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Piet Mondrian: Before Abstraction

Exhibition dates

May 23, 2015 – November 1, 2015

Dutch painter Piet Mondrian is often regarded as the father of modern abstract art. By the 1920s, he had developed his trademark style, which is characterized by bold red, yellow and blue rectangles bounded by a black-and-white grid.

Mondrian spent his youth in rural Holland painting windmills, fields and rivers. Along with two works by Mondrian, this small, focused installation includes a selection of watercolours by artists of the Hague School, whose moody, pastoral landscapes influenced Mondrian's early work.

However, as Before Abstraction shows, Mondrian preferred high horizon lines and flattened spaces to the distant panoramas and open skies of Hague School artists. The watercolour Three Cows in a Pot Stall, a recent addition to the AGO's collection, hints at Mondrian's mature style. The strong contours of this work — the distinct horizontal and vertical lines that enclose the cows — foreshadow the abstract patterning of his later compositions.

Organized by Art Gallery of Ontario

This exhibition is included with general admission.

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