Sunday, 22 May 2011

Stamp homage

Further philately in one of the most elegant Mondrian homages. A beautifully crafted fake USA miniature sheet, based on B221.

StamPiet Mondrian, 2005 was created by an entrant called williamvonr for a challenge on Worth1000.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Mondrian and cigarettes

Many photographs of Mondrian show him with a cigarette (the example left was taken by Fritz Glarner in 1943) and,occasionally a pipe (there is, of course the famous 1928 Andre Kertesz photograph Mondrian's Pipe and Glasses, shown right).

I spent quite a long time trying to find out what brand of cigarettes Mondrian smoked, but without success, however, the Catalogue Raisonné lists sketches for paintings on Craven A, Blue Line (a brand I have not been able to track) and other cigarette packages.

There are numerous items of smoking Mondriana, the most pleasing of which are this cigarette pack (a normal pack of Camels in a sleeve) and matching Zippo lighter.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Mondrian inflation

B262 sold at Sotheby's, New York in May 2002 for $5.3M.

The installation photograph, right, from CR shows B262 at the Modern Pictures for Modern Rooms exhibition, London, April 1936. Photographer unknown.

Interestingly, the catalogue gives a price of £40 (and the same for B263). £40 to £3.6M in 66 years. I learned here that a Leica 111 f2 Summar sold for £39.10.0 in that year: the top of the range Leica non-digital rangefinder, the M7 with 50mm f2 Summicron-M now costs around £4,100. A post on that link suggests that an agricutural labourer's wages would have been around £1.12.0 (£1.50) per week at the time. The minumum adult (>21) wage is currently (2011) £5.93 per hour, £208 for a 35 hour week, 75 years later.
In round terms: Mondrians have risen by a factor of 90,000 in 66 years; Leicas by 100; and minimum wage by 140 in 75 years. So it goes - please advise me of any factual or mathematical errors encountered in these paragraphs.

Mondrian Theory #1

The Nicholsons were friends of Mondrian. It was Winifred Nicholson who brought him from Paris to London in 1938. In 1931 or 32, Winifred painted her children on holiday on the Isle of Wight, shown left. In 1942, Mondrian painted New York City, shown right. Winifred retained the painting until she sold it in 1971. In Christopher Andreae's lovely biography of Winifred, he notes that 'One evening in Winifred's flat in Paris, 1936, Mondrian had seen Winifred's paintings and appreciated them - 'It was a good evening at your home and I saw with pleasure your work; also your "naturalistic" painting is very pure and true,' he wrote her in a thank-you note.' (Letter in the Tate Archives, Ben Nicholson Papers).

So perhaps two of Mondrian's key influences were women: Marlow Moss for the double lines and Winifred Nicholson for the New York coloured lines.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Betty Boop

A fun piece found on eBay, rather fully priced at £59.99, Betty Boop in a YSL dress and holding a wittily-placed frame.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Mondrian stamps

Stamps offer some of the neatest and prettiest homages and references to PM and most of them come from Holland.

The only item remaining on display from The Collection is a frame of stamps, cards and first day covers.

The items are, from the top,
  • a first day cover of the 1983 issue, showing Mondrian's Composition with Blue, Yellow, Red and Grey, 1922 (B134) on the 50c and Maison Particuli√®re by Van Doesburg and Van Eesteren on the 65c. Van Doesburg was the original owner of B134.
  • an FDC of the 1994 issue (50th anniversary of PM's death) showing a detail of Mill, 1911 (A692) on the 70c; Lozenge Composition with Four Yellow Lines, 1933 (B241) and part of a frock on the 80c; and a detail of Broadway Boogie Woogie, 1942-43(B323) on the 90c.
  • maxi-cards for the 1983 Mondrian and all of the 1994 issue, beautifully designed.
  • the individual stamps for those issues, plus a stamp from Togo showing Composition C, 1920, (B107).

Further details here.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Mondrian's Martini

Barnaby Conrad III
Barnaby Conrad III
This, shown left, is one of the earliest and the finest pieces in the collection, by Barnaby Conrad III, who seems to be a splendid and versatile fellow.

This was a 1995 reworking of a subject he had explored in 1992, as shown right, an image found in this martini-oriented site.