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Composition (No. 1) Gray-Red

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




Piet Mondrian
Dutch, 1872–1944

About this artwork

The roots of 20th-century abstract art can be traced to the late 19th century, when artists began to move away from the direct representation of objects toward the communication of emotional states or moods. In doing so, the formal properties of art—such visual elements as line, color, and composition—assumed a primary role in its production. After World War I, many artists, including Piet Mondrian, believed that abstract art could contribute to a more harmonious society by communicating in a universal, visual language. In the wake of the war’s destruction, artists associated with De Stijl (meaning, "the style") in the Netherlands recognized the need for a break with the past, as well as a new aesthetic language to correspond to their utopian vision of the world. In 1917 Mondrian joined the De Stijl movement and began to develop a purely visual language of verticals and horizontals, restricting his compositions to predominantly off-white grounds divided by black rectilinear lines that framed smaller blocks of primary colors.

On View

Modern Art, Gallery 393


Piet Mondrian


Composition (No. 1) Gray-Red






Oil on canvas


Signed and dated, l.r.: "PM 35"


22 5/8 × 21 7/8 in. (57.5 × 55.6 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Gilbert W. Chapman

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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