EXHIBITION: The Figurative Mondrian at Marmottan museum, Paris, France


Musée Marmottan, Paris, France

Through January 26th, 2020

Piet Mondrian – Woods near Oele1908 – Oil on canvas – 128 x 158 cm
© Kunstmuseum Den Haag

The figurative paintings by Piet Mondrian (1872–1944) have for a long time remained unknown to the public. However, the man who is now recognised as the most prominent collector of the artist’s work, Salomon Slijper (1884–1971), was passionately interested in this long forgotten part of his oeuvre. Having met the master in the Netherlands, where he fled during the First World War, Salomon Slijper, the son of a diamond dealer from Amsterdam, built up a unique collection of paintings and drawings by the artist, whom he befriended. Mondrian selected a series of works that were representative of his work produced between 1891 and 1918, enriching the ensemble with several abstract works executed later; most of the acquisitions were made between 1916 and 1920. Slijper gave the painter considerable financial support. Furthermore, he changed his life. At a time when Mondrian was not able to earn a living from his work and made copies in the Rijksmuseum to make ends meet, the many acquisitions of his new patron opened up new opportunities for him and enabled him to fund his return to Paris in June 1919.

Piet Mondrian – The Red Mill1911 – Oil on canvas – 150 x 86 cm © Kunstmuseum Den Haag

This exhibition shows the different paths an artist’s mind could possibly explore until he finds his own.

We clearly see a great painter with an excellent brush stroke who paid attention to every detail, from composition to color. Mondrian started like Corot then borrowed the “manière” of many other painters, Seurat, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Cezanne until he feels free to unleash himself.

He shifted from the feeling a brushstroke could possibly express to the analysis of the composition and inner structure of a landscape. He translated the fundamental structure of what he saw in vertical and horizontal lines. Brilliant concept.

This is obviously the kind of exhibition any artist should visit to understand the necessary time involved in any creation process. the exhibition is also indispensable to the new generation of art collectors who, for some of them don’t understand that an artist needs time, experiments, false routes to finally find the right path.

A good artist, a real one never comes out a blue

Piet Mondrian – Composition with large red plane, yellow, black, gray and blue – 1921 –
Oil on canvas 59,5 x 59,5 cm –
© Kunstmuseum Den Haag