The Red Mill comes from the early Mondrian series in Zeeland, which featured portraits, seascapes and windmills
Zeeland is the westernmost province of the Netherlands. Mondrian was attracted to the large number of islands and peninsulas that make up this unique environment.
Artist Mondrian represented the traditional qualities of this region in his work, also underlining the tranquility of this less developed part of the country.
Mondrian spent several summers here, from 1909 to 1911. His work was characterised by bright colours, similar to those of Henri Matisse in The Dance, or multiple Vincent van Gogh paintings from the previous century.
There were also large, singular brushstrokes in some of these pieces, but not so here in The Red Mill. The contrasting colours used throughout his Zeeland series remind many of Monet's experimentation with Haystacks and also architecture as he helped to construct the impressionist movement. There are also elements of pointilism here, too, famously brought to fame by Georges Seurat.
The simplicity of this painting, two clear tones, one dominant outline to produce the windmill form, was one of the more significant depictions of windmills in his career and was likely produced in Domburg, a seaside resort in the modern day.
The solitary atmosphere of this location, as it would have been then, as well as the sombre nature of the world, as Mondrian saw it, is represented here by a style which differs greatily from several depictions of windmills in previous years.
The Red Mill marked the end of this period in his work, moving onwards after this towards Cubism which had been inspired by the influences of Pablo Picasso. This change occurred upon exhibiting The Red Mill at the Moderne Kunstkring exhibition and then ever onwards he went.
Tom Gurney in an art history expert. He received a BSc (Hons) degree from Salford University, UK, and has also studied famous artists and art movements for over 20 years. Tom has also published a number of books related to art history and continues to contribute to a number of different art websites. You can read more on Tom Gurney here.