The work of Piet Mondrian, such as Composition with Large Blue Plane, Red, Black, Yellow and Gray (1921), is representative of the ideals of the era in art known as abstract expressionism, which encompasses art from a huge portion of the twentieth century, beginning in the late 1910's, and continuing, to some extent, even today.
The minimalist approach to art seems to have a deep philosophical purpose, and we know that Mondrian's work expressed his own personal philosophy, as he wrote quite a bit about his art. The idea of abstract expressionism is essentially that the artist expresses himself through the work, as was also seen in the basic tenets of surrealism, which came in the years before.
Mondrian's theosophical approach was the renunciation of material goods, and thereby he worked in only primary colors: red, blue, and yellow, because he believed them to be pure and unfrivolous. It is believed that the microcosm that exists in his paintings is actually reflective of the world at large, exemplifying the opposition of entropy and energy that exists in the world.
Much of abstract expressionism maintains this simplicity of design, and the minimal nature was inherent of a Buddhist ideal of Nirvana, where the attainment of a state of nothingness ids the ultimate state of being. Fraz Kline's Mahoning (1956) and Callahan's photographic image of Weeds in Snow (1943), are representative of this reverence for Asian culture, as they are obviously reminiscent of the characters of East Asian languages. They are scrawling and beautiful, and seem to derive from a culture of simplicity and the attainment of the Buddhist ideal of Nirvana. Such was the goal of abstract expressionism.