This abstract painting by Piet Mondrian was painted in the same year that he wrote his landmark long essay, Neo-Plasticism in Pictorial Art
, 1917. In this essay, Mondrian stated that ‘As a pure representation of the human mind, art will express itself in an aesthetically purified, that is to say, abstract form’ and that the ‘new plastic’ of painting should ignore all types of form and colour taken from nature. This piece shows his progression towards his goal – the blocks of colour that make up the composition are not representative of any physical form, unlike his previous works, and the muted reds, yellows and blues are precursors of his later works made using only bold, primary colours.
Composition No.3 with Colour Planes
FSC Certified paper and wood
Date of work
Original: Oil on canvas 48 × 61 cm Kunstmuseum Den Haag
Piet Mondrian (1872 – 1944) was a Dutch pioneer of abstract art and a founder of the De Stijl movement. During his lifetime he was celebrated for the purity of his abstract paintings and the methodical practice used to create them. Mondrian produced his most famous works from the 1920s, in his own style called Neo-Plasticism where he restricted his painting to a three colour palette and black grid system for which he is most famous. As well as being crucial to the development of modern art, his iconic abstract works still influence modern design and popular culture today.