The art world does not win for scares. Added to the recent attacks on works in European museums is a shock of another nature whose protagonist is Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), founder of neo-plasticism, seeker of essence and purity, fundamental figure of avant-garde art. His name returns to the forefront of today not because of an exhibition, an auction or an anniversary, but because of the curious fact that a specialist has discovered that one of his works has been exhibited upside down for 75 years in various museums. The second part of the news is that the painting will continue to show mouth down because there is fear that the correct placement will lead to its destruction.
Is about New York City I, an abstract work of the year 1941 exhibited for the first time in the MoMA (New York) in 1945 and that Since 1980 is part of the art collection of the german federal state of north rhine, in Dusseldorf. It is a complex network of red, yellow, black and blue adhesive tapes which presents a greater accumulation of lines in the lower part. This is the detail that caught the attention of the commissioner Susanne Meyer-Buser in their investigations for the new museum exhibition about the artist.
The expert postulates that the thickening of the grid “should be at the top, as a dark sky“, a theory reinforced by other specialists whom he has consulted. And by two relevant circumstances: the placement of the painting of the same name and the same size that is on display at the Center Pompidou in Paris, which features thick lines at the top, and aA photograph of Mondrian’s studio, taken a few days after his death, in which the work appears.
[Piet Mondrian, el científico de la belleza]
On the other hand, the frame does not bear the artist’s signaturepossibly because he did not get to finish it.
Despite these evidences, New York City I it will not be moved. Meyer-Brüser explains, according to the newspaper Guardianthat “heThe adhesive tapes are already extremely loose and hanging by a thread: yesIf you turned it upside down now, gravity would pull it in another direction.”
With all this, visitors to the museum will have to decide from now on if that lower thickening of lines corresponds to a horizon or an inverted sky. Curiosities and whims of art history.
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