Lot 9
  • 9

Piet Mondrian

Estimate
500,000 - 700,000 USD
Sold
1,385,000 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • Piet Mondrian
  • Church in Zoutelande
  • Signed Piet Mondriaan (lower right)
  • Oil on canvas

Provenance

Sidney Janis Gallery, New York (1953)

Acquired from the above in 1954

Exhibited

New York, Mondrian, 1953 (titled Zeeland Church and as dating from circa 1908)

Santa Barbara, Mondrian, 1965 (titled Zeeland Church and as dating from circa 1908)

Zurich, Mondrian, 1966 (titled Kirche in Zeeland and as dating from circa 1908)

Literature

Michel Seuphor, Piet Mondrian: Life and Work, New York, 1956, no. 248, catalogued p. 246, illustrated p. 257

Maria Grazia Ottolenghi, L'Opera Completa di Mondrian, Milan, 1974, no. 205 (titled Chiesa Zelanda and as dating from circa1908)

Robert P. Welsh, Piet Mondrian, Catalogue raisonné of the Naturalistic Works (until early 1911), New York, no. A688, illustrated p. 455

Catalogue Note

Church in Zoutelande was painted in 1909, during Mondrian’s travels to the province of Zeeland, located on the North Sea, in the south-western corner of the Netherlands. During his stay in the area the artist visited the small village of Zoutelande, which at the time had a population of only several hundred inhabitants, mainly farmers. The building depicted in the present work was the Dutch Reformed church located at the center of the village (fig. 1). The tower with its Gothic-style windows was originally erected around 1300 and went through several transformations, some of them due to the shifting dune formations that characterize this coastal area. During this early period of his career Mondrian was fascinated by architecture, and in the course of his travels he painted two oils of the church in Zoutelande, as well as other churches in the villages of Domburg and Oostkapelle, a Gothic church at Westkapelle which was turned into a lighthouse, and several depictions of windmills.

 

This period in Mondrian’s career was a time of intense experimentation and innovation, influenced by avant-garde movements such as Pointillism and Fauvism. Painted in bright contrasted colors using a pointillistic technique, Church in Zoutelande is a wonderful example of this early coloristic period in Mondrian’s painting, which would become increasingly abstract over the following years. Indeed after his return from Paris in 1914, where he was exposed to Cubist art, Mondrian returned to the architectural subject-matter and some of his earliest abstract compositions were inspired by church façades. Writing about the present oil, Robert P. Welsh speculated that "it was begun as a plein-air study, in part because of the cardboard mount which would have freed the artist from the need for an easel. In its finished state, this painting nonetheless represents a complete and stylistically coherent composition dominated by the bluish sky and its reflections on the church below" (Robert P. Welsh, op. cit., p. 455).

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