Riding his bicycle, smoking a pipe, with his sketchbook on the handlebars, Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) explored the area around the river Gein near Amsterdam. He drew and painted countless series of farms, windmills and groups of trees. In this large drawing of such a row of trees along the Gein, clearly he is searching for a specific balance in the interplay of lines and the contrast between light and dark. The thin, vertical tree trunks are reflected in the horizontal river[PH1] . Not long afterwards, he painted the same trees in extremely bright colours. This drawing heralds a turning point in Mondrian’s painting style: from the dark demure tones of the Hague School to the sparkling modern style of Luminism and, ultimately, total abstraction.
Piet Mondriaan, Rij bomen langs het Gein (Row of Trees Along the Gein), 1905