De Stijl, the movement of Mondrian, turns 100 (NCR)

A girl plays a piano decorated in Mondrian-style overlooking a canal in Leiden

A girl plays a piano decorated in Mondrian-style overlooking a canal in Leiden. Photo: Menachem Wecker


My article “De Stijl, the movement of Mondrian, turns 100” appears in National Catholic Reporter. Here’s the lede:

Piet Mondrian’s signature later style — red, blue and yellow rectangles embedded within a black grid — surfaces everywhere. It adorns the Partridge Family bus, it inspired the introduction of 1998 film “You’ve Got Mail,” and it appears in a scene midway through Katy Perry’s 2014 music video “This Is How We Do.” It’s not unusual to see Mondrian-styled works hanging on walls in movie and TV sets, and the artist’s style is featured in more than half a dozen “Simpsons” episodes. In one, Homer kneels, salivating, in front of an Andy Warhol Campbell’s Soup painting at the Springsonian Museum. To his left, the Mondrian hangs on the wall, as Homer exclaims of the soup, “With ham!”

As ubiquitous a trademark as Mondrian’s style is, many are unlikely to know much about the Dutch artist. Born Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan in 1872, the painter was part of the de Stijl movement, which turns 100 this year. The movement, founded by fellow Dutch artist Theo van Doesburg, distilled painting and architecture down to their most basic building blocks: verticals and horizontals in a palette of the three primary colors plus black and white.

Read the rest of the article here.

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