Piet Mondrian – Dune Landscape (1911)

By 1908, the Dutch avant-garde was gathering every summer in Domburg, a small resort in Zeeland, on the coast of the North Sea. Delighted to capture the light of the landscape, the young painters enthusiastically experimented with color and form, slowly rejecting realism and turning instead to the limitless potential of modern art.

Among the group was the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. Today, Mondrian is mostly known for his highly geometric abstract artworks, which were limited to straight horizontal and vertical lines and basic primary colors, lacking subject and even being neutrally titled Composition. However, the Dutchman wasn’t born an abstract painter, he became one.

Those summers spent at Domburg ended up being a turning point for Mondrian, giving him the freedom to continue playing with different painting styles, including pointillism and Fauvism. Dune Landscape, also painted during a summer at Domburg, is a serene landscape with the lavender hue of the sinuous sand dunes being emphasized by the green-blue grass. On the tilted horizon line we can see the water of the North Sea, with two sailboats in the distance. Mondrian also achieved an interesting lined texture for the sky and the dunes.

Piet Mondrian - Dune Landscape
Piet Mondrian – Dune Landscape (1911), oil on canvas

What stands out is not only the peacefulness that the landscape conveys through the use of blues and violet, but also the efficiency of the diagonal lines. If you keep in mind Mondrian’s extremely static later artworks, you see how much the diagonals matter. They offer more depth to the landscape and the illusion of movement, suggesting waves, wind and the impermanence of the ever-changing dunes.

The painting, modern in its bold choice of color and in the abstract rendering of the dunes, represented a transitional period for Mondrian, as he further embraced abstractionism.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Jim says:

    it looks like the desert in the early morning hours

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gabriela says:

      I thought it captured those morning hours too. But I’ve never seen the desert, so I’ll take your word for it!


  2. ReinventIngrid says:

    Wonderful description and analysis of a Mondrian I discovered with your pos. Thank you for sharing this beauty!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gabriela says:

      Thank you, Ingrid! I accidentally discovered it myself, while flipping through an art album. That lavender shade just jumped out at me. And I’m not sure if I’ve said this before, but I find what you’re doing – going back to school and your blog – very inspiring. The art world needs you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ReinventIngrid says:

        How I loved discovering artworks I did not know while flipping through art books. Sometimes it is a painting, sometimes an artist…oh what joy!
        Thank you so very much for your kind words on my blog and studies: everything is a big juggling exercise but isn’t it called life anyway? 😂 I love your posts, richly varied, wonderfully well observed and concise… always a joy to find a new one in my inbox 🙏🏼

        Liked by 1 person

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