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Composition with Double Lines and Yellow (unfinished)

Piet Mondrian Dutch

Not on view

Mondrian sought to find equilibrium in a painting or, in his words, "to express harmony through the equivalence of relationships of lines, colors, and planes." The myriad options he tested and discarded in the process are laid bare to the viewer in canvases like this one. Shifting charcoal lines spread across the support; some even overlap a square of yellow paint that he had already committed to canvas. It might seem unfathomable that Mondrian’s paintings, in all their faultless precision, could ever have taken any other form, but the details here testify to the artist’s commitment to a process of trial and error. His letters from early 1935 suggest that illness prevented him from finishing more than a fraction of the paintings he had begun.

Composition with Double Lines and Yellow (unfinished), Piet Mondrian (Dutch, Amersfoort 1872–1944 New York), Oil and charcoal on canvas

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