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Composition in Colour A dates from 1917 and gives an early indication of the intentions of the De Stijl movement which was set up in the very same year. This particular piece, originally known by its Dutch title of Compositie in kleur A, can now be found at the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands.
There is certainly a sense of activity and movement within this piece, almost as if music has been turned into a visual form. Mondrian and his colleagues were aiming to create a new form of art which could help encourage a better world, which may have been quite a lofty ambition but these were young, ambitious artists after all. Within Composition in Colour A, the artist would deliver two main forms, whose contrast would create the atmosphere of activity. There were the simple rectangles arranged around the canvas which were filled in three different colours, pink, blue and a sort of mustard brown. They would vary slightly in size and also sometimes overlap each other in a deliberately unplanned arrangement which felt natural and far away from some of his later works. Alongside these shapes were then much smaller dashes of dark paint which would be angled either vertically or horizontally flat. At this point in their development, the De Stijl artists would tend to keep everything at right angles, but later they would then disagree over whether or not to start using diagonals, with Mondrian firmly against the idea.
Mondrian would move on from this approach but continue with contemporary shapes and lines for many years, experimenting with the size and intensity of his shapes as he went. Previously he had specialised in landscape art, with some portraiture too. It took a long time for him to decide to concentrate only on abstract art, but he felt comfortable once he had made the transition and had support from others within the collective group. Eventually he would go his own way and was always seeking independent thought, which was entirely why he pushing against traditional art in the first place. He would rise to become one of the most famous Dutch artists of all time and continues to be widely celebrated today, right across the world.
The Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, Netherlands hosts Composition in Colour A as part of a large collection of the artist's paintings. They have around forteen items in total, as well as a host of other important artworks by related painters, including both local Dutch and international figures. Composition with red, yellow and blue from 1927 as well as Composition 10 in black and white and Farm at Duivendrecht, in the evening offer examples of some of the variety of Mondrian's career and are all featured within this exciting institution. It is pleasing that for someone to have achieved such a strong international reputation that many of Mondrian's original artworks still reside within public collections in his native country, helping to remind the Dutch of their continued success in the art world dating back to the Early Renaissance and leading into the Dutch Golden Age, many centuries before Mondrian's own career would take hold.