The Art Journal
A privileged insight into the Piet Mondrian Conservation Project carried out by the art experts at Fondation Beyeler, under the patronage of La Prairie.
La Prairie and Art
The world of La Prairie has been inextricably linked to the world of art from its very beginning: from the artistic effervescence of the Clinique La Prairie in Montreux to a pivotal encounter with contemporary artist Niki de Saint Phalle. La Prairie’s audacious spirit – its willingness to break the codes of luxury, to follow untrodden paths that surprise as much as they inspire – is the very same audacious spirit as that of the artist: explorer, pioneer, adventurer.
Founded in 1997 by art collectors and gallery owners Ernst and Hildy Beyeler, Fondation Beyeler, situated in Riehen near Basel, is the most visited art museum in Switzerland. Central to the vision of Fondation Beyeler is their department of art conservation, which undertakes the vital role of ensuring ongoing cultural patrimony.
Piet Mondrian (1872 – 1944) is regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Within the strictest confines of precision, and by limiting himself to only the purest essence and most fundamental elements of art, Piet Mondrian utterly rewrote the rulebook for the construction of the masterpiece. In doing so, his pioneering abstract paintings and compositions formed an aesthetic which would go on to shape the 20th century, and influence every corner of the art world and creative industries, even reformulating the way we approach visual culture in its entirety.
Portrait of Piet Mondrian, photo by Arnold Newman, ©Getty Images.
EXPLORE THE PIET MONDRIAN CONSERVATION PROJECT
In the second year of the Piet Mondrian Conservation Project, the conservators at Fondation Beyeler take a closer look at the details on four Mondrian masterpieces. Using advance technology and methods, compelling discoveries emerge, shining a new light on the artworks created by the master of abstraction.
ANALYZING TABLEAU NO. I
The conservator at Fondation Beyeler discusses the artistic process behind Mondrian's painting. Each new discovery contributes to the efforts of preserving the masterpiece for future generations to come.
THE CONSTRUCTION OF COMPOSITION WITH YELLOW AND BLUE
Tracing the origin of Mondrian's artistic creation brings us closer to understanding the intention behind his famous compositions which laid powerfully influential foundations that galvanised artists and art movements across the world.
THE ORIGIN OF TABLEAU NO. I
Through the Piet Mondrian Conservation Project we take a closer look at one of Mondrian's most iconic paintings - Tableau No. I. The conservator at Fondation Beyeler uncovers new details about the origin of the artwork dated to 1921.
BEHIND THE MYTH OF MONDRIAN
In forming a distinctive visual language that shaped the artistic culture of the 20th century and beyond, Mondrian was a true original, fearlessly exploring the fundamental elements of art in the creation of something wholly new. His dedication to precision was all-encompassing, and his paintings sought to embody a sense of balance, order, and harmony in the world as he saw it.
THE ART OF CONSERVATION
Fondation Beyeler’s conservators sit at the frontier of preserving artworks for posterity, with their holistic approach going beyond the realm of art restoration. The aim of the art conservator is a multi-faceted one. It involves closely studying the unique attributes and properties of individual artworks, and documenting, analysing, and anticipating what the impact of time may be upon it.
Fondation Beyeler has one of the most comprehensive collections of Piet Mondrian paintings in Switzerland, ranging from important early works to the late classics of this 20th century master. The planning of a large Piet Mondrian exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler gave the impulse to launch a Piet Mondrian research and conservation project with the support of La Prairie.
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