“Broadway Boogie Woogie” by Piet Mondrian was created shortly after the artist moved to New York in 1940. Compared to his previous work, the canvas is divided into many more smaller squares. Although Mondrian spent most of his career creating highly abstract work not directly related to reality, this painting was inspired by the real-world examples of the city grid of Manhattan, and the Broadway boogie-woogie, a type of music that Mondrian loved.
This painting is a more complex version of his well-known work of abstraction “Composition with Red Blue and Yellow” in which thick, black brushwork define the borders of the different geometric figures. This painting is a product of the Dutch De Stijl movement, and Mondrian is regarded as the most prominent artist of the movement. He proclaimed in 1914:
“Art is higher than reality and has no direct relation to reality. To approach the spiritual in art, one will make as little use as possible of reality, because the reality is opposed to the spiritual.”
Piet Mondrian first studied in Amsterdam before moving to Paris in 1910, where he was introduced to Cubism, a major influence to his work. Returning to the Netherlands and being forced into an extended stay due to the outbreak of World War I, he made many important connections that led to the establishment of De Stijl. Mondrian then went on to become one of the pioneers of 20th-century abstract art, as he moved from figurative painting to an increasingly abstract style, until he reached a point where his artistic vocabulary was reduced to the three primary colours and simple geometric elements.
Broadway Boogie Woogie:
- Title: Broadway Boogie Woogie
- Artist: Piet Mondrian
- Year: 1943
- Material: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions: 50 × 50 in (127 × 127 cm)
- Museum: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NYC
- Name: Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan
- Born: 1872 – Amersfoort, Netherlands
- Died: 1944 (aged 71) – Manhattan, New York, U.S.
- Nationality: Dutch
- Movement: De Stijl, abstract art
- Notable works:
“I invent nothing, I rediscover.” Auguste Rodin
Photo Credit: Piet Mondrian [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons