La Prairie & Fondation Beyeler partnership

Uncovering Mondrian’s minimalist masterpieces

Photo: ©Paul Delbo

Dutch painter Piet Mondrian (1872 – 1944) is regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.

Within the strictest confines of precision, and by limiting himself to only the purest essence and most fundamental elements of art, Mondrian utterly rewrote the rulebook for the construction of the masterpiece.

In doing so, his pioneering abstract paintings and compositions formed an aesthetic which would go on to shape the 20th century, and influence every corner of the art world and creative industries – even reformulating the way we approach visual culture in its entirety.

Markus Gross, Head Conservator at Fondation Beyeler, leads the team in this vital cultural endeavour

From the Dutch pastoral paintings of his youth, through highly individual and iconoclastic interpretations of Post-Impressionism and Cubism, the evolution of Mondrian’s artistic style developed alongside his journey to Paris, and his exploration for a sense of self.

By 1914, he was producing the paintings which cemented his stark and particular way to concentrate on the very essential in art. These works carved a distinctive visual path he would follow for the remainder of his lengthy career. When asked about the creation of his Compositions, Mondrian claimed his approach was informed by an attempt to focus solely on the emotion, which the purity of line and colour create.

The impact of Mondrian’s Compositions was immediate and laid powerfully influential foundations that galvanised artists and art movements across Europe. Indeed, those Compositions almost instantly established one of the most recognisable artistic vernaculars in the canon, which, while often imitated, were possibly never bettered. While other artists reduced, Mondrian purified, distilled, and refined.

Conserving four masterpieces

Fondation Beyeler boasts one of the most comprehensive collections of Piet Mondrian paintings in Switzerland, ranging from important early works to the late classics of this 20th century master.

The planning of a large Piet Mondrian exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler gave the impulse to launch a Piet Mondrian research and conservation project with the support of La Prairie.

As a result, commencing in 2020, La Prairie has assumed the proud role of exclusive patron of a two-year art partnership, involving the conservation of four Piet Mondrian masterpieces.

The four Mondrian paintings – Tableau No. I; Composition with Yellow and Blue; Composition with Double Line and Blue; and Lozenge Composition with Eight Lines and Red – were produced between 1921 and 1938. They perfectly display Mondrian’s inimitable style and piercing, precise, and refined approach.

In forming a distinctive visual language that shaped the artistic culture of the 20th century and beyond, Mondrian was a true original, fearlessly exploring the fundamental elements of art in the creation of something wholly new. His dedication to precision was all-encompassing, and his paintings sought to embody a sense of balance, order, and harmony in the world as he saw it.

In partnership with La Prairie, Fondation Beyeler is employing in-depth research and a multi-disciplined approach to ensure the longevity of Mondrian’s precious artworks.

Through this important conservation project, La Prairie is delighted to be able to further foster the notion of luxury with a meaning, which remains a central pillar of the brand and its ongoing mission.

This unique opportunity to give something back to the world of art and culture, and also pay homage to the brand’s artistic heritage – greatly inspired by Mondrian’s minimalist aesthetic, geometric precision, and purity of form – is unrivalled.

Fondation Beyeler Head Conservator Markus Gross: “We are delighted that La Prairie supports this project and contributes to raising awareness of the importance of art conservation”


Spotlight Series • September 2020

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