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This highly complex piece was produced in 1913 by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. This painting would become one of many from his oeuvre which now resides within the permanent collection of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, USA.
This piece is over one metre in width and height, making it relatively large by the standards of this artist's abstract paintings. We find here a complex piece in which the artist uses every last cm of the canvas to add detail and interest. Mondrian uses only three tones within this painting, which helps to give it an impactful consistency. There are golden tones alongside grey, with black then used to create lines and shapes. The grid is irregular here, with nothing lining up, which was never the intention here. Instead Mondrian wanted something more natural and organic, where each item only concerns itself with its nearest neighbour. In order to avoid things becoming too much for the viewer to bare, Mondrian then softens the edges of this piece, allowing the content to dominate the centre of the painting but then slowly drift away into the corners. This contrast also helps to give the impression of the circular centre lifting up off the canvas, generating a feeling of depth and perspective within the painting.
!913 came just two years after Mondrian had seen the work of Braque and Picasso, and just one year after he had relocated to Paris as a direct result of that experience. He was wandering around an exhibition in Amersterdam when he came across some examples of Cubism which immediately grabbed his attention - it was as if he had been introduced to a brand new world, a secret art style that would inspire him to change his own artistic direction. Paris at that time was full to bursting with creativity, where no idea would be dismissed out of hand. He decided to move across instantly and from that point we would no-longer see Dutch landscapes in his work, but instead he moved into a world of abstract shapes and lines with bold colour and a more contemporary approach.
The Guggenheim focuses on contemporary art and has built up such a large collection of art that it decided to open up more galleries elsewhere which would then allow it to make use of more display space. Several art institutions have done similar in recent years, including the Tate in the UK who are aware that limiting the work to London only was a little unfair on those who lived elsewhere in the country. The Guggenheim itself remains a key cultural venue in New York City and much of the best items from their collection will still be kept aside for this venue. The US itself has also dominated within contemporary art, making it necessary that some galleries and art museums within the country devote sufficient space to modern art, rather than just offering up historical European art from centuries before. This also underlines how the country has gone from following to leading within the art world, which was an important transition within its cultural standing in the world.