Piet Mondrian’s Ocean 5 is an abstract painting created in 1915, depicting a pier extending into the sea with vertical lines at its base. The short lines and crosses represent the rhythm of waves breaking against the structure built at a right angle to the shore. The piece marks a definitive step in Mondrian’s path toward pure abstraction, as he eliminated diagonal and curved lines, as well as color. Horizontal lines allude to the horizon, while verticals evoke the pilings of the pier.
The charcoal and gouache on paper painting was inscribed in 1914 and later glued on a Homosote panel in 1941. The only reference to nature is found within the title, separate from any imagery within the work itself. Ocean 5 is exhibited in Peggy Guggenheim Collection permanent collection in Venice.
Mondrian’s creative process aimed to distil form into pure abstraction which slowly evolved through his experimentation with Cubism. His move towards pure abstraction led him to remove any trace of human interpretation from his paintings which can be seen solidly within Ocean 5 where every line feels thought out and forward-thinking for its time period.