Piet Mondrian
Piet Mondrian
License: Public Domain

Piet Mondrian is Born

Pieter Cornelis Mondrian was born on March 7th 1872 in Amersvoort in central Holland and lived there for the first eight years of his life. He was the second child of four, with two brothers and one sister. His father Pieter Cornelis Sr. was headmaster of an elementary school, a gifted draftsman and amateur artist. Uncle Frits Mondrian was a self-taught painter and commercially successful, even the Russian court bought his work. As Piet Jr. progressed towards abstract art, he came into conflict with uncle Frits, which seems to have had something to do with Piet Mondrian signing his paintings with "Piet Mondrian" (instead of Mondriaan) from 1912 on.

The Mondrians, devout Calvinists, were an artistic family who painted and made music and Mondrian Sr. could afford a decent education for his four children. Early on Piet Jr. proved to have a talent for drawing. His father gave him drawing lessons and took his son to the countryside to sketch. Uncle Frits taught him the basics of painting.

As a teenager Mondrian was thoroughly educated in drawing and visited several schools. His education was complemented by a retired art-teacher Baet van Ueberfeldt. Mondrian Sr. intended his son to become a drawing teacher so that Piet would be able to make a living. Mondrian won his licences and was allowed to teach at primary and secondary schools. With his licences under his belt, having fulfilled his father's demands, Piet Mondrian decided to become an artist, not a teacher, in 1892. His father could not afford an education at the National Academy of Art in Amsterdam, but Uncle Frits managed to obtain an allowance for Piet Mondrian; he was 20 when he moved to Amsterdam.

Pieter Cornelis "Piet" Mondriaan, after 1912 Mondrian, was a Dutch painter.

He was an important contributor to the De Stijl art movement and group, which was founded by Theo van Doesburg. He evolved a non-representational form which he termed Neo-Plasticism. This consisted of white ground, upon which was painted a grid of vertical and horizontal black lines and the three primary colors.

Mondrian was born in Amersfoort in the Netherlands, the second of his parents' children. He was descended from Christian Dirkzoon Monderyan who lived in the Hague as early as 1670. The family moved to Winterswijk when his father, Pieter Cornelius Mondriaan, was appointed head teacher at a local primary school. Between his 1905 painting 'The River Amstel' and his 1907 'Amaryllis', Mondrian changed the spelling of his signature from Mondriaan to Mondrian. Mondrian was introduced to art from a very early age: his father was a qualified drawing teacher, and with his uncle, Fritz Mondriaan (a pupil of Willem Maris of The Hague School of artists), the younger Piet often painted and drew along the river Gein.