Dutch Artist, Piet Mondrian is perhaps best known for his painting ‘Composition with Yellow, Blue and Red 1937-42’ and his continuation of some of the theories that Cubism paved the way for. In 1917, Mondrian became a principle member of the De Stijl which translates as The Style and was also known as Neo-Plasticism. It consisted of artists and architects who used both strong line and primary colours.
‘Portrait of a Young Woman in Red 1908-1909’ is not a painting that Mondrian is particularly remembered for, but shows that he had technical ability as a portrait painter. Although again, like Anthony Pilbro’s painting ‘Head 1991’, her face is not quite anatomically accurate. The eyes are two large, nose too long and straight, and perhaps the lips are too narrow. Her expression is calm and poised, directly looking out of the canvas to meet our gaze. I wonder if Mondrian created her to be an ideal, although not sexualised as her dress reaches the bottom of her neck. This woman is beautiful but not to be oggled at.
Mondrian’s use of fluid brushstrokes remind me of the painting style of Edvard Munch, who would have been working around the same time as Mondrian. Both artists seem to be a fan of creating a subtle indication of an aura in the coloured background.
It’s refreshing to see a different painting by an artist who is so well known for one piece in particular, especially where the style is so varied.