paint.

He was trained at the Rijksadame van Beeldende in Amsterdam and like his countryman Vincent van Gogh, he too was deeply influenced by impressionist techniques. This style of painting reflected a visual impression rather than sharp images, and there was emphasis on lighting. Piet's paintings from this period were predominantly landscapes and included a few still-life paintings as well.

Over time, Mondriaan experimented with various painting techniques as he worked to develop his signature style. He was also influenced by a theosophical movement of the late 19th century. His paintings soon became symbolic of his quest for spiritual knowledge.

In 1911, when Mondriaan moved to Paris, he was very impressed by examples of the Cubism style of painting, especially by those of Picasso. This abstract style reduced objects into basic shapes and artists would depict the same object from multiple viewpoints. It was a radically new approach, and one which Mondriaan found vastly appealing. It immediately reflected in his work and the painter even changed his name to Mondrian (dropping an aa'), as if to represent his departure from the Netherlands.

Neoplasticism -- His Trademark Style.

When he did go back to visit home in 1914, he was forced into making it a lengthy stay when the First World War broke out. This was when he developed what became his signature style -- neoplasticism. His paintings had three primary colors on a black and white grid. To him, this represented a fundamental balance in life and had an underlying connection to spirituality.

Mondrian continued to experiment with this style back in Paris, and later when he moved to London as well. Some works show his characteristic grid in a diagonal pattern, later known as aLozenge'. Eventually, Mondrian shifted to New York, where he spent the rest of his life dedicated to his passion. He also began using more colors and dabbled in collage as well. His paintings were sold across America and Europe.

Piet Mondrian was a pioneer in his field of neoplasticism and his works adorn the walls of museums and galleries across the world. In 2009, one of his paintings sold for $27mn. He continues to inspire artists and patrons even today, as seen at Christie's last week, which set a new record for $50.6mn.

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Title Annotation:Society/Arts
Article Type:Biography
Geographic Code:4EUNE
Date:May 17, 2015
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