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Composition with Blue and Yellow

1932
Piet Mondrian, Dutch, 1872 - 1944

Piet Mondrian painted Composition with Blue and Yellow during a phase in the early 1930s when he sought relative symmetry and equilibrium in his signature Neoplastic ("New Form") style. Invented in 1920, this style eliminated any subject matter related to the natural world. Instead, Mondrian turned his focus to the relationships among just a few structural elements: horizontal and vertical lines of different lengths and thicknesses and rectilinear planes of color (restricted to the primary colors red, yellow, and blue) juxtaposed with planes of what Mondrian called "non-color" (white, gray, and black). In this work, bisecting lines cross the entire composition in the upper-right region, and a shorter but wider black bar subdivides the right-hand vertical margin. The resulting irregular grid creates five planes—two of color and three in white—whose sizes, proportions, and shapes are never repeated but still balanced.

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Object Details
Purchased from the artist by A. E. Gallatin, New York, c. June 1, 1933 [1]; bequest to PMA, 1952.1. See letter from Mondrian to Gallatin, dated June 1, 1933: "[...] Je viens de reçevoir votre chèque dont je vous remercie beaucoup. [...] Demain le cadre du tableau sera ici et je vous l'apporterai" (Gallatin Papers, New-York Historical Society; see also letter of June 5, 1933, to Carola Giedion-Welcker: "[...] Ces jours-ci j'avais le plaisir et la satisfaction que Mr. Gallatin, directeur d'un musée moderne à New-York a montré beaucoup de sympathie pour mon oeuvre neo-plasticienne et acheté un petit tableau pour son musée; il n'y avait pas assez d'argent pour acheter un tableau plus grand" (quoted in Joop Joosten, Piet Mondrian: Catalogue Raisonné, 1998, v. 2, p. 365).

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