[28th December 2010] Here's a cunning plan. I expect to get to the V&A in the next week or so and that should help fill in a lot of the blanks. As recently noted,
I have aleady created a facsimile of B251, right (as that was demonstrably straightforward) - I will work on facsimiles for the other paintings I have not yet obtained images for. There are two main benefits:
This plan only applies to works which exist but for which I have not yet obtained colour images: reconstructions of lost works are already under way here. After B251, the only pictures suitable for this treatment are from the 1920s.
As noted elsewhere, Mondrian was more concerned about the lines and the structure than about the colours,
The targets are:
B109 - B110 - B124 - B136 - B139 - B160 - B163 - B183 -
B194 - B195 - B196 - B197 - B199 - B200 - B208 -
green means got a real one.
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[14th January 2011] A day at the V&A Library has paid dividends and will allow an evaluation of facsimile accuracy.
B251 Composition with Double Line and Yellow (unfinished), 1934
Oil on canvas, 61x50 cm
Correct, but easy.
B109 Composition II, 1920
Oil on canvas, 63x56 cm
S-, O-, B-
Real image from the 1977 Delaunay and Mondrian exhibition catalogue.
[6 Jan #10] B109 completed using the same input as B110: not a particularly satisfactory result.
Now I have the real thing, it is clear that mine was both unsatisfactory and innacurate - my original inclination not to try it was sound. A salutary lesson learned.
B110 Composition II / Komposition No.XIII, 1920
Oil on canvas, 53x51 cm
Private collection, on loan to the Brandenburgische Kunstsammlungen, Cottbus
S457, O320, B-
Image from Elgar
[6 Jan #9] Despite initial reluctance, I have decided to have a go at this one using B104 and its installation shot as a reference. The first thing to note is that the yellow in the installation photograph (from 1932) is 'darker' than the blue. There is no reason to suppose that this is necessarily the case with the B&W image I have of B110 which is taken from Elgar, published in 1968.
The signature details state 'signed lower centre in white, within black plane'. I would have guessed that the centre bottom section is black, but confirmation is always welcome.
In the CR notes, a letter to Van Doesburg is quoted in which PM states [Survage, a prospective buyer] 'said that it wasn't balanced and that the yellow was disharmonious with the red, etc. And the two little blues at the top did not have blue at the bottom.' PM concludes that 'a balanced relation does not always require harmonious colours', which we can note for future use.
The 'two little blues at the top' are something of a puzzle and would be more easily applied to B109 than B110 based on the images I have available, but let's press on. My reading of the B&W image puts a blue towards the bottom of the work, so it will be interesting to see what the real one looks like.
Looking at mine, I would say that the two reds at the top are 'unbalanced'. Maybe I reversed some colours based on false assumptions because of changes in photographic emulsions. I'll have to get (or write) to Cottbus.
I have been reading about orthochromatic and panchromatic films: with orthochromatic, 'blue objects appear lighter and red ones darker because of increased blue sensitivity', but the film used seems likely to have been panchromatic by 1932.
[28th Jan] I need to reconsider B110 in the light of B109.
A request on yahoo answers in February 2011 merely generated a link to this page. But a Google search in March found the last image here, filed under Composition XIII, 1920 and attributed to 'Mondrian und de Stijl, p. 181'. I don't think it's much better than mine, and how the hell are you supposed to tell a yellow from a grey from a red.
[11th May] I have found the publication, an exhibition catalogue from Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne, 1979.
|B118 and B119, see the Reconstructions of lost works.
B124 Composition with Large Red Plane, Blue, Grey, Black, and Yellow, 1921
Oil on canvas, 50x40 cm
S462, O330, B-
Temporary image. No suggestions for a colour image, last exhibition Paris 1969.
[28 Dec #4]
B136 Composition with Blue, Black, Yellow and Red, 1922
Gouache on paper, 41x49 cm
S477, O-, B-
Temporary image. No sign of a colour reproduction, Berlin, here I come...no, found a photograph on Flickr.
B139 Composition with Yellow, Black, Blue, Red, and Grey, 1922
Oil on canvas, 40x50 cm
Private collection, following auction at Christie's, London 1st December 1986, catalogue contains a colour image.
S-, O346, B-
Image from the auction catalogue - not sure why I didn't get around to trying this one..
|B148 and B149, see the Reconstructions of lost works.
B160 Tableau No.VIII with Yellow, Red, Black and Blue, 1925
Oil on canvas, 49x41.5 cm
Private collection (1978-88 on loan to the Staatsgalerie Moderner Kunst, Munich).
S-, O-, B-
Temporary image, no suggestions of an available colour image.
There are multiple possible interpretations of the colours here, but I'm using a new clue from CR, which states that the signature is 'lower right in red on blue', so lower right must be blue.
[29th Dec #6]
CR also notes an installation photograph in Das Neue Frankfurt, March 1929.
B160 was consigned to Sophie Küppers in 1925, who gave it, in 1927, to Kunstausstellung Kühl, Dresden. During the 1950s it was at the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld and at Galerie Alex Vömel, Düsseldorf, then from around 1955 until 1977 owned by Karl Anselmino of Wuppertal. In 1977 it passed into a private collection, but was on loan to the Staatsgalerie Moderner Kunst, Munich from 1978 to 1988.
B163 Tableau No.XI with Red, Black, Blue and Yellow, 1925
Oil on canvas, 38.5x34.5 cm
Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld
S628, O345, B-
Wember Malerei in unserem Jahrhundert, 1963 now sourced.
[28 Dec #5] Not sure where the yellow goes but I like the result. [7th Feb] Not bad at all.
|B174, B175 and B180, see the Reconstructions of lost works.
B183 Composition with Blue, Black and Grey, 1927
Oil on canvas, 38.2x35 cm
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, from The Mizne-Blumental Collection
S-, O-, B-
Images from the Sotheby's, London catalogue for the auction on 30th June 1981. Another I didn't try.
|B184 and B186, see the Reconstructions of lost works.
B194 Composition No.III with Red, Blue and Yellow, 1927
Oil on canvas, 38x35.5 cm
S495, O374, B-
Temporary image. No suggestions of an available colour image.
The photograph, from Bois et al, shows B194 and B195 at L'Esththétique bookstore-gallery, Paris in 1927.
[28 Dec #1] This looks like an easy place to start. The location of the yellow is clearly bottom right but the blue and red could be either way around.
Mondrian gave this to E. Elenbaas-Hartog of Rotterdam in 1935 who lent it to the Haags Gemeentemuseum from 1955-62. In 1962 it passed via the New York dealer Harold Diamond into private hands.
B195 Composition with Red, Blue and Grey, 1927
Oil on canvas, 66x50 cm
Signed lower left in red on blue: PM 27
S-, O379, B-
Temporary image. No suggestions of an available colour image.
See installation photograph with B194 above.
[9 Feb #12]The signature information is significant.
Found in Paris: good effort.
B196 Composition No.II with Yellow, Red and Blue, 1927
Oil on canvas, 50.2x35.2 cm
S-, O-, B-
Temporary image. Colour image in auction catalogue, Christie's, London 4th December 1979 and Christie's, New York, 19th May 1981.
[28 Dec #3] There are two clear possibilities here: picking the blue and red is always a problem.
The fourth image is the real one (albeit with a curled page) from the Christie's New York catalogue.
B197 Composition with Yellow and Blue, 1927
Oil on canvas, 50x39.5 cm
Sprengel Museum, Hannover
S-, O-, B-
Temporary image. Colour image in Sprengel Museum, Hannover , 1985
Shown at the Pompidou, 2011.
B199 Composition with Yellow, Red and Blue, 1927
Oil on canvas, 37.8x34.9 cm
Signed lower centre in red on blue: P M '27
The Menil Collection, Houston
S479, O355, B-
Image from The Menil Collection , 1987.
Addition of the signature data gives a useful hint on red and blue. Yellow is a guess - that section is marginally darker in the B&W original but I am probably being biased by symmetry.
Having obtained an original from the V&A, I'd rate the facsimile a creditable attempt.
[10 Jan #11]
B200 Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue, 1927
Oil on canvas, 75x52 cm
Museum Folkwang, Essen
S-, O-, B-
Temporary image. Colour image in Holtzman, Mondrian Portfolio, 1967
[28 Dec #2]
[Apr 2011] The Mondrian Portfolio seems to be a limited edition set of Mondrian reproductions. The image of what I believe to be B200 is from an auction at Ketterer Kunst on 14th May 2011. The estimate is $2,000, which seems to be the going rate for single pieces from the Portfolio. The online catalogue describes it as 'From the portfolio "Piet Mondrian", released by Ives-Sillman, Inc., New Haven 1967'. That's reasonably conclusive.
This Christies sale was for a full set of 10 prints and raised $17,500 in 2010. The description states that there was an edition of 150 issued.
I'll award myself high marks for the facsimile.
|B202, see the Reconstructions of lost works.
B208 Composition No.I with Yellow and Blue, 1929
Oil on canvas, 40.1x32.1 cm
National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto
S656, O-, B-
Temporary image. Colour image in Marlborough Gallery, New York Masters of the 19th and 20th Centuries , 1986
[30th Dec #8]
Found on a postcard. If I tried again, I think I would make the same mistake.
B212 Composition No.II with Red, Blue, Black and Yellow, 1929
Oil on canvas, 45x45 cm
Signed lower left in black on blue: P M '29
Narodni Muzej, Belgrade, donation of the Committee for the Propagation of the Knowledge of Dutch Art in Yugoslavia
S508, O388, B-
Temporary image. Colour image in Jaffé Le Tableau de Mondrian au Musée National de Beograd, 1964 and in Subotic World Masters, 1987.
[30th Dec #7] There are the usual two chances of getting the red and blue the right way round - now confirmed by the signature details.
[1st Feb 2011] searches for 'Mondrian Belgrade' pull up multiple references to a 1986 lecture there. This article includes the promising photograph (by László Moholy-Nagy), shown right, but deals with the subject of fake Mondrians and so I'm not sure whether to use or be influenced by the images. Here is some of the relevant text from the article,
The Armory Show (Ljubljana, 1986) with its copies of Mondrian, raised questions about the differences between the original and its repetition. The same is true of the first lecture by Walter Benjamin (Ljubljana, 1986). In this lecture, entitled Mondrian '63-'96, Benjamin speaks of two alleged copies of the same Mondrian painting (signed as Mondrian, but dated 1983) and how they differ from the original:Found unexpectedly at the 2011 exhibition at the Pompidou Centre. An excellent effort on the facsimile, If I may say so.
Even those so-called answers which we’ve arrived at in this lecture are only conditional answers. They are based on assumptions and not on facts. The only true facts are these paintings which stand in front of us. Such simple paintings and such complicated questions. We still don’t know who is the author of these paintings, when they originated and what is their meaning. They rely neither on the co-ordinates of time, nor on co-ordinates of identity, nor on co-ordinates of meaning. They simply hover, and the only comprehensible sense of their existence which we can accept with certainty are these questions themselves.
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