About this artwork
In 1916, after a long search for an entirely new visual vocabulary to represent the physical world, Piet Mondrian arrived at a fully abstract style. He reduced bridges, churches, rivers, trees, and more to a series of horizontal and vertical black lines enclosing fields of unmixed red, blue, and yellow as well as white, black, and gray. This artistic idiom, eventually called Neoplasticism, removed naturalism from painting to reveal the essence of visual forms and provide viewers with a transcendental experience.
While Mondrian’s abstractions may seem simple, he worked hard to achieve the dynamic yet harmonious balance between line and color. He labored over the location, spacing, and thickness of every line, making numerous charcoal sketches both on paper and directly on the canvas. Although not immediately related to any finished painting, Study for a Composition shows the artist’s obsession with the density and placement of line and the number, size, and location of color fields. Here, he collaged red and blue papers to the sheet to examine their weight and position in relation to other elements. This work is the only known surviving study by Mondrian with colored collage elements.
- Currently Off View
- Prints and Drawings
- Piet Mondrian
- Study for a Composition
- Collage of cut and pasted papers, prepared with gouache and charcoal, on pieced cream wove newsprint in three parts with charcoal on verso
- 330 × 270 mm (max.)
- Gift of Dorothy Braude Edinburg to the Harry B. and Bessie K. Braude Memorial Collection