For the last 77 years Piet Mondrian’s famous ‘New York City I’ has been hanging upside down

1 min read

It will probably remain an “everlasting mystery” how it came to that, said curator of an upcoming Mondrian exhibition Susanne Meyer-Bueser on Friday (October 28) in Duesseldorf.

She was also the one to discover that the artwork has been presented incorrectly through all these years. 

Meyer-Bueser found an old photo of Mondrian’s studio where ‘New York City I’ was shown the other way round from the usual one. So, she turned a cardboard copy of the artwork upside down and had a look: “It actually works incredibly well when you turn it upside down,” she said. “Suddenly it has more plasticity, more depth.” 

Meyer-Bueser has another argument in favour of her theory. “If you look at the strips of this painting, they are adhesive strips, tapes – they cannot have been applied in this state in which they are now,” she explained and pointed out that Mondrian must have turned the artwork around while having worked on it, because the adhesive strips seem to be repeatedly attached at the top, pulled down and then snapped off.

“That simply follows gravity,” Meyer-Bueser said. “And in this respect we assume that it is hanging upside down.”

Yet, the artwork is not going to be presented in the newly discovered intended way at the upcoming ‘Mondrian. Evolution’ exhibition in Duesseldorf as it is not possible due to conservation reasons.

“If we were to turn it over, it could be that the adhesive strips would come loose,” Meyer-Bueser explained. “Then we would no longer have a beautiful picture.” (Reuters)

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