Mondrian Expat Tours: meet the Dutch through their great artists
Mondrian’s art can be seen all over the world. But if you really want to know what you are looking at and truly want to understand this unique Dutch artist, you owe it to yourself to take the Mondrian Expat Tour at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.
Get to know the Dutch
A great way for expats to get to know more about Dutch culture and history is by getting acquainted with some of the timeless artists the Netherlands has produced.
The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag has a collection that boasts 150.000 items, including the largest collection of Mondrian paintings anywhere in the world. The museum owns more than 300 of his works that he created not only in the Netherlands, but also in Paris, London and New York.
Mondrian Expat Tours
Mondrian’s cosmopolitan life was as varied as his art, which moved from quintessentially Dutch landscapes to dazzlingly colourful dunes and windmills, and then on to his renowned abstract compositions in red, yellow and blue. With good reason, the Gemeentemuseum is called the international home of Piet Mondrian.
A very enjoyable way to get into the mind of Mondrian and to understand his art, is to take the Mondrian expat tour. And you get to experience his art in style, because it’s a tour specifically created for internationals which even includes your choice of sweet or savory catering.
Why is Piet Mondrian so popular?
According to art historians, Mondrian (Amersfoort, 7 March 1872 - New York, 1 February 1944) was the greatest modernist artist who ever lived. Not only that, he is credited as the inventor of abstract art.
Piet Mondrian is probably best known for his distinctive style of geometrical abstraction, with blocks of red, yellow and blue between razor-sharp black lines.
Unlike some of the other famous Dutch painters, Mondrian was already a legend during his lifetime, and not only for his abstract paintings.
"Did he really make this?" asked President Obama, when he found himself face to face with Mondrian’s bright red windmill in brilliant yellow sunshine during his 2014 visit to the Gemeentemuseum.
Piet Mondrian [1872-1944], Victory Boogie Woogie, 1942-1944 (New York).
On loan from ICN, Amsterdam. All images courtesy of Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
The timeless nature of his art is one of the reasons that Mondrian is considered to be one of the great Dutch painters.
Mondrian: the heroic path to abstraction
Mondrian was a true inventor. It has taken the decades since his death to grasp the full measure of his achievements. He started by painting in a highly realistic style with lush green landscapes full of cows, drainage ditches and farmsteads, set against a low horizon.
The clear light of the Dutch province of Zeeland produced brilliant colours and wild brushwork. And for a time, Mondrian painted otherworldly women and flowers, as if some arcane future was about to appear.
When you place the works in chronological order you will see a path towards abstraction unfold before your very eyes. Mondrian’s trees provide the clearest demonstration of this.
His famous apple trees read like a time-lapse photo series: branches become lines, trunks are ever more stylized and extravagant, irregular leafy crowns turn into mere ovals. Gradually, things become more and more abstract.
However, words cannot accurately convey the full experience of seeing Mondrian’s paintings with your own eyes. The catered Mondrian Expat Tours offer an unprecedented glimpse into the creative mind of one of the great Dutch artists.
The Mondrian Expat Tours take place on April 10, April 24 and May 22. Click here to see the full program and to book tickets!