Dutch artist Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) was influenced by Dutch mathematician M.H.J. Schoenmaeker (1875-1944); whose writings discussed the importance of horizontal and vertical lines along with the idea that only three colors existed: “yellow radiates, blue ‘recedes’ and red floats.”
In Mondrian’s abstract paintings he used black lines on a white field to create compositions where he balanced red, blue and yellow squares and rectangles. Mondrian wrote,”...the essential thing is that colors be free of all individuality and individual sensations, and that they only express the composed feeling of the universal.”
Eagle, 1971. Alexander Calder. Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle WA. Seattle Museum of Art.
In 1930, American artist Alexander Calder (1898-1976) visited Mondrian’s studio in Paris. “The one visit gave me a shock that started things...so now, at 32, I wanted to paint and work in the abstract.” Calder went on to work with Mondrian’s color palette too. “I have chiefly limited myself to the use of black and white as being the most disparate colors. Red is the color most opposed to these, and then, finally, the other primaries.”
Below is a link to my pinterest page showing samples of their work. It’s fun to see them together. (Calder’s favorite color was red and he was frequently seen wearing his red flannel shirt from LL Bean.)
• Calder’s Universe by Jean Lipman. Running Press.
• Piet Mondrian, editor Jose Maria Faerna. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Publishers.
• “Alexander Calder”, Boca Raton News, December 13, 1970.