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This delightful landscape painting by Piet Mondrian was completed in 1899 and today resides within a private collection. It was featured within a catalogue raisonne of the artist's career towards the end of the 20th century, confirming it to be from his hand.
Looking at the scene itself, we find a cow in the foreground along with an agricultural worker just behind. We have crops to the left which are being attended to and taken away for sale, where as to the right we have a somewhat more simple grassy area which is typical of the landscape found around Winterswijk. The artist simplies the foreground into a small palette, which gives off a highly contemporary, expressive style which is something akin to looking through a camera filter. Behind is a cityscape, capturing this pretty location which provided the artist with inspiration for a number of paintings. A tall tower points to the skies, whilst the remaining dwellings are relatively equal in height and spread across the scene, covering the full horizontal of the composition. Behind them is a bright blue sky with small use of white cloud which delivers a positive atmosphere to this painting and allows Mondrian to use lighter tones right across the work.
Piet Mondrian would have been in his late twenties at the time that he produced this painting, meaning he was still very much in his experimental phase and searching for new ideas and techniques all the time. He is best known for abstract paintings such as Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow in which he reduced his forms down to the simplest squares and lines, but he actually also produced a large number of exciting landscape paintings, just as that found here with View of Winterswijk. This piece is listed as being 52 cm by 63.5 cm in size and he would have named it in Dutch, rather than English, as Gesicht op Winterswijk. Rather interestingly, Winterswijk would become the location for Villa Mondriaan, a specialist museum which covers the early life of the artist in great detail, with a number of paintings from that period within their collection.
The artist moved to this town when he was around eight years of age and lived here until he was twenty, eventually moving on in order to try to make the most of his ambitious personality within the capital city of Amsterdam. He never lost his love for Winterswijk, though, and this is shown in how he featured it many times within his paintings. He loved the particular look of this region and found much to inspire his early art, where landscapes played a major role. Perhaps it even inspired his particular use of colour, though it would then be his move abroad which brought about his slow transition into abstract art. Therefore, his early artworks best reveal his Dutch roots and these remain highly regarded artworks which deserve their own recognition within his overall career. The Winterswijk gallery helps to remind the Dutch community of how his early work was rooted in Dutch history and culture, and that it was only later that he moved into a much more abstract world.