JCCC Honors Journal

Article Title

Expression and Existence


Salvador Dalí and Piet Mondrian both created works of visual art during the era commonly labeled the “Age of Anxiety,” the time period between World War I and World War II. The Age of Anxiety was so-named for the massive societal upheaval occurring globally, and particularly in Europe, as a product of the desolation brought about by World War I and the shifting tides in philosophy and the arts. The world was going through drastic changes in this brief period of time, and we find in the work of these two artists a diversity of expression and perspective. Mondrian, affiliated with the art movement de Stijl, created simple paintings of right-angled lines and neutral and primary colors in an effort to find a truer experience of essential reality. Dalí, on the other hand, was found in the Surrealist camp, a group heavily influenced by Sigmund Freud’s ideas about dreams and the human unconscious. Dalí sought to understand the world through the irrational processes of the mind, and his art reflected this through his uncensored, eclectic imagery performed with masterful precision. These two dynamically different artists were both greatly influenced by the Age in which they lived, and they both left their mark on history as they attempted through their art to face the questions of life and existence.