Lighthouse at Westkapelle in Brown, 1909 Piet Mondrian Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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In a similar manner to how Claude Monet would capture different objects under varying light conditions, Mondrian here focuses on a tall lighthouse and would return several times in order to create a variety of different interpretations of the very same building.

In this painting the artist combines touches of brown and blue to create the image of the lighthouse itself. He chooses to dab horizontally down the right hand side of the building in order to form the edges of the construction, where as in other interpretations he would just paint vertically. The use of short horizontal lines allows us to better understand the contours of the building, revealing small intricate details which we cannot spot in other paintings. He would re-use colours on different elements, such as the light blue from the sky then being used within the lighthouse, which created an interesting consistency across the overall piece. He would do this many times during his work in Zeeland and it also meant he could reduce his palette considerably. Within Lighthouse at Westkapelle in Brown, 1909 he also chooses to include some details of elements around the foot of the building, which helps us understand more about this location.

The artist would capture scenes around the Netherlands for many years, finding all manner of different sources of inspiration. The big change would come after his move to Paris, at which point he started to delve deeper into the world of abstract art and from that point onwards his connection to the Netherlands starting to fade. He would create many interpretations of this lighthouse in Westkapelle between the years of 1909-1911. He seemed struck by its unique nature, standing free by itself high above everything around it. The landscape around Zeeland is flat and barren, though entirely beautiful, and so most of Mondrian's work here would be of landscapes devoid of detail, reduced almost to flat bands of colour for the sun, sea and land. He would come across dunes here that featured regularly and the region was entirely suitable for a reduced palette.

Though knowledgeable on the geography of the Netherlands will now that Westkapelle is to be found in the province of Zeeland which is perhaps the quietest part of the entire country. One can still find many of the location captured by Mondrian there today, and most have changed very little. Even a century later one can still find the same lighthouse as featured in a number of his paintings and the landscape views of dunes are also just as untouched as they ever were. In visiting this region Mondrian must have been searching for an escape from normal life, somewhere that would allow his mind to rest and recover. It was fortunate that whilst here he also discovered several elements of this unique environment which would inspire a whole body of work.