How Mondrian Went Abstract

Piet MondrianNo. VI / Composition No. II, 1920Tate Liverpool

During the early 20th century, many of these artists acknowledged the influence of Pablo Picasso and cubism—and if they didn’t, odds are they were lying. Artists also characteristically connected their work to a religion or philosophy that promoted simplification, though this connection has probably been made less and less significant due to the dominance of formalist readings of art history.One of the most well-known abstract artists of the 20th century is Piet Mondrian, and his path to abstraction had all of the aforementioned attributes. However, while his abstract, gridded paintings grace the walls of museums around the world and have become icons of modern art in a way few others have, it’s unclear to most people how he arrived at his well-known style.

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