Massive tribute to Dutch artist

THE HAGUE • Dutch officials have unveiled what they called "the largest Mondrian painting in the world" to celebrate The Netherlands' best-known abstract artist, who helped found an influential art movement a century ago.

The replica "painting" made from thin stick-on plastic sheets features Piet Mondrian's famous design of straight black lines and striking red, yellow and blue blocks and has been displayed on the sides of the city hall in The Hague.

"The Hague's city council decided to honour the world-renowned artist as part of a year of celebrating the theme, Mondrian To Dutch Design", city spokesman Herbert Brinkman said.

This year marks the centenary of the founding of the Dutch art movement in 1917 called De Stijl (The Style), known for its bold horizontal and vertical lines encasing blocks of primary colours.

The city hall in The Hague with its facade decorated with what Dutch officials describe as "the largest Mondrian painting in the world".
The city hall in The Hague with its facade decorated with what Dutch officials describe as “the largest Mondrian painting in the world”. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Mondrian and fellow Dutch painter and designer Theo van Doesburg were two of the best-known artists of De Stijl, which eventually dissolved in the early 1930s.

Mondrian, who shortened his name from "Mondriaan" in later years, is best known for his 1944 canvas, Victory Boogie Woogie - considered one of the most important works of 20th-century art.

The painting returned to The Netherlands in 1998 after it was bought from a private American collection for US$40 million at the time.

It now hangs in The Hague's Gemeentemuseum, which also houses about 300 other Mondrian works, the world's largest collection.

Mr Brinkman said the city planned to adorn other buildings with similar Mondrian-inspired works, including floating cubical pontoons on the Hofvijver, the small lake in front of the centuries- old Dutch parliament.

After his death, Mondrian continued to be a source of inspiration, including for a famous 1965 cocktail dress designed by Yves Saint Laurent, which sold in 2011 for £30,000.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 06, 2017, with the headline 'Massive tribute to Dutch artist'. Print Edition | Subscribe