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(b Amersfoort, March 7, 1872; d New York, Feb 1, 1944).

Dutch painter, theorist, and draughtsman. His work marks the transition at the start of the 20th century from the Hague school and Symbolism to Neo-Impressionism and Cubism. His key position within the international avant-garde is determined by works produced after 1920. He set out his theory in the periodical of Stijl, De, in a series of articles that were summarized in a separate booklet published in Paris in 1920 under the title Le Néo-plasticisme (see Neo-plasticism) by Léonce Rosenberg. The essence of Mondrian’s ideas is that painting, composed of the most fundamental aspects of line and colour, must set an example to the other arts for achieving a society in which art as such has no place but belongs instead to the total realization of ‘beauty’. The representation of the universal, dynamic pulse of life, also expressed in modern jazz and the metropolis, was Mondrian’s point of departure. Even in his lifetime he was regarded as the founder of the most ...

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Larissa Haskell

( Aleksandrovich )

(b Omsk, March 5, 1856; d St Petersburg, April 1, 1910).

Russian painter and draughtsman. He was a pioneer of modernism, and his highly innovative technique broke with the traditions of the Academy of Arts in St Petersburg, where he had been a brilliant student; at the same time he felt dissociated from the social consciousness of The Wanderers. He remained a lonely figure in Russian art, but he was the only one of his generation who successfully achieved the monumentality for which so many painters were aiming.

As a boy Vrubel’, whose health was frail and who had a nervous disposition, showed considerable talent for music and drawing. He finished school in Odessa and enlisted in the law faculty of the University of St Petersburg, where he successfully completed his training in 1880. In the same year he entered the Academy of Arts, St Petersburg, where his exceptional talent was appreciated by both his teachers and his fellow students, particularly Valentin Serov. Under the influence of ...