Art Appetizer: Piet Mondrian’s “Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow”

The painting we’ll be focusing on today is one of the first pieces that I learned about in my art history courses. At the time, I didn’t really understand the importance of this piece. It’s so simple: only primary colors (plus black and white), geometric patterns. What’s going on with it?

"Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow" Mondrian (1930)

Well, let’s give it a chance and learn about Piet Mondrian’s “Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow”:

  1. This piece is a variation of two of Mondrian’s previous pieces createda few years prior. The “1922 Composition” and the “1929 Composition” bothshow Mondrian’s process in creating his geometric…compositions (ironic?).

    "1922 Composition"

    "1929 Composition"

  2. This piece shows Mondrian’s focus on tightly regimented geometric shapes and contrasting bright colors. In the end, hisgoal was to create balance.
  3. Mondrian coined the term Neoplaticism , which “gained currency as a descriptive term applied to Mondrian’s theories of art and to his style of painting, in which a grid, delineated by black lines, was filled with blocks of primary colour” (MOMA). This term eventually formed into an art movement.

Something I have yet to discover is why this composition became on of his most famous. The similarities between his two previous works are so close; it makes me wonder what made this one the special one? In addition, he created several other “composition” paintings that are variations of this one. What do you think?


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