Record auction, Mondrian painting sells for $51 million

Record auction for the master of abstract art Piet Mondrian: his composition no. II was sold for $51 million by Sotheby’s in New York. It was purchased by an Asian collector whose identity has not been revealed. A sale more unique than rare, “a once-in-a-generation event,” commented Julian Dawes, Head of Impressionist and Modern Art at Sotheby’s.

The sale in New York represents a true record for Mondrian, as this same work was last auctioned in 1983, at a price of 2.15 million dollars, the equivalent of 6.6 million dollars today. This time the initial bid was 38 million, only to be auctioned for 51 million net of commissions from the unnamed bidder.

The painting, made up of blue, red, white and yellow squares, appears to be among the painter’s “most significant” artworks to ever appear on the collectors’ market. Furthermore, it is one of only three of his works to feature the red square as dominant in that particular position, while the other two are smaller in size and held in museum collections.

“Piet Mondrian’s quintessential works rarely go up for auction, as many are housed in the most prestigious museum collections around the world,” said Dawes. “Composition No. II embodies everything you could want from a Mondrian: it is a seminal painting that is crucial to the development of modern art and emblematic of the enduring appeal of the modern aesthetic, characterized by a serene sense of compositional balance and spatial order, and with excellent provenance,” said Sotheby’s art expert. “The work resonates with an electricity that reflects the energy of painting in Europe at the moment,” commented Oliver Barker, president of Sotheby’s Europe.

Made in 1930, Composition n. II is emblematic of the style of the Dutch artist, famous for his abstract, geometric and colorful grid designs that revolutionized the art world. Mondrian moved to Paris in 1912 and was inspired by the early works of Pablo Picasso and George Braque in the French capital. The unique design of
Mondrian contributed to the rise of abstract art in the 1940s and 1950s and embodies the art style of the time. Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan, born in 1872 in Amersfoort and died in New York in 1944, was the founder of «neoplasticism» along with Theo van Doesburg. With his works, he also had a huge influence in the areas of design, architecture and fashion.

Source: IL Tempo