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Piet Mondrian, one of the principle artists responsible for twentieth-century non-objective painting, was born in Amersfoort, Holland.
He studied at the Amsterdam Academy and began his career by painting landscapes which owe a debt to seventieth-century Dutch art, to Impressionism and later, by 1908, to Expressionism.
From 1911 to 1914 Mondrian lived in Paris where his close contact with Cubist ideas reinforced his path from naturalism to abstraction. Cubist faceted planes appear in his work of 1912 to 1914, yet the picture space is already narrower and more frontal. In 1917 he was among the founding members of the De Stijl group in Holland, whose goal was to create a universal art independent of individual emotions by setting out such general aesthetic criteria as: form restricted to the rectangle, color limited to the primaries (red, yellow, blue) and to black, white and gray and composition formed from perpendicular planes asymmetrically arranged.
Characteristic of Mondrian's work, these principles were later elaborated upon in his treatise on Neo-Plasticism published in 1921. To Mondrian the world of the picture was
its own truth-its own "plastic" reality. Color, line, form, composition, and rhythm, independent of natural appearances and personal emotions, reveal a cosmic order. This order in art brought man in balance and with universe, his only chance to overcome human suffering and unhappiness. Mondrian painted in Holland, Paris and London until 1940 when he moved to New York, living there until his death in 1944. In New York he painted the famous work Broadway Boogie Woogie which shows a modification of his acetic vision, yet still retains his highly disciplined style of; primary colors and vertical and horizontal bands. In response to the beat of jazz, the pulsations of neon signs and the fast city pace, the painting's rhythms are stepped up by increasing the number of small rectangular forms and color blocks.