Unreal Nature

November 25, 2014

He Often Danced By Himself

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:48 am

This is from ‘Obituary of Mondrian’ (1944) found in Clement Greenberg: The Collected Essays and Criticism, Vol. 1, edited by John O’Brian (1986):

… Perhaps Mondrian will be reproached for the anonymity with which he strove for the ruled precision of the geometer and the machine in executing his paintings: their conceptions can be communicated by a set of specifications and dimensions, sight unseen, and realized by a draftsman. But so could the conception of the Parthenon. The artist’s signature is not everything.

Piet Mondrian, Composition No. 10, 1942 [image from WikiArt]

Mondrian was of the type of artist-hero who immolates himself for his work, sacrificing the customary amenities of life, or making his art carry desires frustrated in other directions. He never married — he expressed a desire to but complained that he could not afford it — and he seems to have had few friends. He gave the impression of being inarticulate in conversation, and said once that he preferred not to argue about the problems of art viva voce but to read and write about them. His appearance was as dry and ascetic as a superficial acquaintance with his work might lead one to expect. But there were in both the artist and the art an intensity and passion which it needed only a second glance to discover. His one great diversion, surprisingly or not, was dancing, and I am told he liked it so much that he often danced by himself in the studio.

Piet Mondrian, Self Portrait, 1900 [image from WikiArt]




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