PMdB > Paintings > B221



Cat B221
Other S515, O395, B-
BMI 0100
Title Composition with Yellow
Date 1930
Format Oil on canvas
Size (h,w) 46x46.5 cm
Signed lower left in red on black line: P M 30
Location Kunstsammlung, Düsseldorf
Owners 1931 Jan Tschichold (Munich / Basel); 1964 Galerie Beyeler, Basel; 1965 Kunstsammlung, Düsseldorf.
Notes Martijn Le Coultre from The Netherlands has kindly provided the installation photograph, together with the fascinating background information,
During 1930 Hans Arp, together with Gropius and Moholy-Nagy, had devised a plan to raise money for Mondrian among his friends. They would all put up a small sum to buy one of his paintings, which would then be raffled of by lottery. In January 1931 of the 25 participants Jan Tschichold became the winner. When early in 1933 six SA men searched Tschicholds house in Munich, Germany for controversial anti-fascist or pro communist material they confiscated many things. The cleaning lady, who had kept an eye on the Tschicholds, had tipped the SA men of that the Mondrian was "very valuable" and when they searched the house they were very disappointed as -obviously- this modern painting could not have any value at all. Then they thought that maybe the painting was hanging over a wall safe hidden behind it, but in that assumption they were also disappointed. In the end they left the worthless Mondrian behind. When the Tschicholds left Germany later that year for Basel, Switzerland they were allowed to take the Mondrian and their Bauhaus furniture along. The photo was probably taken in Basel during 1934 and shows Jan Tschichold with his signature bow tie. The painting was shown at the Konstruktivisten exhibition at the Kunsthalle Basel in 1938.
Tschichold sold it after the war to be able to buy himself a full Swiss pension. Needless to say that he would have done better in keeping the painting.
According to the family the art dealer from Basel who was also their good friend sold it within 48 hours for double the money ( 2x ca 60,000 SFR) to the Museum in Düsseldorf where it can still be seen today.
US © 2033

B221 Composition with Yellow
Jan Tschicholdwith B221