Piet Mondrian, Composition II, with Red (Composition in a square), 1926,
Oil on canvas, 50,2 x 51,1 cm, © 2011 The Mondrian/Holzman Trust
“What do I want to express with my work? Nothing but that which is sought by every other artist: to achieve harmony by balancing the relationship between lines, colours and areas. But only in the clearest and strongest way.”
That was the credo of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. In his 1926 work “Composition II, with Red”, a rigorous reduction of colours and areas allows us to observe precisely this balance. It is a white-framed canvas, painted white, with two horizontal and two perpendicular black lines. In the bottom left corner, there is an almost incidental slender block of deep red.
Under Mondrian´s description of this style – “Neoplasticism” – he rejected all spatial illusions. His palette consisted only of the non-colours black and white, and the three primary colours, red, yellow and blue. For Mondrian the non-colours symbolized anti-matter, while primary colours symbolized matter. Mondrian believed that by observing these rules a picture would evolve inner balance, dynamic and rhythm.