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The project

The Fondation Beyeler owns one of Switzerland’s most extensive collections of paintings by the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, ranging from important early works to classic late pictures. Plans for a major Mondrian exhibition at the museum in 2022 provided the impetus to set up the Piet Mondrian Conservation Project. The focus of the project, starting in 2019 and running to 2021, is on the technical investigation of the seven paintings held by the Fondation Beyeler.

About the project

Selected works

The Beyeler collection includes seven works by Mondrian that illustrate the development of his work from figuration to abstraction with particular clarity. Click through the works.

In the paintings Eucalyptus (1912) and Compositie I (Arbres) (1912/13) the tree motif is still visible; Compositie 9 (Blue Facade) (1914) refers to the side wall of a house showing the traces of an adjoining building that had been demolished. Tableau I (1921/1925) is an arrangement of color planes framed by black lines.

In the later pictures Composition with Blue and Yellow (1932) and Composition with Double Line and Blue (1935), relationships charged with tension arise between the lines surrounding patches of white and areas of color. Lozenge Composition with Eight Lines and Red (Picture No. 3) (1938) has the appearance of a detail from a far larger composition. Here, it becomes clear that the linear structures could be continued into an imaginary space of infinity.

01 Piet Mondrian, Eukalyptus, 1912, Oil on canvas, 60,0 x 51,0 cm, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen / Basel, Beyeler Collection, © Mondrian / Holtzman Trust, c/o HCR International Warrenton, VA USA, Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

02 Piet Mondrian, Composition No. XVI (Compositie I, Arbres), 1912–1913, Oil on canvas, 85,5 x 75,0 cm, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen / Basel, Beyeler Collection © Mondrian / Holtzman Trust c/o HCR, International Warrenton, VA USA, Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

03 Piet Mondrian, Composition No. VI (Composition 9, Blue Façade), 1914, Oil on canvas, 95,5 x 68,0 cm, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen / Basel, Beyeler Collection © Mondrian / Holtzman Trust c/o HCR International Warrenton, VA USA, Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

04 Piet Mondrian, Tableau No. I, 1921–1925,Oil on canvas, 75,5 x 65,5 cm, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen / Basel, Beyeler Collection © Mondrian / Holtzman Trust c/o HCR International Warrenton, VA USA
Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

05 Piet Mondrian, Composition with Yellow and Blue, 1932, Oil on canvas, 55,5 x 55,5 cm, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen / Basel, Beyeler Collection © Mondrian / Holtzman Trust c/o HCR International Warrenton, VA USA, Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

06 Piet Mondrian, Composition with Double Line and Blue, 1935, Oil on canvas, 72,5 x 70,0 cm, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen / Basel, Beyeler Collection © Mondrian / Holtzman Trust c/o HCR International Warrenton, VA USA, Foto: Robert Bayer, Basel

07 Piet Mondrian, Lozenge Composition with Eight Lines and Red, (Picture No. III), 1938, Oil on canvas, 100,5 x 100,5 cm, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen / Basel, Sammlung Beyeler © Mondrian / Holtzman Trust c/o HCR International Warrenton, VA USA Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel

Partnership:

The conservation of the four late works is made possible by the generous support of La Prairie.

Eukalyptus 

Eucalyptus provides a striking demonstration of Mondrian’s experiments with stylistic elements of Cubism in the treatment of composition and color.
SHOW ARTWORK

 

Tableau No. I

Research is currently still ongoing.

COMING SOON

Composition No. XVI

(Compositie I, Arbres)

Despite the geometric structure of Composition No. XVI, the generally fine lines and sketch-like application of color make the picture light and transparent.
SHOW ARTWORK

 

Composition with Yellow and Blue

Research is currently still ongoing.

COMING SOON

Lozenge Composition with Eight Lines and Red (Picture No. III)

Research is currently still ongoing.

COMING SOON

 

Composition No. VI

(Compositie 9, Blue Façade)

In Composition No. VI Piet Mondrian is more interested in the structural characteristics and colors of the house as sources of inspiration than in its figurative representation.
SHOW ARTWORK

 

Composition with Double Line and Blue

Research is currently still ongoing.

COMING SOON

 

The Artist

PIET MONDRIAN

Piet Mondrian is one of the foremost painters of classic modernism. His art shows a logical development from figuration to radical abstraction. Starting as a landscape painter in the Dutch nineteenth-century tradition, he progressively concentrated his means of artistic expression. Nature was invariably his model, irrespective of whether he was painting a windmill or the branches of a tree, or devising a composition that appeared non-representational. Eventually he discovered what, for him, was the essence of a picture: line and plane, with black and white, and the three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue.

Piet Mondrian (*March 7, 1872, in Amersfoort, Netherlands; † February 1, 1944, in New York) is one of the most important figures in modern art and is considered a founder of abstract painting. He lived and worked in the Netherlands, in Paris, and—after the outbreak of World War II—in London and the USA.

In his early work, Mondrian devoted himself to landscape painting, under the marked influence of, initially, the Impressionist style of the Hague School, and then, from 1908, of Vincent van Gogh and the Fauvists. From 1911, when he encountered the work of Georges Braque und Pablo Picasso, his pictures showed stylistic traits of Cubism. In 1917 Mondrian co-founded the artistic movement known as De Stijl, with its journal of the same name. In his manifesto Le Néo-Plasticisme (1920), he formulated the basic principles of the “neo-plastic” vision that informed his work from the 1920s onward, focusing on geometric compositions with characteristic grid structures and rectangular planes in primary colors. After 1940, when he left Europe for the USA, Mondrian began to break up the austerity of his pictures by introducing mosaic-like patterns of bright color that reflected new influences, especially from music.

 


 

Explore more works

Eukalyptus

Eucalyptus provides a striking demonstration of Mondrian’s experiments with stylistic elements of Cubism in the treatment of composition and color.

About the project

Find out more about the Piet Mondrian Conservation Project. 

Composition No. XVI

(Compositie I, Arbres)

Despite the geometric structure of Composition No. XVI, the generally fine lines and sketch-like application of color make the picture light and transparent. The latter effect is amplified by the fact that large areas of the primed canvas remain visible.

 


 

#PietMondrianConservationProject

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