November 19, 2020 - Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia - Mondrian and De Stijl
November 19, 2020

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia

Piet Mondrian, Picture II 1936-43, with Yellow, Red and Blue, 1936-43. Oil on canvas, 60 x 55 cm. Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Purchase 1967 (The Museum of Our Wishes). © 2020 Mondrian/Holtzman Trust.

Mondrian and De Stijl
November 11, 2020–March 1, 2021

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Calle de Santa Isabel, 52
28012 Madrid
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Mondrian and De Stijl is an exhibition organized by the Museo Reina Sofía and the Stichting Kunstmuseum den Haag with the collaboration of Comunidad de Madrid, that addresses the work of Piet Mondrian (1872, Amsterdam–1944, New York) in the context of De Stijl, a Dutch artistic movement that shaped the future of geometrical abstract art and originated a profound change in visual culture after World War I.

The exhibition, which forms part of the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Museo Reina Sofía, reviews the career and enormous influence of Mondrian, regarded together with Picasso as the great reference point of modernism. The curator of the exhibition, Hans Janssen, corroborates this in the exhibition catalogue, pointing out that “there are strong reasons for affirming that Piet Mondrian, a hero of the visual arts, is the modernist artist by definition.”

Mondrian’s concept of beauty based on the surface, on the structure and composition of color and lines, shaped a novel and innovative style that aimed at breaking down the frontiers between disciplines and surpassing the traditional limits of pictorial space. De Stijl, the magazine of the same name founded by the painter and critic Theo van Doesburg, was the platform for spreading the ideas of this new art and overcoming traditional Dutch provincialism. The first issue appeared in 1917, and the publication continued to offer information until 1931 on the international development of abstract art. Piet Mondrian, who was born fifteen years before the rest of the members of De Stijl, was the patriarch of the movement.

Contrary to what has often been said, the members of De Stijl did not pursue a utopia but a world where collaboration between all disciplines would make it possible to abolish hierarchies among the arts. These would thus be freed to merge together and give rise to something new, a reality better adapted to the world of modernity that was just starting to be glimpsed.

The artists associated with Mondrian and the magazine De Stijl operated in a world where other artistic developments were under way. Each gallery in the exhibition therefore counterpoises phenomena directly aligned with the key ideas behind De Stijl with other attempts, in the Netherlands and elsewhere, to create an art that could rightly be called contemporary and which was founded in reality – or was even ahead of it. Viewed in this way, the period from the Russian Revolution to the rise of Nazi Germany was a turbulent period in art and culture, a time when the artists of De Stijl managed to steer their own unique and totally new course.

Visitors will be able to see 95 works, 35 by Mondrian and 60 by artists of De Stijl, such as Theo van Doesburg, Bart van der Leck, Georges Vantongerloo or Vilmos Huszár, among many others, as well as historical documentation (magazines, letters, photographs, catalogues, etc.).

In addition to Mondrian and De Stijl, the Museo Reina Sofía will present in the upcoming months various temporary exhibitions, including the ones devoted to León Ferrari, Ida Applebroog and Charlotte Johannesson, among others.

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Calle Santa Isabel, 52, 28012
Madrid, Spain 

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
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