Lot 79 | Auction XXXVI




LOT 79


B. Netherlands, 1872 – 1944

Untitled, 1921

Signed “PM 21” on lower edge

Wool Tapestry

165 x 183 cm

Provenance Provenance Ingrao Incorporated, New York, NY
Formerly in the Collection of the Four Seasons Residences, Baltimore, MD, U.S.A


Piet Mondrian and his Artistic Style Piet Mondrian was a Dutch painter who carved a unique niche for himself on the global platform, matching the likes of other celebrity painters. He was known as being the co-founder of De Stijl (The Style), which incorporated an art movement that worked around abstract works, and the new art forms that were being introduced to the world in the early 20th century. The move- ment was also based on the reductive theory, which took a larger scale image and brought it to life on the canvas, in architectural works, and in sculpture forms, and in the form of grahic art.

Mondrian who was born in the Nether- lands, received his formal training there where he attended the Rijksadame van Beeldende in Amsterdam. While Mon- drian was born 24 years after Vincent van Gogh, their story was strikingly similar. Mondrian took an interest in im- pressionist techniques, hence his early works reeked of this art form. Similar to Van Gogh, Mondrian used pure, robust colours and expressive brushwork under the influence of pointillism and Fau- vism. The still life images, the landscape works, and other scenes, which he de- picted in his early career, all showcased this style.

During the first decade of the 20th century, Mondrian began to make a transition in his style as an artist. His works started leaning towards a poin- tillist and cubist style, as well as other abstract mediums. During that time, Dutch artists were increasingly aware of the radical works of Paul Cezanne and of the Cubist painters. Active in the avant-garde circle, Mondrian was heavily influenced by the new art movement happening in Paris. 1911 was when Mondrian witnessed the early Cubist works of Pablo Picasso for the first time and he was immensely fascinated. Still exuberant from his findings, Mondrian almost immediately began to adapt concept of Cubism to his own use.


The Collectors
Due to his apprent forms and his ability to create works that touched so many, Mondrian was one of the well-known artists who began his work early in the 20th century. Although he was born outside of the US, his works and name eventually made their way to the Western World, and he achieved fame in his own right, for the quality and styles that he presented in his works. He was not only known as a famous abstract painter in the US, but also in his hometown, Amsterdam, and in Paris where he had a brief stay to learn about the different forms and the artists he was interested in.

Since the1970’s, many weaving com- panies started marketing their pieces to a broader audience by selling tap- estries as the more affordable coun- terparts to paintings. One company that had successfully done this was Modern Masters Tapestries. They created large-scale reproductions of modernist paintings by renowned artists including Joan Miró, Willem De Kooning, Fernand Léger, Piet Mondri- an and Pablo Picasso. Modern Mas- ters enlisted artisans to create tap- estries that would find their way into commercial spaces and homes.

The charm of tapestries is that they act as an introduction to modern 20th-century artists. Rather than por- trayed in a gallery space, the tapes- tries hang in a common area where people converse, study, and move through. Thirteen of the Modern Mas- ters’ tapestries originally found their way to Southern Methodist University as a donation in the 1970’s and were installed in DeGolyer Library. Much recently, the tapestries were stored at the Fondren Library of Rice University during the renovation, a new enriched home for the tapestries.

Mondrian established the Paris Studio of Mondrian, where some of his best artistic gems were made iconic, serv- ing as an inspiration to the modern painters. Tate Gallery in London hous- es one of the best works created by Mondrian. In 2014, the Tate Liverpool displayed the largest UK collection of Mondrian’s works, in commemoratio of the 70th anniversary of his death.


Piet Mondrian
‘Untitled’, (1921) Tapestry

This work is one of Mondrian’s well- known abstract works, created in 1921. This magnificent piece embod- ies a thick black brushwork to define the borders of different geometric patterns apparent in this work. The lines were masterfully applied, making these the defining feature of this untitled work. Mondrian also used vibrant colour combinations such as red, blue and yellow, representing his formal vocabulary while black, white and grey represented his primary values. His niche was constructing lines and colour combinations on a flat surface, in order to express general beauty with the utmost awareness.

This particular work has hung on the walls of the Four Seasons in Baltimore for several decades befo its way to KLAS Art auction.

History on Tapestries
During the Middle Ages through the Renaissance (14th to 16th century), tapestries were commonly found in homes. Tapestries served a functional purpose in buildings with little insulation or heat, keeping the elements out and the heat in. Its secondary purpose, on the other hand, was for the affluent to portray their sign of wealth and beauty. Like paintings, tapestries adorned the walls for those with financial means. Commissioned artisans were employed to design intricately woven designs in many of these tapestries, often creating beautiful mis-en-scènes or arranged scenery that transported viewers to otherworldly lands. Despite centuries of exposure to sunlight and temperature, some of the tapestries remain remark- ably striking to date.

It’s relatively rare to see artists’ tapestries on exhibit, partly because the market, which tended to shun them because they were undecided whether the works were real works of art or just expensive novelties. Artists who dabble in tapestries don’t actually sit at a loom and weave. Rather, they are the creator of designs or they have made paintings whose designs are suitable for a tapestry, and then these images are sent elsewhere by a publisher to be woven into tapestries, which the artists will eventually approve and sign. Artists’ tapestries are a hybrid of the art multiple market and may seem more like reproductions than original works of art.

Tapestries set a brief trend in the Unit- ed States in the 1920’s, when tycoons such as Albert Barnes, J.P. Morgan, George Vanderbilt and others travelled to Europe to buy art, returning with tapestries by celebrated artists such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso along with paintings and sculptures. These tapestries still hang on the walls of their homes or have been donated to museums, but it is mostly in office b g lobbies where they can be seen.”