Modern Art - Piet Mondrian

Piet Mondrian

A Dutch painter, Piet Mondrian was considered the most radical abstractionist of the twentieth century.

When Piet Mondrian arrived in Paris in 1912, he was painting in the style of the Expressionists and the Fauves. After being exposed to facet Cubism, Mondrian's art soon underwent a complete change. Mondrian spent a decade extracting a completely non-representational style. Mondrian called his style Neo-Plasticism. His Composition 2, 1921 and Opposition of Lines: Red and Yellow show his style at its most severe. In these classic Mondrian paintings, he restricted his design to horizontals and verticals and his colors to the three primaries, red, yellow, and blue, along with white and black. Within these severe artistic restrictions, Mondrian assured that every possibility of representation was eliminated.

Mondrian was not striving for the expression of emotion, like Kandinsky. He claimed his goal was "pure reality," which he defined as equilibrium "through the balance of unequal but equivalent oppositions." His artwork can be understood in terms of a sort of abstract collage using black bands and colored rectangles.

Mondrian's art, by eliminating anything representational, strove to illustrate relationships without any distracting associations with the 'real' world. Mondrian's exquisite sense of non-symmetrical balance had a large influence on designers, typographers and architects.