Piet Mondrian ( Dutch, 1872 - 1944 )

About 1917
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General Description

Even in his own lifetime, Piet Mondrian was lauded as the founder of the most modern, avant-garde art movement of the 20th century. Nevertheless, before he developed Neo-Plasticism, in which pictorial elements are reduced to a black grid on a white ground with contained fields of primary colors, he enjoyed a successful career as a figurative painter. In 1917 he began a series of works depicting an old windmill near his home on the outskirts of Amsterdam. Seen from a low, close vantage point, the motif was a constant through which Mondrian explored dramatic color and lighting effects. In Windmill, the expressive application of cool blue tones in broad, visible brushstrokes reveals his absorption of avant-garde styles like Symbolism and Post-Impressionism, which he had seen in Paris before the outbreak of World War I.

Excerpt from

DMA label copy.

Related Multimedia

Collections smARTphone tour; Dr. Heather MacDonald discusses Windmill by Piet Mondrian (DMA collection 1989.142)
Learn about Piet Mondrian (1872 - 1944).
Collections smartphone audio about Piet Mondrian; related to Windmill, 1989.142; Place de la Concorde, 1982.22.FA, DMA Collection

Fun Facts

  • "I find a mill like that really beautiful. Especially when, as now, it is so close that we don’t have the distance to see it or paint it in the field of a normal perspective. It is very hard to render plastically anything seen so close up: one has to resort to a freer type of expression.”—Piet Mondrian

  • Another one of Mondrian's windmill paintings_ _(1982.25.FA), is also part of the Dallas Museum of Art's permanent collection.