Piet Mondrian's early Years: The winding path to straight abstraction

Nicholas Fox Weber

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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    This thesis is a close investigation of the life of Piet Mondrian from his birth in 1872 through his permanent move to Paris in 1919. It explores in unprecedented ways the shared qualities of Mondrian’s early figurative art, including scenes of lighthouses and sand dunes and churches, with his abstractions that are intentionally representative of no known visible subject matter. The thesis sees work ranging from Mondrian’s paintings of flowers, whether singly or grouped in bouquets, with his constructions devoid of all elements other than straight vertical and horizontal lines, a pure white background, and occasional rectangular form in primary color.
    Weber makes clear his own deep personal involvement with Mondrian’s art, and addresses the question of why the qualities of Mondrian’s work can have tremendous emotional impact on people of all nationalities and in all time periods. As closely as Weber explores the life of Mondrian as a human being he makes the case that one does not even need to know the name of the artist, let alone any further information, in order to be seduced and exhilarated by Mondrian’s paintings.
    Weber explores with rigorous precision the existing literature on Piet Mondrian in order to shatter the myths that predominate in cost of what is written or said about the artist. He uses primary sources like Mondrian’s own letters and first hand accounts of people who knew Mondrian in order to create a circumspect and vivid portrait of a highly elusive individual.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Renders, Johannes, Supervisor
    • de Ruiter, Peter, Co-supervisor
    Award date20-Sep-2018
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-94-034-1018-0
    Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-1017-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

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