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Mondrian was a major figure in the development of abstract art and his grid paintings have become iconic.
He did not believe that art needed to be figurative to be beautiful - on the contrary : "Art has no direct relation to reality... so one will make as little use as possible of reality".
To prove his point, he chose to impose 3 key constraints on his work, only using :
- red, blue and yellow
- horizontal and vertical lines
- 3 primary "values" - black, white and grey
He began experimenting with his first grids in Paris in the 1920s.
Fleeing to New York when the Germans invaded France, he became captivated by the city's lights and energy.
The painting is an homage to the city.