MONDRIAN – DALÌ: the monographic exhibition

In this episode of the series ‘Iconic exhibitions in the 20th century’, art historian Carel Blotkamp explains that Mondrian’s development was not as logical and self-evident as is generally suggested.
Piet Mondrian

Artist Piet Mondrian, original name Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan (NL,1872—USA 1944) was an important leader in the development of modern abstract art and a major exponent of the Dutch abstract art movement known as De Stijl (“The Style”).

Read more about the artist
Salvador Dalí

Spanish artist Salvador Dalí (Figueras 1904 – 1989) was a groundbreaking icon of the Surrealist movement. He is consired one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. Extraordinarily imaginative, he also sculpted, and contributed to fashion, photography and theater.

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After his death in New York in 1944, Piet Mondrian was not immediately considered a great artist by the Netherlands. Yet his reputation grew in the decades following the Second World War to one of international stature. Art historians and curators, supported by radio and television makers, did their utmost to make his art accessible to a broad public. In this, grateful use was made of Mondrian’s own statement about the path he had taken to reach abstraction. Salvador Dalì, Mondrian’s collegue and rival, needed no explanation; the artist made smart use of the possibilities offered by television, so that an exhibition about his work was a guaranteed success with the public.

Philosopher Jan Bor points out that Mondrian’s paintings are always discussed in terms of (western) neo-platonism, yet his vision on the nature of reality is coloured by a different, non-western tradition of thought. Both speakers profile Mondrian and Dalì in comparison with each other and their argumentation is supported with sources from the history of Dutch radio and television.

Video credits

video made by

Els Hoek: concept – research – interviews – chief editor
Rosa Boesten: research – 2nd camera – sound – editing
Margita van Vugt: research – production – editorial advice

camera: Joris Bulstra, Sam du Pon
music: Jerry Bloem
grading & mix: Danny Cotino, Ting Fung Cheung, Henk-Jelle de Groot - Any Colour you like

special thanks to: Carel Blotkamp, Jan Bor, Saskia Bos, Aukje Dekker, Zoro Feigl, Lily van Ginneken, Sanneke Huisman, K. Schippers and Ruurd Blom

2 series

  • Iconic exhibitions in the 20th century

    A five part video series about ‘Iconic exhibitions in the 20th century’. Key figures in the art scene like Carel Blotkamp, Sanneke Huisman and Zoro Feigl talk about the significance of legendary exhibitions like Moving Movement in the Stedelijk Museum (1961), the Mondrian exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum (1966) and Sonsbeek beyond law and order (1971).

  • 100 years of De Stijl

    In 2017, the Netherlands is celebrating the De Stijl, the iconic artistic movement based around straight lines and primary colours. De Stijl artists turned their hands to painting and sculpture, architecture, industrial design, typography and even to literature and music. Museums and art institutes throughout The Netherlands organise exhibitions and many other inspiring events about De Stijl to celebrate this fact.