Art: Purist

The meticulous grilles of Piet Mondrian look as if anyone with a ruler and a paintbox could have done them. The delight they inspire as design has strongly influenced architecture and graphic advertising. If. upon familiarity, they now seem somewhat sterile, they were no mere gimmickry but the deadly serious result of a lifetime of intellectual search for the truth beyond the surface of reality. Seldom has an artist traveled a more complex route to achieve such striking simplicity.

Last week Manhattan's Sidney Janis Gallery had on view a small retrospective show that traces some of the steps along that route....

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