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Monday, April 28, 2014

Piet Mondrian

"The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel."

Dutch Painter
1872 - 1944

Sometimes creative leaders let their egos get in the way of their painting, their writing or their art. They believe they know all and are all powerful. They berate others and often are hostile to the ideas of others. An artist needs to be humble and realize he or she has been given a gift. Pride and ego will ruin the gift. 

Like Piet, many artists and writers talk about simply being a channel for something greater than themselves. Have you ever created something and afterwards wondered where it came from? When we learn to let go of the conscious egotistical self and become a channel for creativity, we will surprise and amaze ourselves with the gift we have been given. Don't seek to understand the source of this gift. Simply accept the gift with humility.

Piet Mondrian grew up as the second of five children in a Protestant home in Holland.  His father was an amateur artist who gave drawing lessons to his son.  His uncle, an accomplished artist, taught him to paint.  At twenty, he entered the Royal Academy of Visual Arts in Amsterdam.  His education included drawing models, copying old masters and genre painting.

In 1905 Mondrian was introduced to the paintings of the French Post-Impressionists which deeply influenced him and opened up the world of color in a new way.  In 1912, he moved to Paris and was introduced to Cubism, another stop on his way to his mature work of abstraction.  In 1914, he visited his sick father in the Netherlands and was unable to return to France because of World War I.  

While in Holland, Mondrian published a journal, De Stijl (The Style), that presented the ideal of total abstraction as a model for harmony.  He emphasized the need for horizontal and vertical lines.  The movement had a major influence on art, architecture and typography in the 20th century.

Mondrian moved back to Paris after World War I where he continued his work in abstract art.  Prior to World War II, he moved first to London for two years before moving to New York in 1940.  He never married and died of pneumonia at the age of 71.