Recordings for Children
As is characteristic of Mondrian’s working technique, numerous pentimenti are clearly visible in Composition. In some places, the earlier horizontal and vertical dark bands are only partially obscured by the overlying paint. In other areas, they appear as slight depressions in the paint film when the picture is viewed in a raking light. There is a thicker build-up of paint in the upper half of the painting due to the artist’s extensive reworking. Overall, the lower half of Composition is more directly painted. The brush strokes here appear determined and distinctive, while in the upper half the handling seems blurred and less resolved.
Prior to the Mondrian retrospective exhibition in 1994, Composition was reframed with a bronze-colored set -back frame to reflect Mondrian’s initial conception. The original frame had been replaced by a previous owner. In the beginning of 1914 the artist began to present his work in set-back frames, which he continued to use on his paintings through the 1920s and 30s, and which are described in a letter by Mondrian to the architect J. J. P. Oud, dated 31 March 1921. The artist would attach narrow slats to the sides of his paintings with nails slightly set back from the picture plane. he would then paint the slats and the exposed tacking margins with a bronze color. Traces of this paint can still be seen along the edges of Composition. An example of this type of original frame can be seen on the painting Still Life with Ginger Pot, I, in the Hague.