Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mondrian and Blavatsky

The online edition of London’s Financial Times for June 15 reviews the exhibition “Mondrian and his Studios” at the Tate Liverpool. One of the draws is a replica of Mondrian’s studio in Paris from the 1920s. Looking for influences, the reviewer says:

Mondrian’s chosen faith was theosophy. Championed at the turn of the 20th century by Madame Blavatsky and Annie Besant, it was fallen upon by a clutch of artists who interpreted its credo – that the divine essence of reality was a union of spirit and matter – as a manifesto for an art that aimed at universal enlightenment. 

However esoteric it sounds, theosophy made for masterpieces. (Kandinsky was a fellow traveller.) It captured Mondrian’s imagination in 1909, while he was still in Amsterdam. In 1911 he left for Paris and his spiritual vision found its secular medium in cubism’s crystalline dissections.

“Mondrian And His Studios”, which commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Dutch artist’s death, is the largest UK exhibition of work by the abstract painter. It will be on view from June 6 to October 5, 2014.

Tate Liverpool’s recreation of Mondrian's studio in Paris

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