The February edition of the international art historical journal The Burlington Magazine features an article I wrote about how Piet Mondrian’s painting “Lozenge Composition with Yellow Lines” came to The Netherlands.

[1] Composition_Yellow_Lines_GM copy

Lozenge composition with yellow lines, by Piet Mondrian. 1933. Canvas, 80.2 by 79.9 cm. (Gemeentemuseum, The Hague).

This painting was donated to the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague on the occasion of the painter’s 60th birthday in 1932. A group of Mondrian’s friends raised money amongst supporters of modern art to buy this painting.

During my work for the museum’s 2017 De Stijl jubilee year, I came across a news paper clipping that shed some new light on this donation history. It was a small article that called for donations from the wider public, published on the same day in three national newspapers. This can be considered as a kind of crowd funding, before the word even existed.

article_small‘Huldiging Piet Mondriaan’, Het Volk (23rd March 1932, evening edition), p.6. Collection Dutch National Library.

My article describes the (lack of) appreciation of Mondrian’s abstract work in The Netherlands around his 60th birthday, as well as consequential appreciation throughout the twentieth century. The article ultimately demonstrates how it only takes a couple of individuals to make radically innovative art accessible for a broader audience, because early on they have faith in its value for the future.

[9]_Mondrian_Karsten_atelierPiet Mondrian in his studio with ‘Lozenge composition with yellow lines’. Paris, 1933. Photograph, 8,9 x 13,9 cm. (RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History, The Hague).

You can order and read the magazine, or the individual article, at the website of The Burlington Magazine.

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