This double-sided drawing shows a crucial moment in the evolution of Piet Mondrian’s style. Anticipating the groundbreaking grid paintings that established his reputation, The Sea reveals his early representations of nature through simplified geometric forms. Drawn fluidly and spontaneously with charcoal, the scene conveys the movement of rolling waves through curving and straight horizontal lines interrupted by vertical elements. This artistic innovation led to the artist’s later abstract compositions of rectangular grids formed by lines of black or gray.
The drawing on the other side of this sheet (pictured below) captures one of the most dominant landscape motifs in Mondrian’s early career. Titled Farm Near Duivendrecht and created two years after The Sea, it closely resembles a Mondrian painting on view nearby.
Nicole R. Myers
The Lillian and James H. Clark Curator of European Painting and Sculpture