Saturday, 8 December 2012

At the bank

Barclays is, excitingly, offering personalised bank cards. They have understandable restrictions on the images which you can use. I have two cards and so successfully uploaded a family portrait. For the other, of course, I would like a Mondrian.

My first choice was my favourite Mondrian photograph, taken in a London garden, by John Cecil Stephenson in the late 1930s. This was rejected, presumably as it was regarded as copyright, but how they distinguished between this and a snap of what might have been my dad is a mystery.
My second attempt was a Mondrian painting which does not exist in anything resembling the format in which I tried to use it. This was B149 ,  Komposition mit Gelb, Zinnober, Schwarz, Blau und verschiedenen grauen und weissen Tönen, 1922: lost following its inclusion in the Nazis' decadent art exhibition, Entartete Kunst. It is only known in pre-war B&W photographs, but is part of the Reconstruction Project. Rejected by Barclays, perhaps because it, demonstrably, looks like a Mondrian.

My third attempt was to be part of a Mondrian jigsaw of Broadway Boogie-Woogie shown in Toys and Games, but this was not large enough (featured early on the site when space was far more expensive). I thought this might be accepted as it looks as much like a map of Wales as it does a PM painting.

Where next? Any of the highlights on the main Artifacts page would fit the bill, but most would face almost certain rejection: the Camel cigarette packet is a particular favourite but tobacco and alcohol are specifically excluded. Anything from Page 1 of Homages would be good, but, again, would probably be rejected out of hand.

I'll try my stained glass version of Theo van Doesburg's 1917 Cow. Not PM, but it's in the ballpark. Submitted.
[10th Dec] Rejected: no hint is ever given of the clause which has been infringed.

[10th Dec] I found another snap of the jigsaw in the Collections Memorial page. Though the colours are rather strained, I have given it a try. I think I might try the Moondrian plush next and then perhaps the Reitveld chair.

[11th Dec] In some ways I'm a little disappointed to say that the jigsaw was accepted. It's a piece of Mondrian rather than the De Stijl alternatives I had tried and was planning, but I might have preferred the Moondrian.

[15th Dec] It arrived today. The colours are disappointing, so maybe that's why it passed the tests. I wonder how often you're allowed to change them.


  1. Hi! No comments? What's a pitty!Your's note is amazing! I look for something interesting about Teory of Colors Modrian's. Do you have help me?

    Katarzyna Brzozowska

  2. Hi Katarzyna

    Wikipedia states,

    Mondrian published “De Nieuwe Beelding in de schilderkunst” (“The New Plastic in Painting”)[12] in twelve installments during 1917 and 1918. This was his first major attempt to express his artistic theory in writing. Mondrian's best and most-often quoted expression of this theory, however, comes from a letter he wrote to H.P. Bremmer in 1914:
    I construct lines and color combinations on a flat surface, in order to express general beauty with the utmost awareness. Nature (or, that which I see) inspires me, puts me, as with any painter, in an emotional state so that an urge comes about to make something, but I want to come as close as possible to the truth and abstract everything from that, until I reach the foundation (still just an external foundation!) of things… I believe it is possible that, through horizontal and vertical lines constructed with awareness, but not with calculation, led by high intuition, and brought to harmony and rhythm, these basic forms of beauty, supplemented if necessary by other direct lines or curves, can become a work of art, as strong as it is true.

    Regarding colours, my view, as explained in The Missing Mondrians, is that once he had arrived at the palette limited to the three primary colours, PM was more concerned with the structure of the pieces rather than the colours. He painted a composition for Alfred Roth and let him choose the colours: this has been interpreted in various ways but Carmean states "which colour went where was not a determining factor in creating the work".

    Cheers, Nick