PROPERTY FROM THE TREMAINE COLLECTION Emily and Burton Tremaine Sr. formed a collection that stands in equal stature alongside the great American 20th Century collections of Victor and Sally Ganz, Robert and Ethel Scull, Agnes Gund, John and Dominique De Menil, David Rockefeller, and Phillip Johnson. Emily, who grew up in Los Angeles, drew inspiration from her friends, the early LA collectors Walter and Louise Arensberg and Edward G. Robinson. She was cool, analytic and deliberate, a perfect compliment to her husband's decisive yet whimsical sensibility. Emily played an ideal Plato to Burton's joyous Bacchus. Together they assembled a totemic summation of 20th century art, worthy of a stand-alone museum by today's standards. By 1948 Emily and Burton had formed a comprehensive collection of 20th century geometric abstraction. They could have stopped there but their nature was to continue to define the avant-garde. It was in late 1944 that Emily first saw the painting that she immediately recognized would become the lynchpin of the collection: Victory Boogie Woogie (1942-1944). Piet Mondrian had nearly completed his last painting, and masterpiece, before his death in February 1944. Emily immediately arranged for its purchase. At $8,000 the couple had extended themselves vastly beyond any previous purchase. Though other works in the collection may have had roots that ran deeper art historically, such as Emily's first purchase of Georges Braque's Black Rose (1924), or Pablo Picasso's Woman with a Fan (1911-1918), or Victory's most direct antecedent, Robert Delaunay's unframed masterpiece Premiere Disque (1912), it was Victory Boogie Woogie that was the bridge between the first and second halves of the 20th Century. In his vibrant and active composition, Mondrian purified and distilled all that came before him and set the stage for successive generations to come. Emily was so certain of the Victory's profound worth and so convinced that 'it belongs to the world' that she and Burton loaned it through the 1950's and 1960's to the Museum of Modern Art in order for it to be accessible to young artists. Seeing its influence especially on the works of Mark Rothko and Ad Reinhardt (and Barnett Newman, measured compositional control of Franz Kline, and Jackson Pollack), Emily contended years later that Mondrian actually had been the prime mover behind Abstract Expressionism, the dominant art movement of the late 1940's and 1950's: "Ad Reinhardt told me that he, Pollock, and others saw that painting in the museum of Modern art all those years. He said 'As Abstract Expressionists, we got our courage toward the unfinished, toward the Japanese unintentional theory of drip from this.' Bridget Riley, when she came here from England for the Museum of Modern Art exhibition, The Responsive Eye, came to see the painting. She said she had seen it in Belgium and it was the greatest influence on her work." (K. Housley, Emily Hall Tremaine: Collector on the Cusp, Meriden, 2001.) One can easily trace the lineage from the objecthood of Delaunay's unframed target from 1912 to Victory to Jasper John's Duchampian Device Circle, to Frank Stella's tondo Sinjerli Variation IV (1968), to Robert Irwin's luminous Disk (1970), and with hundreds of works filling in between the lines. The pre-Pop geometry of Jasper John's iconic Three Flags would pave the way for Andy Warhol's Marilyn Diptych (1962), Roy Lichtenstein's iconic I Can See the Whole Room! (1961), and Tom Wesselmann's Great American Nude (1961). As in all great collections, the Tremaines' carefully considered choices reveal dialogs between artworks that continue to inspire interpretation and discourse. Each individual work functions as an essential element in the composition of the collection. In its installation in the Tremaine homes, designed by Phillip Johnson, and photographed by the artist Louise Lawler, the collection itself is elevated to a work of art, an extension of the compositional principles of the masterpiece by Piet Mondrian, Victory Boogie Woogie.AFTER PIET MONDRIAN (1872-1944)
A Portfolio of 10 Paintings: ten plates
AFTER PIET MONDRIAN (1872-1944) A Portfolio of 10 Paintings: ten plates set of ten screenprints in colors, 1967, on wove paper, from the edition of 150, published by Ives-Sillman Inc., New Haven, each with full margins, in very good condition, each framed, (lacking the essay, introduction and original portfolio) Each L. 13¾ x 14¼ in. (349 x 362 mm.) Each S. 17 x 17 in. (432 x 432 mm.) (10)
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