Piet Mondrian Dutch

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 911

This is an early example of the geometric mode of painting that Mondrian called Neo-Plasticism. The abstract two-dimensional nature of these compositions formed a new universal aesthetic language that was popularized through the magazine De Stijl. The avant-garde movement known by the same name held the promise of constructing a postwar world with a common point of visual reference, a way of abolishing artistic and even social hierarchies. Here, Mondrian uses thick black lines to divide the canvas into eleven different rectangles, some of which are painted in primary shades of red and blue. He created lighter hues by mixing primary colors with white. Over time, Mondrian ceased diluting his palette altogether in favor of pure primary colors.

Composition, Piet Mondrian (Dutch, Amersfoort 1872–1944 New York), Oil on canvas

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