Piet Mondrian Chrysanthemum Drawings

Piet Mondrian Drawings

The Flower Drawings of Piet Mondrian

I have long been a fan of the works of Piet Mondrian from his early days as a naturalist painter to his later work which he called Neoplasticism. Even if you don’t recognize that term, you likely would remember his work immediately upon seeing one of his paintings.

Piet Mondrian
Piet Mondrian – Guggenheim Museum

It is Mondrian’s flower drawings that I would like to share here. I encourage our readers to do a Google search on the subject to see an overview of these drawings; there are apparently over 150 of them. They are powerful and delicate works, very figurative in nature. They often show the artists amazing technical skills along with his strong sense of design.

I was able to see a wonderful charcoal drawing of a chrysanthemum at Steven Ongpin Fine Art as part of Master Drawing New York in 2019. There is some illuminating text about Mondrains flower drawings at their site. On his walks along Verwerspad, Mondrian would sometimes end up at the Vis family’s market garden, whose greenhouses were home to an exotic world of flowers. The family grew magnificent chrysanthemums and cyclamens, the former of which particularly fascinated Mondrian.

Piet MondrianI was able to find only one book on the subject which is very well reviewed on Amazon. The reference of the book was from this New York Times Article from 1991 about a show in New York City at the Sidney Janis Gallery.

Here is a wonderful passage from that article: Most of the flowers are delicate, with stems suspended in space amid thin color, often pale blue. In some of the images of chrysanthemums, big flowers in ripe, healthy bloom barely disturb the surface of the paper. Ripeness is celebrated yet in danger. Particularly in the chrysanthemums, Mondrian could be almost botanical in his exploration of structure and yet ever a Symbolist in his susceptibility to mood and dream.

If you have had the good fortune of viewing one of these drawings in person we would love to hear about it in the comment section below.

4 Comments
  1. I saw that show in 1991 and was astonished and delighted. The vitality and zest of these drawings was an extraordinary contrast to what we all think of as his work–and I was left with the sense that they were a kid of balance to his abstraction, and in a way were part of keeping that side of his work as alive as it is as well.

  2. Hello Joan,

    How great to hear from someone who was actually at that show. It sounds like a bit of a dream exhibition. I get the sense that these drawings provided many needed “balancing” elements for the artist. I have read that while he at times did them for commercial reasons they were really his most figurative work and can be viewed that way. I think you are right that they likely created a counter to his abstractions. What a wonderful draftsman as well as thinker.

    Simon

  3. What a wonderful surprise! The chrysanthemum drawings in particular remind me of Leonardo’s nature drawings.

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