Happy Birthday Piet Mondrian!! Mondrian was born in Amersfoort, Holland, in 1872. His life somewhat parallels that of Van Gogh. His father was a strict Calvinist schoolteacher. Early on, Piet toyed with the idea of becoming a preacher or perhaps a teacher, but an uncle encouraged him to become a painter. He painted crude landscapes and worked in Cubism for a time. Isolated in Holland for 4 years during World War I, he began developing his unique style. Following World War I, many artists sought to re-define society and worked in concert with architects and designers. Mondrian co-founded (with Theo van Doesburg) the group known as De Stijl (The Style). He moved away from his work with the Cubists into pure abstraction or "Neo-Plasticism". While many remain confused regarding the origination, purpose or point of Mondrian’s work, it’s not so hard to imagine when you consider the simple life and countryside he came from. Quiet, placid waters of the canals, simple country structures, imposing windmills, led to canvases devoid of “subject” rich with intersecting lines framing pure color.