piet mondrian eu




At this stage the artist is looking for a synthesis which generates from inside the composition. Synthesis and unity are questions posed by the human being with respect to the immensity of nature. Mankind and its consciousness can, however, only operate inside the natural universe, as any desire to stand outside it would inevitably entail falling into a surrealistic metaphysical condition. The unified external synthesis expressed with the oval appears to be precisely this, and Mondrian could hardly feel satisfied with it.


1 - Tableau N. 4, Compositie 3, 1913

2 - Composition in Oval, 1913

3 - Composition N. VII, 1913

4 - Composition N. XII, 1913

5 - Composition N. IX, Compositie 5, 1913

6 - Composition N. XIV, 1913

7 - Tableau N. 1, 1913


In his efforts to endow Cubist space with greater synthesis and unity, Mondrian employed an oval and reduced the chromatic range in order to maintain greater compositional unity, at least in terms of color.


The strong contrasts are attenuated and the bright yellows, magentas, blues, and greens used in previous works give way to tonal variations of ocher, brown and gray,  

Mondrian worked at the same time to unify the complex tissue of signs.
As said, expressing that complexity through variations of one and the same thing (the perpendicular relationship) means finding the one in the many.


While the oval unquestionably helps to endow the composition as a whole with a sense of unity, it does not appear to form part of the multitude, of which it is intended as a synthesis.


An alternation of curvilinear and rectilinear can be seen in 5, 6 and 7.
The curvilinear signs can be interpreted as oval fragments, as though the oval had interpenetrated with the multitude of signs.