Dutch painter Piet Mondrian is an abstract artist who is famous for his use of simplistic black lines and primary colours. As the founder of art movement De Stijl– ‘The Style’ – Mondrian is regarded as one of the most influential modern artists of the 20th century. But what do we really know about the man behind the masking tape? Read on to find out some fun facts about this cool creative...
His dad was called Piet Mondriaan
Mondrian’s dad had the exact same name! They were both called Pieter Cornelius Mondriaan and his dad was also an artist – albeit in a school, as a qualified art teacher. The only difference is that Mondrian ‘the artist’ dropped the extra ‘a’ from his surname when he became an international painter. Interestingly enough, Piet Mondrian’s name is an anagram of ‘I paint modern’ – how appropriate!
He was a school teacher
Following in his father’s footsteps, Mondrian gained a teaching degree at the start of his career. He taught in a primary school for a while and used his spare time to work on his own art. Perhaps the school environment influenced his future work using primary colours?
He lived with his work
When designing the interior of his London and Paris apartments, Mondrian used just two colours. Can you guess what they were? White “with the odd patch of red”. So, he was essentially living in a 3D version of his work and was surrounded by his paintings. Mondrian didn’t have a separate studio space, so he painted from home, with work-in-progress propped up around the living room for friends to view when they visited.
He loved jazz
Seeing as one of his pieces was titled ‘Victory Boogie Woogie’, it’s clear to see that Mondrian was a big fan of swing and jazz. He also loved the Charleston, a dance that was prohibited in dance halls around the world for being too outrageous. He once told the Dutch press that he would never return to the Netherlands if the Charleston was banned there. He took dance classes throughout his life and would regularly go out dancing in jazz clubs.
He drew lines freehand
Mondrian never used a ruler when constructing his paintings, can you believe it? However, he did use tape or strips of paper as an early form of masking tape when creating the blocks of colour. The black lines were thinly painted to start with, and he gradually built up the bold shapes until he’d created those perfect straight edges.