Monday 25 July 2011

Mondrian's studios

After leaving home to pursue his art studies and career in 1892, Mondrian occupied "many residences in and around Amsterdam over the next 20 years" [Bois et al].  He made short visits abroad to Cornwall with Hannah Crabb in the summer of 1900 and to Spain with Simon Maris in the summer of 1901. Within Holland, he spent time in Uden (1904), Oele (1906), Domburg (1908 and 1909) and Zeeland (1911). The first studio photograph is of Mondrian in his Rembrandtplein studio in 1905.

The second photograph (by R. Drektraan) is at Sarphatipark 52, Amsterdam, where Mondrian lived in 1909-10. The photograph was taken before he painted the floor black and the walls and furniture white.

In June 1911 he visited Paris for 10 days and in January 1912 moved to Paris, his first address being 33 avenue du Maine. In May 1912 he transferred to 26 rue du Départ, probably his favourite workplace. This photograph of the exterior was taken by by Alfred Roth in 1928.

He returned to Holland frequently: in 1914 he visited his father in Arnhem and could not return to France because of the outbreak of the First World War. He continued to pay quarterly rent on 26 rue du Départ during this enforced absence. Most of this period in Holland was spend in Laren, the photograph left shows his studio there.

Mondrian returned to Paris in June 1920. He first occupied another room at 26 as Marthe Donas was living in his old studio. In November he moved to 5 rue de Coulmiers where he decorated the walls with cardboard painted with primary colours, white and grey. The studio has been recreated in this blog and this video by Ryan Egel-Andrews.

In October 1921 Mondrian moved back to a larger studio at 26. He repainted it in May 1924. In 1926 Delbo photographed the studio and these images were used by Frans Postma to create 26, rue du Départ (published  1995),  a reconstruction which was also shown in the 2011 exhibition at the Pompidou Centre. Mondrian repainted the studio in July and August 1927.

Mondrian's last Paris studio was at 278 boulevard Raspail. He moved there in March 1936, immediately painted the walls white and soon added colour planes.
The photograph shows Mondrian with his brother Carel and Carel's wife Mary.

The threat of the Second World War caused Mondrian to leave Paris in September 1938: Winifred Nicholson travelled with him to London and helped him to set up in Hampstead, where many artists lived. He took a room and studio at 60 Parkhill Road. A bomb landed nearby in September 1940 and Mondrian moved back to the Ormande Hotel, Belsize Grove, where he first had stayed in London.

At the end of September, Mondrian boarded the Samaria in Liverpool and sailed to New York, arriving on 3rd October.

He stayed with Harry Holtzman at first, at his apartment and his summer home in the Berkshires.

Holtzman rented Mondrian an apartment on the third floor of 353 East 56th Street. Mondrian painted the walls white and added colour planes.

The 1942 photograph is by Arnold Newman.

He moved to 15 East 59th Street in October 1943: in this case, the walls were whitewashed in advance, leaving Mondrian to add the colour planes. The photograph, showing Victory Boogie Woogie was  taken by Holtzman a few days after Mondrian died on 1st February 1944. The studio was recreated for a 1995/96 MoMA exhibition.

Mondrian was buried at Cypress Hill Cemetary.

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