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This simple artwork was titled Two Chrysanthemum Blossoms and came from the career of Piet Mondrian, a Dutch painter who became much more better known for his abstract displays of squares and lines in primary colours. This alternative work was completed in circa 1899-1900.
In front of us here we find two flower heads, white, with yellow centres. They spread out relatively unevenly and without too much grace. Mondrian then adds some touches of greenery below the flower heads, but without any great refined detail. One assumes that this is not a natural setting, but that the artist has arranged the flowers together for the purposes of this still life painting. It appears to be more of a study painting, in which the main forms are completed but without the precise detail that would require a wider use of tones. The work is also not finished in other ways, such as around the edges of the painting in which the oils simply fade away. Mondrian did sign the piece, though, and eventually it would be sold to a private collector. Since then the piece has been displayed in public galleries and was finally bequethed to a museum in The Hague (Kunstmuseum), where it remains today.
Sal Slijper, Blaricum was the original owner of the piece and his name has been linked to a number of less famous items from Mondrian's career. It is likely that he had some way of connecting to the artist, therefore, and so was able to acquire several different artworks over a period of several years. Most of the less famous paintings from Mondrian, such as his still lifes such as this, but also his portraits and landscapes, have never actually left the Netherlands and have slowly been acquired by some of the major art institutions across this country. It is pleasing to find this to be the case and it was also beneficial in formulating a catalogue raisonne of the artist's work which was completed as recently as 1998. Two Chrysanthemum Blossoms was also exhibited at the Villa Mondriaan in Winterswijk in 2015.
The painting was completed using oil paint on cardboard, which might explain why it does not look in perfect condition today. It was a rare journey into botanical depictions and so offers something quite different to the main body of work with which we are so familiar from this artist's oeuvre. He was particularly experimental and open minded in his early years, still undecided over which artistic direction he wanted to take. It was only later whilst living in Paris that he chose a path with which to stick for an extended period of time and he is likely to have enjoyed the years up to that point, where he could try all manner of different ideas from a selection of different sources of inspiration.