He is considered to be a master of the composition of coloured areas. Through his method of strict reduction to the basic elements of painting, Mondrian created icons of classic modernism. A lesser-known fact, however, is that Mondrian started out by creating paintings in the impressionist style of the Hague School and explored different styles of art before lines and the organisation of image areas dominated his artistic creations. A new exhibition developed by the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in cooperation with the Martin-Gropius-Bau now endeavours to illustrate this development in Mondrian’s works.
With about 50 paintings and drawings, the exhibition provides visitors with an insight into Mondrian’s quest for his own artistic path. The exhibition is the first major exhibition in Berlin to be dedicated to Mondrian since the opening exhibition of the Neue Nationalgalerie in 1968.
The exhibition shows a wide range of works of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag which owns the world´s largest Mondrian collection. Benno Tempel, the Director of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, facilitated this project. The exhibition was curated by Mondrian expert Hans Janssen, a curator at the Gemeentemuseum.
“The first element of my painting to change was colour”, noted Mondrian in 1941. When making this statement, he omitted the fact that he had already made significant reductions to his drawings by gradually emphasising the relationships and rhythmic structures between vertical and horizontal lines. This influenced his work with colour and he developed from a traditionalist into a protagonist of modern art.