Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow is dominated by a large red rectangle. In this type, developed by Piet Mondrian in around 1930, the edge of the painting is delimited by two wide, sub-divided strips. The criss-crossing black bars are displaced far from the centre and meet in a corner at the bottom left. Deep blue and lemon yellow separated by whitish-grey surfaces form the counterpoint to the red note.
Like Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian came to abstraction via his work on landscape. Yet what emerged was completely different. After a Cubist phase built entirely on the contrast between light and dark, in 1920 Mondrian found his own style, which he dubbed ‘Neoplasticism’. In the construction of the picture, this process relied entirely on vertical and horizontal lines and the use of the primary colours red, blue and yellow. The aesthetic objective was to obtain an arrangement of balanced contrasts: non-colours/primary colours; vertical/horizontal. Mondrian sought to give expression to the ‘universal’ through the absolute harmony of the individual pictorial elements.