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Mondrian’s pursuit of a new spirituality and a new art for the modern world was fundamental to the modernist art movement, and was an important stimulus for British artists. Here he reduces his colour to a single red rectangle, giving the black lines greater importance as compositional elements. The structure is slightly off-set, reflecting his opposition to the ‘false ease’ of symmetry in favour of ‘the dynamic equilibrium of true life’, for which he sought a pictorial equivalent. Painted in Paris, this painting arrived in Britain for the 1936 exhibition Abstract and Concrete, where it was bought by the collector Helen Sutherland.

September 2004