Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Missing Mondrians

missing mondrians
I printed 10 copies of my modest, 32-page volume from Lulu at the end of 2014 (£51.69), comfortably past the the 70th anniversary of PM's death when, I hope, copyright on his paintings ran out. The book is not generally available: I have sent out a few of the various draft editions and of the final edition and I leave one anonymously in the bookshop of every Mondrian exhibition I attend.

I sent one copy of the first edition to the British Library under the Legal Deposit scheme. The five other libraries (Wales, Scotland, Dublin, Oxford, Cambridge) can demand a free copy within 12 months of the BL deposit. No sign of that happening. [15Mar15 The BL wrote to acknowledge receipt of the book in a letter received on 14th.]
I might send a copy (actually, two) to the Library of Congress.

I sent a copy to Prof. Nancy Troy, author of The Afterlife of Piet Mondrian, and asked a few questions in my covering letter. [19Mar15] reply received with interesting information on copyright developments - I'll deal with that in a separate entry.

Of the earlier drafts, I gave one to Charles Darwent, author of Mondrian in London: How British Art Nearly Became Modern.
I left a copy in the shop at Tate Liverpool at the Mondrian and his studios exhibition.
I left another at Turner Contemporary at their Mondrian and Colour exhibition.

I should have left copies at the Courtauld show and at the Tate St. Ives Marlow Moss show and should also have given a copy to the curator and MM hero and authority Lucy Howarth, but I had not thought of handing them out  at that time. Lucy is at Tate Britain this Saturday (14th March) discussing MM, but I cannot make that one.

I intend to send a copy to Dr. Marty Bax, co-author of The Complete Mondrian and source of many other Mondrian goodies. I think we share a birthday, but I'm not sure why I think that - I'll send a copy in November anyway.

I'll probably send Mondrian hero Mark Caywood a copy if I can find his address [20Mar15] Mark has provided his Texas address and will be sent a copy next week.
And I promised Michael Sciam a copy some time ago in exchange for his but have not yet sent one.

I'll send a copy to the V&A library as their resources were very helpful in my research for the book and the web site.

It might be worth sending Jeffrey Gundlach a copy, with the suggestion that he could commission recreations.

There is a page on the development of the book on the web site. I wrote the above from memory, but having looked at the page can now add that:

  • I started the book in 2011.
  • I learned a lot from Ellen Lupton's inspirational book Indie Publishing and initially intended to print and bind my own copies but failed to find a suitable duplex inkjet printer. I'd send her a copy, but I'm not sure she would be particularly bothered.
  • A greater debt is owed to Jenny Newton who taught me to use Adobe InDesign at Greenwich community college. I'd send her a copy if I were still in contact.
  • 1st draft August 2011 £3.88 plus postage.
  • 2nd draft later that month (£6.09) and I started painting one of the reconstructions, B149, that would eventually be used on the cover.
  • 3rd draft from Lulu in August 2011 and the 4th in July 2012 - three copies (£21.07): "one to keep, one to work on and one for Charles Darwent who asked for a copy".
  • I noted on another page in December 2012, "The fifth proof has been sent for printing. I think it's done. I have ordered 5 copies of this one (£28.43); there were 3 copies of p4 (one of which I sent to Charles Darwent); and one each of the first three proofs. Eleven copies, in various states, in total. The intention is to publish in February 2014, sending copies to many potentially interested parties and then make it generally available on Lulu."
  • 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 5 + 10 = 21 copies altogether.
In fact, as noted above, I 'published' in late 2014 and did not make it generally available. There are two main reasons for that, firstly I am still not sure about copyright and secondly, I rather enjoy restricting availability.

The distribution list has been moved to a separate post. I'll carry on here with notes on the book itself.

[17Mar15] Lulu had a one-day 34% discount offer so I have ordered another 10 copies (£35 plus £11 postage). For the second printing I have added Nancy's Troy's book to the References, together with Christopher Andreae's Winifred Nicholson. In the Introduction, I cite Troy on Mondrian's furniture and Holtzman's Wall Works. I have added a Bonus Feature to the last page, reproducing my Fourth Theory (hence the Andreae listing).

[25Mar15] Reading the 2nd printing today, I found a previously unspotted typo at the end of p.24.

[27Mar15] For the next printing I will have to clarify the copyright position. The only available space in the book was used in the 2nd printing for the  Fourth Theory and I will have to leave that in. I might be able to squeeze enough copyright detail into the introduction.

[14Apr15] I might also try to work a reference to Lawrence Block's The Burglar who painted like Mondrian for the 3rd printing (I think my description of 'rectilinear primary-coloured works' might have come from Block).

[19Apr15] I believe the copyright position is this:
Mondrian died on February 1st 1944 and so the 70th anniversary of his death was in 2014. Copyright to all Mondrian's works was held by the Mondrian / Holtzman Trust (“The Trust”), and for some it still is. The rules are varied and can be complex but those most relevant to Mondrian are:
  • In many countries, copyright ends 70 years after death (or the beginning of the subsequent year).
  • In Spain, this is extended to 80 years for artists who died before 7th December 1987.
  • In the US, for foreign artists, whose images were published in another country between 1923 and 1978, copyright is extended to 95 years from that first publication.
  • The Trust states that “45% of Piet Mondrian’s images created between 1911 and 1944 now have copyright expiration dates between 2019 and 2061”. They have published a list of works still in copyright.
  • Of the extant works shown in this book, four are still in copyright: Fig. 16, B173 (2022); Fig. 18, B154 (2022); Fig. 36, B104 (2051); Fig. 66, B217 (2027).
[22Jun15] On the Block reference (see 14Apr) I reread the book but cannot find any mention of 'rectilinear'. For the latest version (1st edn., 3rd print) I have added a section on copyright and amended all the existing references to that subject. 10 copies ordered 2nd July.

No comments:

Post a comment