Mondrian's Interest in Theosophy Begins
Mondrian's art was always intimately related to his spiritual and philosophical studies.
In 1908 he became interested in the theosophical movement launched by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky in the late 19th century. Blavatsky believed that it was possible to attain a knowledge of nature more profound than that provided by empirical means, and much of Mondriaan's work for the rest of his life was inspired by his search for that spiritual knowledge.
Theosophy is a doctrine of religious philosophy and mysticism. Theosophy holds that all religions are attempts by the "Spiritual Hierarchy" to help humanity in evolving to greater perfection, and that each religion therefore has a portion of the truth. The founding members, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831–1891), Henry Steel Olcott (1832–1907), and William Quan Judge (1851–1896), established the Theosophical Society in New York City in 1875.
The three declared objectives of the original Theosophical Society as established by Blavatsky, Judge and Olcott were as follows:
First — To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color.
Second — To encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Philosophy, and Science.
Third — To investigate the unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in man."
Modern Theosophical esotericism, however, begins with Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831–1891) usually known as Madame Blavatsky. In 1875 she founded the Theosophical Society in New York City together with Henry Steel Olcott, who was a lawyer and writer. During the Civil War Col. Olcott worked to root out corruption in war contracts. Blavatsky was a world traveler who eventually settled in India where, with Olcott, she established the headquarters of the Society in Bangalore. Her first major book Isis Unveiled (1877) presented elements mainly from the Western wisdom tradition based on her extensive travels in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Her second major work The Secret Doctrine (1888), contains a commentary on The Book of Dzyan, and is based upon what she called an Unwritten Secret Doctrine (really the Wisdom tradition or Wisdom Religion allotted to Man), which is described as the underlying basis of all the religions of humanity. These writings, along with her Key to Theosophy and The Voice of the Silence are key texts for genuine students.