A pioneer of purely abstract art, Piet Mondrian, is recognized for the purity of his abstractions and methodical practice by which he arrived at them. He radically simplified the elements of his paintings to reflect what he saw as the spiritual order underlying the visible world, creating a clear, universal aesthetic language within his canvases. In his best known paintings from the 1920s, Mondrian reduced his shapes to lines and rectangles and his palette to fundamental basics pushing past references to the outside world toward pure abstraction. His use of asymmetrical balance and a simplified pictorial vocabulary were crucial in the development of modern art, and his iconic abstract works remain influential in design and familiar in popular culture to this day.
Avoiding references to the real world, and using only the primary colors (red, blue, and yellow), the primary values (black, white, and grey), and the primary directions (horizontal and vertical), Piet Mondrian created abstract paintings through which he sought to reveal universal harmony and order. This idealistic pursuit was shared by his fellow Dutch painter Theo van Doesburg. Together they cofounded the pioneering and highly influential movement De Stijl (The Style) in 1917. Through De Stijl, Mondrian and van Doesburg galvanized an artistic response to what they believed would be the beginning of a new era after World War I, where 07/07art and life would be integrated.