Piet MONDRIAN – Broadway Boogie Woogie

abstract geometric art fine art masterpiece Piet Mondrian

Piet MONDRIAN (1872–1944) was a Dutch painter who worked in the Netherlands, in Paris, in London, and finally in New York. He is famous for his abstract and non-figurative paintings. His early works were mostly traditional landscapes and from 1908 there was an influence of symbolism. While experimenting, Mondrian made his works more abstract, first in a cubist tradition, later in his own unique style. He adopted a restricted set of colors, sometimes soft pastels, eventually only red, yellow, and blue, next to black, white, and sometimes grey. Between 1918 and 1940 he made many paintings of the kind for which he became famous, characterized by being non-figurative and having only horizontal and vertical black lines, and color planes in primary colors.


MONDRIAN_Broadway Boogie Woogie

Mondrian argued that art should always move on, searching for pure beauty, and the paintings "do not depict anything from the real world".

One of the most inspiring times in his life came in 1940 when he was 68 years old and he moved to New York fleeing the Nazi invasion of his native Holland. To Mondrian, New York epitomized the modern city. He was moved by the energy of jazz music and the seemingly endless pulse of life that moved through the streets. He also admired the fact that, unlike other cities in which he had lived, like Paris and London, New York was laid out on a grid that eerily resembled that of his own paintings. (Although popular wisdom sees the grid of lines in "Broadway Boogie Woogie" as a representation of the Manhattan street grid, it is unlikely that Mondrian would resort to such direct figuration). 

In 1942, Mondrian finished a painting titled “New York City,” in which the familiar black lines of his past compositions were replaced with red, yellow, and blue lines. This seemingly subtle change imbued the work with thrilling new energy. “Broadway Boogie Woogie” took that idea even farther, inserting squares and rectangles within the lines, and filling squares and rectangles with smaller squares and rectangles. Austere in some ways, chaotic in others, the painting is simultaneously an image of movement and a picture of energy brought to rest. It is like is a love letter to his adopted home, inspired by jazz and the energy of Gotham’s streets – a strangely prescient if abstract, portrait of the city. Mondrian considered it a masterpiece – a perfect expression of his intellectual theories.

"Broadway Boogie Woogie” was one of the final paintings Piet Mondrian created before he died. One year after finishing this work Mondrian died. He was in the midst of working on another masterpiece, this one titled “Victory Boogie Woogie” in honor of the end of World War II. As with some of his other paintings, this last canvas is tilted 90 degrees. This art is fascinating and it gives rise to many questions, as it was unfinished...

(the article has benefited from IdeelArt.com - "The Rhythm of Piet Mondrian's Broadway Boogie-Woogie")

Buy Piet Mondrian Broadway Boogie Woogie
Buy Piet Mondrian Victory Boogie Woogie

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