22-01-2016

Kunstmuseum launches biggest Mondrian show in Brazil

Over seventy works by Mondrian and his contemporaries in the De Stijl movement are about to tour Brazil. The Kunstmuseum has created an exhibition to visit the cities of São Paolo, Brasilia, Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro. The museum’s Mondrian collection is the greatest on the planet and it is eager to give it worldwide exposure. Director Benno Tempel says, “Mondrian is one of the top five Dutch artists: Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh, Mondrian and Escher. It’s great that the Brazilian public can get to know his work.” The exhibition starts its tour on 25 January in São Paulo, the country’s biggest city.

To show that Mondrian’s abstraction was not an overnight development, the exhibition includes both early and late examples of his work. Mondrian’s approach progressed in phases, becoming more abstract and modern as time went on. Tempel: “Visitors will witness Mondrian’s entire artistic development. From the early rural landscapes, via radiantly colourful images of windmills and Cubist-style ovals, right through to his world-famous abstract compositions in a cast-iron visual idiom that has continued to inspire artists, architects and designers ever since.”

De Stijl shapes our world
In addition to the Mondrians, the exhibition includes works by other members of De Stijl (such as Bart van der Leck) and iconic objects, like the model for Van Doesburg’s ‘Maison Particulière’ and Gerrit Rietveld’s Red Blue Chair. Both the movement and the journal of the same name were launched by Van Doesburg and Mondrian in 1917 and attracted many artists, architects and designers in the Netherlands and elsewhere. Their work and the visual idiom they employed have had a major and enduring influence both on the history of art and on the appearance of the world around us. They set out to turn their physical surroundings into a single, total work of art: art was not just something to hang on the wall, but a matter of the design of our furniture, houses, streets and urban areas. The visual idiom they developed is typical of the Netherlands and continues, even now, to inspire much of the Dutch Design celebrated around the world.

Brazil enthusiastic about Escher and Mondrian
The new exhibition, 'Mondrian e o movimento De Stijl', has been created by the Kunstmuseum in partnership with Brazilian organisation ArtUnlimited and in response to a commission from the country’s biggest bank, the Banco do Brasil. Back in 2011, the same parties collaborated on an Escher exhibition that attracted 573,691 visitors in the space of two months, making it that year’s most visited exhibition anywhere on the planet. The Kunstmuseum hopes that Piet Mondrian will prove equally popular with the Brazilian public.

Art as an international visiting card
'Mondrian e o movimento De Stijl' is the biggest Mondrian exhibition ever held in Brazil – a milestone not just for the Kunstmuseum, but for the Netherlands at large, especially in a year when Brazil is hosting the Olympic Games. Top sport and top art seem a winning combination as a way to publicise the Netherlands. For this reason, the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions (NBTC) has proclaimed 2017 the international year of Mondrian to Dutch Design. Museums are set to respond by holding major exhibitions and showing how the founders of De Stijl have influenced artists, architects and designers over the past hundred years. At the end of 2016, therefore, the Mondrians now on tour in Brazil will return to the Netherlands to star in exhibitions at home.