Arab Times

Dutch infants take a shine to Mondrian

‘Boogie Woogie, Baby!’


THE HAGUE, July 12, (AFP): Ever wondered which artist is most preferred by babies? If it’s up to the organisers of a tour for parents with small children in the Netherland­s on Tuesday, the works of abstract artist Piet Mondrian win hands down.

Eight babies and their parents were chosen from a group of 400 hopefuls to exclusivel­y view Mondrian’s paintings at the Gemeentemu­seum in The Hague, which houses the world’s largest Mondrian collection.

The babies, ranging from four months to one-and-a-half-yearsold, and their parents were allowed an early morning stroll through the museum unhindered by the usual crowds, the organiser said.

“From four months onwards, babies can see colours and contrast and for this purpose, Mondrian’s works are the most ideal,” said Brigitte Timmermans of Kunstfanaa­tjes (“Little Art Fanatics”).

Mondrian, who shortened his name from Mondriaan in later years, is best known for his canvas “Victory Boogie Woogie”, considered one of the most important works of the 20th century.

The babies also showed a particular preference for the 1944 painting, because of its bright and contrastin­g colours of mainly blue, red and yellow, Timmermans said.

“We find that the babies are able to focus really well on the ‘Victory’. They were fascinated by it and to see this was something quite special.”

Even without being able to talk, it was clear from their responses that they also appreciate­d Mondrian’s other works, she said.

“The parents — who are often a bit hamstrung having to look after a small baby — also enjoyed the day out,” Timmermans added.

Although the pilot project, called “Boogie Woogie, Baby!”, is believed to be a first for the Netherland­s, the idea of taking infants to view art has already been implemente­d in Belgium, Germany and the United States, she said.

A second excursion is planned to a museum in the southern city of Dordrecht in a few months, she said.

This year marks the centenary of the founding of De Stijl (“The Style”), the Dutch art movement of which Mondrian was a part, known for its bold horizontal and vertical lines encasing blocks of primary colours.

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