Foxtail Lily, circa 1909
Signed Piet Mondriaan (ll)
Oil on paperboard laid to masonite
29 1/8 x 39 inches (74.3 x 99.1 cm)
Collection of S. B. Slijper, Blaricum, Holland, no. 759, acquired directly from the artist, circa 1919
E. V. Thaw & Co. Inc., New York, 1964
Toronto, Canada, The Art Gallery of Toronto, February 12 - March 20, 1966
Santa Fe, New Mexico, The Museum of New Mexico, John B.L. Goodwin Collection, March 19 - May 15, 1972
Bax, Marty, Complete Mondrian, Lund Humphries Publishers and V & K Publishers, Blaricum, 2001, p. 439
Joosten, Joop M. and Robert P. Welsh, Piet Mondrian: Catalogue Raisonne of the Naturalistic Works (unitl early 1911), Abrams, New York, 1998, no. A615, p. 405, illustrated
Welsh, Dr. Robert P., Connoisseur Magazine, 'The Hortus Conclusus of Piet Mondrian', 1966, p. 133, repr. 6, vol. 161, no. 647, February
Piet Mondrian (Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan) was intensely interested in the natural world and in rendering both its beauty and its intricacies. During his boyhood he made drawings after illustrations in scientific texts and studied painting in the realist manner with his uncle, who had been a pupil of the Hague School landscape painter Willem Maris. After qualifying as a teacher of drawing in 1889, Mondrian worked as a schoolmaster until 1892, when he moved to Amsterdam to enter the Academy of Fine Arts.
The young artist's earliest paintings were impressionistic views of the forests, fields and rivers of his native Holland. Gradually his style evolved, sometimes reflecting the technique of pointillism, at other times the vivid palette of the Fauvist experiments of Matisse and Derain. Even at these early stages, his art exhibited a tendency toward the geometric forms and primary colors that would mark his abstract style, which emerged after his move to Paris in 1912.
Mondrian painted flowers intermittently during his career. His first exhibition of floral subjects took place in 1898 and in 1901 he presented one of these works to Queen Wilhelmina on the occasion of her marriage. In the succeeding years, especially between 1906 to 1910, he produced a variety of floral pieces in charcoal, watercolor, and oil, a group that comprises a particularly lyrical and evocative portion of his oeuvre. Later, during the 1920s, he returned to flowers, producing another group of drawings and watercolors in a polished style characteristic of that period. He felt some ambivalence about these works, for he was by this time committed to abstraction; yet he found it hard to resist the wishes of collectors, many of whom loved and enthusiastically bought his floral subjects.
The two works by Mondrian in the Goodwin collection, "Foxtail Lily"-an exquisite evocation of this flower in oil-and a related study of the same subject in charcoal are thought to have been created some time between 1907 and 1910. They belong to a series of drawings of this subject produced by the artist during that period. Two similar examples in charcoal, also from the Slijper collection, now belong to the Gemeentemuseum in the Hague.
Property from the Collection of John B.L. Goodwin from the Estate of Anthony P. Russo
Estate of Anthony P. Russo
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