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Piet Mondrian produced a number of flower paintings across his career, including two different depictions of Chrysanthemums over the period of 1906-1907. This particular version features a cropped composition which leaves out around half of the length of the stem.
The artist would have cropped the piece in this manner in order to allow him to really focus on the head, which contained most of the aesthetic interest for him. In another version, titled Chrysanthemum (1906-1907), he would would allow a greater length to the plant and then feature most of its other elements. Both pieces were produced using oils on canvas, but the finish feels a little different to what we normally expect from this artist. It is more subtle, for example, with lighter tones which do not dominate your eye quite as much as you might expect for something from Mondrian. The leaves which come from the stem are no less bright than the petals of the flower head, for example. The background is an attractive tone of brown which slightly over shadows parts of the foreground, because of how they are so lightly done. Chrysanthemum (1906) does not, therefore, really take advantage of the opportunities afforded from the use of oils, but is still an interesting exploration by the artist who remained curious and ambitious throughout his career. One might even compare this piece to other flower artworks by Mondrian in which he is more bold with his colour tones, see Yellow Chrysanthemums in a Ginger Pot, which came along several years earlier.
The artist would sign and date this piece in his normal fashion, choosing one of the bottom corners to leave the initials, PM. In his earlier career he would actually use more of his initials, and even was known as Mondriaan for a number of years before shortening it as a means to make his 'brand' more international. The painting is almost square in dimension, measuring 41cm in height and 38cm in width. Many of his flower depictions would be portrait dimensions, though they varied in the precise aspect ratio within that. We are unaware of the painting's whereabouts up to around the 1940s but at that point is has been confirmed as being owned by a New York art collector and in the subsequent years it would switch to a collection in Ohio before later being bequethed to The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland (Ohio) in 1985. It remains, therefore, one of the few Mondrian paintings to be found within the permanent collection of an American art gallery and helps to strengthen his name across the US. It has been featured in a number of publications around the artist's career and also made its way into his catalogue raisonne in 1998, confirming the correct attribution to be Mondrian.
The Cleveland Museum of Art , Cleveland (Ohio) is a fantastic location from which to enjoy a mixture of art and antiquities. It is a large building that allows plenty of space for its visitors to relax and appreciate its excellent collection but without being crammed together as some other galleries have done in recent years. As with many US galleries, they specialise most in European and American art, dating back many centuries and the collection has slowly expanded over time through a variety of private acquisitions as well as generous donations by collectors living in the area. Some of the great names featured here include the likes of Francisco de Zurbarán, Frans Hals, Nicolas Poussin, Berthe Morisot and Jacques Louis David, to name just a few. It is fair to say that the US now hosts some of the most important art galleries in the world, and also boasts a strong art scene which continues to add famous art to these institutions all the time.