I first came across Mondrian's work as a teenager in an art history class at school back in the early '70s. Our teacher was cruising through many artists work that day showing examples on a slide projector. Mondrian was the only one who made an impression on me and I've been fascinated by his work ever since. I went on a sort of pilgrimage around Holland in the early '80s tracking down as many examples of his paintings as I could find on public display in Eindhoven, The Hague, Amsterdam and Rotterdam. So you could call me a fan of his.
I can't possibly do his work justice in this blog, as a very badly presented talk I gave about him at art school would confirm, so if you want to read more about him all I can suggest is you read Frank Elgar's book Mondrian published by Thames and Hudson. This was recommended to me by my head of department, Benno Zehnder as being the best book on the subject.
|View from Corbridge. Heather James|
Piet Mondrian and Ben Nicholson met in the 1930s and at the time 'they were the leading forces of abstract art in Europe'. There was a 20 year age difference with Mondrian being the elder and their backgrounds were quite different. Their friendship was so dynamic that Mondrian moved to London in 1938 at Nicholson's invitation where they worked in neighbouring Hampstead studios. It sounds like it was a very productive and creative time for both of them and during this period Nicholson produced his series of white reliefs plus abstract painting.
Mondrian's stay in London was short lived and he moved to New York in 1940. By this time Nicholson and had moved to live in Cornwall with his wife Barbara Hepworth which marked the parting of the ways for these two great abstract artists.