André Kertész - Untitled (Three stage sets designed by Piet Mondrian for 'L'éphémère est )éternel'
Untitled (Three stage sets designed by Piet Mondrian for 'L'éphémère est )éternel'
3 vintage gelatin silver prints. Each approx. 8.9 x 11.9 cm. The first print with explanatory sketch in ink by Piet Mondrian on the verso. - The prints with traces of usage and slight oxidation mirroring, some of the edges irregularly trimmed and with small losses (in places)..
In 1926, Mondrian designed three neoplastic stage designs for his friend - who later became his biographer - the art critic and artist Michel Seuphor for his play 'L'Ephémère est éternel', photographed by André Kertész. The wooden models themselves are considered lost since 1934. The Stedelijk van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven had them reconstructed in 1964, based on Kertész's photographs and Michel Seuphor's notes. It is interesting to note that the colour fields on Mondrian's own sketch presented here differ to those in the reconstruction of the models from 1964, which are based on the notes of Michel Seuphor - created from memory. (1) For the first time, the actual colouring of the stage designs can be reconstructed on the basis of this sketch by the artist, previously unknown to research.
The young Kertész had only just come to Paris from Hungary in autumn 1925 and quickly established himself in the circle of a group of like-minded artists, some of whom lived there in exile. The Dutchman Piet Mondrian, who had returned to Paris in 1919, and the Belgian Michel Seuphor were among them. Mondrian invited Kertész to his studio in 1926, where he created numerous studio views and portraits, including some of his most famous photographs, "Chez Mondrian" and "Mondrian's glasses and pipe".
(1) The Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, keeps a copy of the magazine Cinquième saison. Paris 1963 (issue 18) with the essay "L'éphémère et èternel. Thèatre anti-théatre," in which the author Michel Seuphor provides the black and white illustrations of the stage design with handwritten notes on the colouring.
We would like to thank Judith Kadee (Villa Mondriaan, Winterswijk) and Drs Wietse Coppes (Conservator De Stijl archieven/Editeur Mondriaan Editieproject, RKD, The Hague) for their helpful information.
Michel Seuphor (ed.), L'art abstrait. Ses origines, ses premiers maîtres, Paris 1950, ill. p. 119; Michel Seuphor, Piet Mondrian, Paris 1956, ill. 488, 489, 490; Joop M. Joosten, Catalogue Raisonné of the Work of 1911-1944 (Vol. 2), Paris 1998, cat. B178 with 1 ill. (detail); Anne de Mondenard, L'Odyssée d'une icône. Trois photographies d'André Kertész, exhib.cat. Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, Arles 2006, ill. p. 22