Piet Mondriaan (Dutch, 1872-1944)
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Piet Mondriaan (Dutch, 1872-1944)

Molen aan 't Gein

Piet Mondriaan (Dutch, 1872-1944)
Molen aan 't Gein
signed 'Piet Mondriaan' (lower right)
oil on canvas laid down on panel
35 x 46 cm.
Painted circa 1905.
Frans Buffa & Zonen, Amsterdam, no. 787.
Special notice
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Lot Essay

The present lot is a recently discovered picture of the Broekzijder mill. Around 1905 Mondriaan executed several landscapes of the wind mills on and near the Gein. The view depicted in this painting is the so called Broekzijder mill on the Gein, a small river meandering through the countryside just outside Amsterdam.

Mondriaan's early work, until 1908, bears a close resemblance to the painters of the Hague School. It is common, when viewing an artist's early work, to search for the origins of his mature style. While it may be misleading to interpret the strong relationship of the vertical and horizontal elements in these early paintings (such as the windmill, its blades and the horizon line) as the absolute origin of 'De Stijl', these works certainly portray an artist who is carefully considering the geometries of nature and the correlation between perception of the environment and conception of a work of art.
In most of these works Mondriaan had a preference for horizontal compositions.
Despite of the lack of visible architectural features for the mill, the shape of the opening under the bridge is sufficient to reveal the identity of its subject. The same Broekzijder mill is found in three other Mondriaan paintings (Welsh: A341, A401 and A341).

The present lot is possibly executed plein-air and is in its loose brush work much related to the sketch of the Oostzijdse mill (Welsh: A404 and A405) from the same period.

In the period between 1905 and 1907 Mondriaan executed no less than 25 different versions of the mills in the surrounding of Amsterdam. For Mondriaan the mills on the Gein were an important motif for experimenting with new pictorial means. In 1919 Mondriaan said about the motif of the mill: 'I find this windmill very beautiful. Particularly as we are too close and therefore cannot see or draw it normally (..) I tried to represent things seen from close by, precisely because of the grandeur they then attain' ('Piet Mondriaan. Natuurlijke en abstrakte realiteit: Trialoog' in De Stijl III 12, 1919, p. 16). The overall green and brownish tonality, its warmly illuminated sky and the silhouette of the mill in the present lot were fairly common in the period of the so-called 'evening landscapes' (1905-1907) and were, without any doubt, intended to add a feeling of nocturnal repose.

To be sold with a certificate of authentification by Mr. Joop Joosten, dated November 2006.

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