Posts Tagged 'Piet Mondrian'

The Mondrian Brand

The abstract paintings of Dutch artist Piet Mondrian have become ubiquitous in pop culture, from architecture to designer fashions. In a sense his geometric, primary-colored compositions have become a brand. This proliferation and appropriation of an artistic style begs the question, what shapes an artist’s legacy? Why do some works of art become so intertwined with pop culture that they become icons instantly recognizable to mass audiences? Join us on Thursday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m. for The Mondrian Brand and hear from Dr. Nancy Troy, Victoria and Roger Sant Professor in Art at Stanford University and author of The Afterlife of Piet Mondrian.

Piet Mondrian, Place de la Concorde, 1938–1943, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation 1982.22.FA

To contemplate Mondrian’s pop culture legacy in my own way I thought it was finally time to attempt the complex and beautiful Mondrian Cake made famous by Caitlin Freeman in her book Modern Art Desserts: Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Confections, and Frozen Treats Based on Iconic Works of Art.

The first three lines of the recipe are just a taste of what goes into this chocolate-soaked masterpiece:
Makes one 16 by 3 by 3-inch cake, serving 15
Hands-on time: 6 hours
From start to finish: 2 days


To begin, I had to make four velvety cakes: one white, one blue, one red, and one yellow. Freeman uses a delicious recipe with a shocking butter content (I made two trips to the store). As you might imagine, I ended up with a rainbow of leftover cake that I was too lazy to repurpose into another dessert.

After precisely cutting each section of the Mondrianesque composition I glued them together with 24 oz of bittersweet chocolate ganache and finished the cake with a shower of ganache. With two days of cake construction behind me I was impatient to see the finished product and did not let it set up in the fridge for the recommended three hours. Each slice revealed a mini Mondrian, if only slightly wonky and Easter-egg colored. We’ll never know if Mondrian would have approved of this culinary counterfeit, but I was certainly satisfied with my effort.

Jessie Frazier is the Manager of Adult Programming 

30-Minute Dash: Eric Zeidler

Because we offer free general admission, visitors often pop in for a few minutes when they are in the Dallas Arts District. Our Visitor Services team is frequently asked this question: “What would you recommend seeing if you only had thirty minutes to visit the Museum?” We thought it would be fun to pose this tough question to DMA staffers from different departments to see what they consider to be among the highlights. First up is Eric Zeidler, our Publications Manager:

If a visitor had thirty minutes and accepted me as a guide, I would take them to many galleries to highlight multiple works in the collection, starting with the African galleries on Level 3.


My favorite stops include the Fang reliquary guardian figure. It is so riveting and perfectly carved, I can never get my fill of looking at it. Another work to visit is the Songye female power figure with her sheen (she exudes the oil with which she has been anointed down through the years) and that unnerving grin. I can well imagine her exerting a beneficent or malefic power, depending on the inner qualities of those who come into contact with her. Last stop in this gallery would have to be the Djennenke/Soninke figure, with her protuberant eyes and spare, almost angular, elegance.


Continuing our tour on Level 3 in the Arts of Asia gallery includes time to take in the serene Buddha Muchalinda. I love his canopy of naga heads and the fascinating expressiveness of his lips. The Vajrabhairava, with its horns and fangs and union of ecstatic abandon with higher truth, is always a must see, as is the sensuously provocative celestial female with that scorpion on her thigh. And finally we would visit the Vishnu as Varaha, with its diagonal lines and the redoubtable tusks and snout.


We would then dash downstairs to the European galleries on Level 2 to look at a large selection of some of my favorite works, starting with Paul Signac’s neoimpressionist masterpiece Comblat-le-Château, the Meadow (Le Pré), Opus 161. We would then continue on to Paul Sérusier’s Celtic Tale, which partly reminds me of Paul Gauguin but also has symbolist elements reminiscent of Javanese-Dutch artist Jan Toorop, with whom (for me) its imagery has luminous affinities. Next would be Piet Mondrian’s Farm Near Duivendrecht, in the Evening, with its low light, reminds me of Dahl’s Frederiksborg Castle, on view around the corner (it makes me wish that we could acquire some Atkinson Grimshaw canvases), and a quick look at Hans Hofmann’s expressive masterpiece Untitled (Yellow Table on Green).


Going down the other side of the European galleries, I would point out the nice little Still-life with Fruit by Emilie Preyer; Sir Joshua Reynolds’ commanding Portrait of Miss Mary Pelham (she has such a penetrating stare, which for me suggests a certain formidable willfulness); the gorgeous still-life Basket of Flowers by Beert the Elder, with its petals lying strewn on a tabletop; and my beloved College of Animals by Cornelis Saftleven. I think this work, beyond its allegorical subtleties and its charm for all those who love animals, is a beautifully painted canvas, and I love studying its various striking details.


I would also take a quick trip to the Level 4 to see the Dust Bowl and other Texas paintings, which show that beauty can be found amidst stark desolation, and the Navajo eye-dazzler blanket, which is a pleasure to gaze upon. We would end our whirlwind tour with the fascinating little painting by Roberto Montenegro, The Shell, one of my favorite works in the entire collection.

Follow Uncrated to catch the next DMA Dash and more behind-the-scenes scoops. Visit our collection online anytime here.

 Reagan Duplisea is the Associate Registrar, Exhibitions at the DMA.

Dressed to the Nines: Canine Couture and Fashionista Felines

Last year the DMA pets took to the catwalk for Dress Your Pet Up Day, which is held every January 14. We had such a paws-itive response that we couldn’t wait to get our fashion hounds ready for their close ups once again. DMA staff and their furry pals took inspiration from the DMA’s collection and delivered some on trend looks that will get your tails WAGging.

Sabby_Marlo Pascual
DMA Staffer: Mandy Engleman, Director of Creative Services
DMA Pet: Sabrina, Bassador (Basset Hound/Yellow Lab), age 6 1/2
Portrait Inspiration: Marlo Pascual, Untitled, 2009
I’ve always been fascinated with Sabby’s short little legs and big paws, and when I saw the Pascual photo I knew we had to re-create this artistic still life. However, due to her short/long stature, a lounging pose was required!

panda 3
DMA Staffer: Stacey Lizotte, Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services
DMA Pet: Parker (he belongs to my parents but I borrowed him when I was home for Christmas), English Springer Spaniel, age 1
Portrait Inspiration: Banquete chair with pandas, Fernando Campana and Humberto Campana, designed 2006
With Parker being a black-and-white Springer, my mind went immediately to the banquete chair with pandas in our collection. Since it was cost prohibitive to buy a lot of stuffed pandas to place around Parker in a chair shape, my mom made a panda bear quilt with fabric we found online, which we then draped over a chair before posing Parker in it.

John_George
DMA Staffer: Amanda Blake, Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences
DMA Pet: George Costanza, West Highland White Terrier, age 8
Portrait Inspiration: John Singleton Copley, Woodbury Langdon, 1767
Dress Your Pet Up Day provided George with the perfect excuse to invite Chloe over for a play date. Even though he is a rough and tumble type of dog, he knows when to bring on the charm and put his best paw forward like Woodbury. (While George has many talents, holding a westie stamped document isn’t one of them. Amanda created a lifelike paw for his shoot).

Chloe_Sarah
DMA Staffer: Kimberly Daniell, Manager of Communications and Public Affairs
DMA Pet: Chloe (she is actually my roommate’s dog. I dog-napped her for the photo shoot), West Highland Terrier, age 9
Portrait Inspiration: John Singleton Copley, Sarah Sherburne Langdon, 1767
Chloe and George have been discussing portrait options since last January to create a team for this year’s Dress Your Pet Up Day. The perfect pair for this westie duo were the Langdons, though George took to his sophisticated background much more easily than Chloe. She hasn’t adjusted to the nouveau riche lifestyle of the Langdons.

Captain Charles_Nandi
DMA Staffer: Fran Baas, Associate Conservator
DMA Pet: Captain Charles, Domestic Shorthair (very handsome Tuxedo with many admirers), age 4
Portrait Inspiration: Nandi, c. 13th century, South India
A cat can be a difficult model. Since I am the objects conservator here at the DMA, I wanted to choose one of the many fabulous sculptures from the collection that are currently on view. The Nandi bull, the bull that serves as mount and gatekeeper for the god Shiva, was an obvious choice by my dear Captain for several reasons: reclining, an “immature” bull, a protector, and adored by many. He didn’t really want to wear the floral garland trim and thought it was something to play with. His usual “reclining” pose went out the door.

Fidel_Georgia O'Keeffe
DMA Staffer: Jessica Fuentes, The Center for Creative Connections Gallery Coordinator
DMA Pet: Fidel, short-haired Chihuahua, age 3
Portrait Inspiration: Georgia O’Keeffe, Grey Blue & Black—Pink Circle, 1929
Georgia O’Keeffe is one of my daughter’s favorite artists and Grey Blue & Black – Pink Circle is my favorite O’Keeffe in the Museum’s collection. My original idea was to attach colored fabric to my dogs’ harnesses and capture them running in circles; however, Nene did not want to participate, so I was left with one Chihuahua who didn’t want to run around solo. So I improvised. I set the camera for a longer exposure setting, stood above Fidel, and twisted the camera as I took my photograph, blurring the colors around him.

Baxter_Pietro Bellotti
DMA Staffer: Laura Hartman, Paintings Conservator
DMA Pet: Baxter, Bulldog, age 7
Portrait Inspiration: Pietro Bellotti, Old Pilgrim, c. 1660s-1670s
Baxter has always looked like an old man, even as a puppy. He captures the feeling of this painting very well, but he would not cooperate and wear a beard.

Sampspn_Piet Mondrian
DMA Staffer: Maegan Hoffmann, Assistant Manager of DMA Partners Program
DMA Pet: Sampson, American Long Hair Kitty-Snuggle-Study-Buddy-Cat, age 6
Portrait Inspiration: Piet Mondrian, Composition with Large Blue Plane, Red, Black, Yellow, and Gray, 1921
Sampson adores boxes and loves to hang out inside them. When I saw Mondrian’s piece Composition with Large Blue Plane, Red, Black, Yellow, and Gray, I just knew Sampson would love to participate in the work by transforming the flat 2D plane of the work into a 3D box of De Stijl art! Sampson is mostly white and black and gray with pops of color, like the ginger in his fur or the green in his eyes, similar (but not exactly) to Mondrian’s pieces during the De Stijl movement that focused on the use of primary colors and cubist influence. Mondrian believed that “all things are parts of a whole,” and Sampson definitely completes my existence.

animals 2
DMA Staffer: Reagan Duplisea, Associate Registrar, Exhibitions
DMA Pet: Mosey, Florida Brown Dog, age 10
Portrait Inspiration: Cornelis Saftleven, College of Animals, 1655
Mosey was inspired by her four-legged scholar friends in the College of Animals to brush up on her humanities in order to be a well-rounded canine companion. The cat (not pictured despite many attempts) claimed that she knew all that was worth knowing in life and much preferred napping to studying, thank you very much.

danielle 2
DMA Staffer: Danielle Schulz, Teaching Specialist
DMA Pet: Bella (Lab/Collie mix), Ruby (Lab/Retriever/Pointer mix), Kitty (Bombay), ages 2, 3, and 4
Portrait Inspiration: Louise Nevelson, Diminishing Reflections VIII (Left & Right), 1964
I wanted to play upon the animals’ color, as all three are entirely, or almost entirely, black. It therefore seemed fitting to take inspiration from sculptor Louise Nevelson’s monochromatic, abstract wooden forms.

Annie_Figure of a woman
DMA Staffer: Fran Baas, Associate Conservator
DMA Pet: Annie, Domestic Shorthair (lovely gray-white with captivating golden eyes), age 4
Portrait Inspiration: Figure of a woman, Roman Empire, 2nd century A.D.
Again, a cat is a very difficult model. Annie wanted nothing to do with the soft drapery chosen to mimic the exquisitely carved marble drapery depicted in the ancient Roman figure of a woman. Like the noblewoman depicted, Annie typically radiates nobility and grace (until you try to cover her with fabric).

emma
DMA Staffer: Emma Vernon, Manager of the DMA Partners Program
DMA Pet: Semiramis (Mirie), Shih-tzu/Poodle, age 10 months
Portrait Inspiration: William Wetmore Story, Semiramis, designed 1872, carved 1873
I chose Semiramis because she is Mirie’s namesake! I’ve always loved this gorgeous statue and the thrilling story of the ambitious Assyrian queen it represents. Mirie is still very much a puppy, so she may not be as graceful, but she certainly has the moxie!

Visit the DMA’s collection galleries, included in free general admission, to find inspiration for your pet’s high fashion and share your photos: #DressYourPetUp.

Images: Marlo Pascual, Untitled, 2009, digital C-print, Dallas Museum of Art, Lay Family Acquisition Fund, © Marlo Pascual; Fernando Campana, Humberto Campana, Banquete chair with pandas, designed 2006, stuffed animals on steel base, Dallas Museum of Art, DMAamfAR Benefit Auction Fund; John Singleton Copley, Woodbury Langdon, 1767, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.; John Singleton Copley, Sarah Sherburne Langdon, 1767, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.; Nandi, South India, c. 13th century, granite, Dallas Museum of Art, the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund and gift of David T. Owsley via the Alvin and Lucy Owsley Foundation; Georgia O’Keeffe, Grey Blue & Black—Pink Circle, 1929, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation, © The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Pietro Bellotti, Old Pilgrim, c. 1660s-1670s, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation; Piet Mondrian, Composition with Large Blue Plane, Red, Black, Yellow, and Gray, 1921, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mrs. James H. Clark, © 2015 Mondrian/Holtzman Trust, c/o HCR International Washington DC; Cornelis Saftleven, College of Animals, 1655, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation; Louise Nevelson, Diminishing Reflections VIII (Left & Right), 1964, painted wood, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, anonymous gift, © Estate of Louise Nevelson/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Figure of a woman, Roman Empire, 2nd century A.D., marble, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cecil H. Green; William Wetmore Story, Semiramis, designed 1872, carved 1873, marble, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Morynne and Robert E. Motley in memory of Robert Earl Motley, Jr., 1942-1998

Amanda Blake is Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences and Kimberly Daniell is the Manager of Communications and Public Affairs at the DMA.

Red, White, and Blue

Some visitors to the DMA may have taken our self-guided tour Seeing Red, and loyal readers of our blog may remember a post we did back in December about works in our collection that are white. So while we have not focused on the color blue yet, we thought this would be a good day to share with you a few works in our collection that feature red, white, and blue.

Striped chevron bead, Drawn glass, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of The Dozier Foundation

Childe Hassam, Flags, Fifth Avenue, 1918, Watercolor, Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund, in memory of Mrs. George Aldredge

Anne Vallayer-Coster, Bouquet of Flowers in a Blue Porcelain Vase, 1776, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund and gift of Michael L. Rosenberg

Rufino Tamayo, El Hombre (Man), 1953, Vinyl with pigment on panel, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association commission, Neiman-Marcus Company Exposition Funds [credit line published in 1997 DMA Guide to the Collections: Dallas Museum of Art, commissioned by the Dallas Art Association through Neiman-Marcus Exposition Funds]

Piet Mondrian, Composition with Large Blue Plane, Red, Black, Yellow, and Gray, 1921, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Mrs. James H. Clark

Yves Tanguy, Apparitions, 1927, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., in honor of Nancy O’Boyle

Jean Antoine Theodore Giroust, Oedipus at Colonus, 1788, Oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund

James Brooks, Quand, 1969, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation Incorporated

Wassily Kandinsky, Boating (from Sounds), 1907-1911, 1913, Volume with thirty-eight prose poems and twelve color and forty-four black-and-white woodcuts, Dallas Museum of Art, Centennial gift of Natalie H. (Schatzie) and George T. Lee

Stacey Lizotte is the Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services.

Boogie-Woogie April – Jazz Appreciation Month

April celebrates one of the most joyous and “most American” music styles—jazz. In fact, jazz is such an important part of American culture that a whole decade in American history, the 1920s, has come to be known as the Jazz Age. In the DMA spaces, you can find connections between the visual arts and jazz every week on Thursday evenings from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. during Jazz in the Atrium.

In our newest exhibition, Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties, you can see the work of jazz admirer and Harlem Renaissance leader Aaron Douglas. In Charleston (which references Paul Morand’s novel Black Magic), Douglas depicts the jazz scene set within the African community, in which the genre has part of its roots. Commenting on a later work, Douglas equated the figures in the painting with different types of music, describing the saxophone player as a representation of jazz and “Songs of Joy and the Dance.”

Aaron Douglas, "Charleston," c. 1928, gouache and pencil on paper board, North Carolina Museum of Art

Douglas’s contemporary and fellow jazz enthusiast Stuart Davis is featured in the American galleries with a work that, although subtly, also reveals the rhythms of the Jazz Age. Not only do the bold colors and forms of Electric Blub reflect the energy of the time, but the subject speaks to the modernism and industrialization of 1920s America.

Stuart Davis, "Electric Bulb," 1924, oil on board, Dallas Museum of Art, Fine Arts Collectible Fund, 1988.59, © Estate of Stuart Davis / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Nearby, a stunning portrait sculpture of the jazz musician Huddy “Leadbelly” Ledbetter serves as an appropriate transition in our jazz-inspired tour between Davis’s painting and William Waldo Dodge’s Skyscraper cocktail shaker with cups. Developing rapidly in the 1920s, the skyscraper became, together with jazz, a symbol of a free, modern America, inspiring designers across the country.

Michael G. Owen, Jr., "Leadbelly," 1943, black serpentine, Dallas Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Gooch Fund Purchase Prize, Twelfth Annual Texas Painting and Sculpture, 1950-1951, 1950.91

William Waldo Dodge, Jr., “Skyscraper” cocktail shaker with cups, c. 1928-1931, silver, Dallas Museum of Art, The Patsy Lacy Griffith Collection, gift of Patsy Lacy Griffith by exchange, 2008.48.1-12

But if the connections we’ve made so far are too obvious or the works too representational for your taste, don’t worry; make your way toLevel 3, where you will find works by abstract artists and jazz lovers Jackson Pollock and Piet Mondrian.

With improvisation being a key feature of jazz music, some argue that the process in this genre is at least as important as (perhaps more than) the end result. The same can be said of Pollock’s and Mondrian’s work. Pollock moving around his canvas as he pours the paint can be compared to a jazz musician improvising during a performance; both represent similar artistic expressions and ultimate celebrations of their respective arts.

Jackson Pollock, Cathedral, 1947, enamel and aluminum paint on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard J. Reis, 1950.87 © Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Piet Mondrian, "Place de la Concorde," 1938-1943, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation, 1982.22.FA © 2012 Mondrian/Holtzman Trust c/o HCR International Washington DC

A big fan of boogie-woogie and a seeker of balance and equilibrium, Mondrian used his intuition to place and arrange the lines in works such as Place de la Concorde—much like a jazz musician would intuitively improvise on his instrument. In fact, Mondrian identified with jazz and boogie-woogie so much that he once said:

“True boogie woogie I conceive as homogeneous in intention with mine in painting: destruction of melody, which is the equivalent of destruction of natural appearance, and construction through the continuous opposition of pure means—dynamic rhythm.”

As you can see, jazz can be a treat not only for your ears but also for your eyes! So come celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month any (or every) Thursday night in April at the DMA!

Vivian Barclay is the McDermott Graduate Curatorial Intern for Decorative Arts and Design at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Mary Jordan is the McDermott Education Intern for Family Experiences and Access Programs at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Discover your DMA Art Doppelgänger!

Have you ever imagined which artist you are most like? Well now is your chance to find out with our new Artist Personality Quiz. On Friday nights during 9×9 you can stop by the Artist Personality Quiz table in the DMA’s concourse and take our 11 question quiz to find out which artist you are.

Start getting in touch with your inner artist with a sneak peek of the Artist Personality Quiz below, and stop by Friday to find your match.

My friends would most likely describe me as:
a. The brooding rebel.
b. The independent bohemian.
c. The laid-back hipster.
d. The charismatic life of the party.
e. The contemplative dreamer.
f. The detailed-oriented planner.

When I am vacationing, you can find me:
a. Renting a cottage on a secluded bluff in the Hamptons.
b. Soaking in the sun and desert landscape in Santa Fe.
c. Relaxing on the beach in Santa Monica.
d. Running with the bulls in Pamplona.
e. Taking a culinary tour of the French countryside.
f. Enjoying the hustle and bustle of Times Square.

Once you discover who your DMA Art Doppelgänger is you will receive a button proclaiming which artist you are. Then stroll through the galleries and strike up conversations with other doppelgängers to discuss how you answered the quiz questions and to find out what you have in common.

Button images (details): ClaudeMonet, Water Lilies, 1908, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation Incorporated, 1981.128; Piet Mondrian, Place de la Concorde, 1938–43, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation, 1982.22.FA, © 2004 Mondrian/Holtzman Trust, c/o hcr@hcrinternational.com


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