Piet Mondrian was a Dutch abstract artist, who created “New York City” in 1942, inspired by the city’s bustling cultural scene. The painting represents his evolving ambition towards the end of his career and is now on display in the Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
“New York City,” or “New York City I,” is twice the size of his earlier abstract paintings and measures approximately 120cm in width and height. Mondrian’s unique style, known as neo-plasticism, was characterized by pure glowing colors and dynamic rhythm that he saw as a “destruction of natural appearance; and construction through continuous opposition of pure means.”
Despite being one of Mondrian’s most important works, experts have confirmed that it hung upside down for decades. Nevertheless, it still retains its power to mesmerize viewers through its bold lines, shapes, bright colors, and expressive brushstrokes that convey not only New York’s boogie-woogie music but also its geometric skyscrapers.
In essence, “New York City” showcases Piet Mondrian’s signature style while simultaneously encapsulating New York’s vibrant spirit during an era marked by distinct social values impacting art across Europe and North America.