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Composition in Black and Gray

Piet Mondrian (Dutch, 1872–1944)

Composition in Black and Gray came at a key moment in Piet Mondrian’s progression toward his characteristic geometrical style. Mondrian believed that painting needed to evolve beyond naturalistic representation to achieve a more universal and purer beauty in geometric abstraction. In this work, the picture plane holds two regular grids of black lines on a white ground. These grids are positioned at a forty-five-degree angle to one another to yield a complex network of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines. Notice the cadence of lines of different thicknesses, as well as the optical flicker that occurs where lines cross. This painting was also one of Mondrian’s first applications of the so-called lozenge, or diamond, format. Mondrian turned a square canvas on one of its points, causing the surface of the work to seem to expand at the four corners and the composition to appear to almost float on the wall.

Object Details

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