Cover Pier Mondrian's artwork sells for over $50 million (Photo: Sotheby's)

News from Sotheby's: a new auction record is set for Piet Mondrian with ‘Composition No. 11’ from 1930 selling for USD 51 million

Piet Mondrian's 1930 grid artwork Composition No II broke its own record of being the artist's most expensive painting ever sold. The painting reached a record-breaking price of USD 51 million, which topped its previous USD 50.6 million benchmark last 2015. The record-breaking price was prearranged by Sotheby's auction house with an unnamed buyer from Asia as a way of reducing the risk of selling below estimate. 

Such a high estimate is deserving of a painting that’s so emblematic of a pivotal period in Modern art. “Composition No II is an undeniable masterwork by the artist, bearing the signature hallmarks of Mondrian’s groundbreaking, elemental approach to composition; black lines, forms of primary colours, and geometric precision,” wrote Oliver Barker, Sotheby’s Chairman of Europe, in a press release. “The work hums with an electricity that mirrors the energy of painting in Europe at this time and remains as vital as it did when it was painted nearly one hundred years ago.”

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"A new auction record is set for Piet Mondrian with Composition No II from 1930 selling for USD 51 million. The star lot from tonight’s Modern Evening Auction, Mondrian’s masterpiece was painted at the high point of his career and possesses the balance, harmony and 'life' that drove the artist to create the most daring compositions of the 20th century," Sotheby's said on its Instagram page.

"Here is the mastery of Mondrian: the more these three paintings are observed, even in photographs, the greater the distinctions become and the more off-kilter the viewer feels," it added.

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Composition No II is widely regarded as a cornerstone of contemporary art. When Mondrian encountered Cubism in 1911, the painter was adamant about having a systemised way of "purifying nonessential elements from his art." Eventually, he became aware that Cubism did not accept the "logical consequences of its own discoveries."

By 1913, the artist arrived at the balance of horizontal and vertical elements that characterises his productions in later years. Composition No II is a transitional work between the paintings he made in Paris during the late 1930s and those done in New York.


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