Piet Mondrian. Trafalgar Square. 1939-43
Piet Mondrian

Trafalgar Square

1939-43
Not on view
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
57 1/4 x 47 1/4" (145.2 x 120 cm)
Credit
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William A. M. Burden
Object number
510.1964
Department
Painting and Sculpture

In September 1938 Mondrian moved from Paris to London to escape the threat of a German invasion. There he made Trafalgar Square, the first in a series of paintings titled after locations in cities that gave him refuge during World War II. The small, subtly textured planes of primary colors that seem to vibrate within their black perimeters are smaller and their arrangement more syncopated than in many of the artists earlier canvases: color segments expand across two rectangular fields in the larger black grid, and thickened blocks of black function as both line and plane (at lower right, for example). The date "39–43" inscribed on the original canvas stretcher suggests that Mondrian revisited this painting after his flight to New York in 1940 to escape the escalating war.

Gallery label from 2010

Provenance Research Project
This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
The artist; Harry Holtzman (Piet Mondrian Estate), New York, 1944 [1]; sold to John L. Senior, Jr., New York / Danbury, Conn., 1950 [2]; sold to Sidney Janis, New York, May 24, 1957 [3]; sold to William A. M. Burden and Margaret Livingston Partridge Burden, New York, June 1957 [4]; acquired by The Museum of Modern Art, New York (Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William A. M. Burden), 1964.
[1] Lender to the exhibitions Piet Mondrian, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, March 21-May 13, 1945]; no. 50; Piet Mondriaan, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, November-December, 1946, no. 119; Piet Mondrian, 1872-1944, Kunsthalle Basel, February 6-March 2, 1947, no. 4; Piet Mondrian Paintings 1910 Through 1944, Sidney Janis Gallery New York, October 10-November 12, 1949, no. 28.
[2] See Robert P. Welsh, and Joop M. Joosten, Piet Mondrian: catalogue raisonné, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1998, vol. 2, pp. 417-418, B322. Lender to the exhibitions Piet Mondrian, Sidney Janis Gallery, February 5-March 17, 1951; Selections from 5 New York Private Collections, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, June 26-September 9, 1951; Some Businessmen Collect Contemporary Art: An Exhibition of Contemporary Paintings by American and European Artists from Private Collections of American Professional and Business Men, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, April 6-27,1952; 50 Years of Mondrian, Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, November 2-30, 1953, no. 40; 5 Years of Janis, Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, September 29-October 31, 1953 no. 41; Paintings from Private Collections, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, May 31 to September 5, 1955.
[3] See Robert P. Welsh, and Joop M. Joosten, Piet Mondrian: catalogue raisonné, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1998, vol. 2, pp. 417-418, B322.
[4] Ibid.

If you have any questions or information to provide about the listed works, please e-mail provenance@moma.org or write to:

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The Museum of Modern Art
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Pictured above: Vasily Kandinsky. Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 2 (detail). 1914. Oil on canvas, 64 1/8 x 48 3/8" (162.6 x 122.7 cm). Nelson A. Rockefeller Fund (by exchange). © 2009 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

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Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource