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Composition No.10 is a Neoplasticist painting by Dutch abstract artist, Piet Mondrian. It is loosely dated at around 1939-1942, with some disagreements over which specific year it was produced in but it was certainly from that approximate period.
This artwork immediately strikes you as being classic Mondrian. There is then the use of black lines across a white background with a consistent use of vertical and horizontal angles. There is then the addition of bright colours in arrangements of rectangles, though always within a careful balance. One is looking at a style that the artist had been using by this point for many years and he continued to experiment with it, happy in having settled upon a signature approach after trying out many ideas previously. Before this he had created some portraiture but also a particularly large amount of landscape art. He would be classed as a Post-Impressionist painter for many years before slowly transitioning deeper and deeper into the world of abstract art. Items such as Composition No.10 may look fairly random in approach, such as with the placement of the colour tones and the spacing of the black lines, but actually he would have put a careful plan together for this piece, proabably with some preparatory sketches on paper before starting the main piece. Balance was key for Mondrian and he had to get all of the different elements in the right place for Mondrian to get quite the final result that he desired.
He would, of course, create many similar artworks to this across his career, with other examples of this approach including the likes of Trafalgar Square, Sans Titre, Rhytmus and Composition in White Black and Red. Again and again, he would bring new colours in, rotate others out, experiment with more or less detail and even at some points rotating the canvas to create a diagonal shape. He would take the idea just as far as it could go and this showed his passion for this approach which was entirely of his making, though with some ideas coming in from all manner of different sources. Initially, he was actually inspired by his native Dutch landscape but over time the abstract nature would completely disconnect with reality, giving us the sort of compositions that you find in front of you here. One word of praise for Mondrian is that whilst this painting was completed around the time of WWII, it still feels entirely contemporary, underlining quite how far ahead of everyone else that Mondrian was at the time.
Composition No. 10 resides within a private collection and would have come right at the end of this artist's lifetime. He passed away in 1944, read more in this biography. He left behind one of the most influential careers in contemporary art and encouraged a new shape and direction within European art, with many other taking his ideas onwards in later generations. Despite the competitive nature of Dutch art, he can also be considered one of the most important painters to have come from this highly significant European nation. Those interested in his career will be delighted to see more of the different types of work that he produced across his lifetime, featuring portraits and landscapes as well as the abstract forms displayed within this page. Much of his oeuvre remains in the Netherlands, though some can also be seen elsewhere in Europe and also in some major art galleries in the US as well.