Piet Mondrian. Broadway Boogie Woogie. 1942-43

Piet Mondrian Broadway Boogie Woogie 1942-43

Floor 5, Collection Galleries

Mondrian, who had escaped to New York from Europe after the outbreak of World War II, delighted in the city's architecture. He was also fascinated by American jazz, particularly boogie-woogie, finding its syncopated beat, irreverent approach to melody, and improvisational aesthetic akin to what he called, in his own work, the "destruction of natural appearance; and construction through continuous opposition of pure means—dynamic rhythm." In this painting, his penultimate, Mondrian replaced the black grid that had long governed his canvases with predominantly yellow lines that intersect at points marked by squares of blue and red. These atomized bands of stuttering chromatic pulses, interrupted by light gray, create paths across the canvas suggesting the city's grid, the movement of traffic, and blinking electric lights, as well as the rhythms of jazz.

Gallery label from 2011
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
50 x 50" (127 x 127 cm)
Credit
Given anonymously
Object number
73.1943
Department
Painting and Sculpture