Windmill in the Gein by Piet Mondrian

This painting by the famous Dutch painter Piet Mondrian (1872 – 1944) is filled with the warm glow of yellows, greens, blues and browns.

His palette is soft and supple, filling the composition with richness not typical of northern landscapes. This is a quiet, yet vast landscape rich with broad horizontal brush marks that give a very clear indication of the real size of the field we are looking at. The windmill, the sole man-made object in the composition and also the only vertical element in the painting, also providing us with  a good geographic indication of the location. (It’s not Paris!)

Here the traditional genre – a landscape, is created in a manner typical of Northern European and Dutch schools. Mondrian depicted this setting employing the low horizon line and a warm earth-tone color palette most commonly associated with the Dutch baroque painters like Jacob van Ruisdael in his famous View of Haarlem from the Dunes of Overeen. Following other Dutch fine art cannons, Mondrian balanced the horizontal composition with a beautifully textured sky full of low-floating cumulous clouds that seem to be reflecting the blues, lavenders and yellows of a northern sunset.

Pieter Cornelius Mondriaan Jr., later Piet Mondrian, aided by his father and uncle taught himself the art of drawing and drafting and won many “certificates” for his richly detailed and highly realistic portraits, landscapes and still lives. A large part of his professional career was dedicated to Impressionism, Fauvism and Cubism. The Catalogue Raisoneé of Mondrian’s work lists his first “grid” painting No. VI / Composition No. II to 1920. These highly geometric works containing (flat) bold fields of red, yellow and blue, defined by horizontal and vertical black lines of varying widths would come to define Mondrian’s legacy.

Windmill in the Gein, 1906 – 1907 is in a private collection.

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