Before he began paring down the universe, in 1919, to panes of primary color; before he took part in the founding, in 1917, of De Stijl (“The Style”), the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian painted landscapes, portraits, and flowers—figurative works in which a sensitive eye will detect hints of the abstraction to come. The De Stijl movement was shaped by a philosophy Mondrian laid out in his essay “Neo-Plasticism in Pictorial Art,” published over 11 issues of De Stijl magazine. He posited that art should “ignore the particulars of appearance, that is to say, natural form and color.” Soon afterward, the rectilinear modernism that propelled Mondrian to world stardom began. In this exhibition, 60 paintings by the artist himself and members of the movement trace an arc between Mondrian’s first landscapes and his later incomparable works. —E.C.
Museo delle Culture Via Tortona, 56, 20144 Milano MI, Italy Get Directions »