original oil paintings by south african artist

Piet Mondrian on Art and Painting

Piet Mondrian: Neoplasticism

" All painting - the painting of the past as well as the present - shows us that its essential plastic means are only line and color. Although these means, when composed, inevitably produce forms, these forms are not all the essential plastic means of art. "

" The new art has continued and culminated the art of the past in such a way that the new painting, by employing 'neutral', or universal forms, express itself only through the relationships of line and color. "

Piet Mondrian: Representation

" The artistic efficacy of a work is determined not only by its artistic value, but also by the character of the figural representation: subject, natural or abstract forms. "

" Although the artistic value may be identical in every true work of art, eternal and independent of the figural representation, the latter is of such importance that it completely determines the expression of this artistic value. Being changeable, the figural representation constantly transforms the purely artistic expression; with the passage of time the artistic capacity constantly makes use of new forms, or creates them. In this reciprocal action we must therefore distinguish two values: the artistic value, and the value of the means of expression. "

Piet Mondrian: Plastic Art and Pure-Plastic Art

" Abstract art is therefore opposed to a natural representation of things. But it is not opposed to nature, as is generally thought. It is opposed to the raw primitive animal nature of man, but it is one with true human nature. "

" In painting, the primary color that is as pure as possible realizes this abstraction of natural color. "

" The fact that people generally prefer figurative art ( which creates and finds its continuation in abstract art ) can be explained by the dominating force of the individual inclination in human nature. From this inclination arises all the opposition to art which is purely abstract. "

" [ Non-figurative art ] shows that "art" is not the expression of the appearance of reality such as we see it, nor of the life which we live, but that it is the expression of true reality and true life... indefinable but realizable in plastics. Thus we must carefully distinguish between two kinds of reality, one which has an individual character, and one which has a universal appearance ..."

" That which is regarded as a system is nothing but constant obedience to the laws of pure plastics, to necessity, which art demands from him. It is thus clear that he has not become a mechanic, but that the progress of science, of technique, of machinery, of life as a whole, has only made him into a living machine, capable of realizing in a pure manner the essence of art. "


Goldwater, R & Treves, M. 1976. Artists on Art, From the 14th to the 20th Century . John Murray.

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