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280 × 170 mm
264 pages
180 illustrations, 70 in colour
01 Sep 2001

Mondrian The Art of Destruction Carel Blotkamp

This book on Mondrian, one of the great pioneers of abstract art, analyses the interrelation between his paintings and his theories on art and life as expressed in the public writings and the (largely unpublished) letters. Mondrian’s art was not based on reasoning or calculation – on the contrary, intuition was central to his concept of the artistic process – but he always felt a strong urge to position his art in a wider cultural and philosophical context. Crucial to Mondrian’s thought was the Theosophical notion of evolution, which required the destruction of the old to make room for the new, in life, in society and in art.

Mondrian: The Art of Destruction concentrates on the paintings, the artist’s major achievement, examining the influences that shaped his art: Fauvism and Cubism c.1910, the work of Bart van der Leck, De Stijl and the Parisian art world during the 1920s. Mondrian appears not as an isolated figure, but as an artist who took a keen interest in the world around him, a veritable avant-garde painter who saw his role as a creator of a new, modern culture.

‘Clarifies the ethical and spiritual purpose of Mondrian’s work, deepening its significance and our understanding of it.’ – Sunday Telegraph

‘The scholarship on Piet Mondrian has undergone a massive transformation in the last 25 years . . . we have to thank Carel Blotkamp, then, for providing an informed synthesis of this accumulated scholarship in his remarkable Mondrian: The Art of Destruction . . . I dare say that it is the best book on the artist to date . . . it is surely a good sign, when one finishes a book, to be crying for more.’ – Artforum International

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Carel Blotkamp is Professor of the History of Modern Art at Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam.