Of all the photographs Kertész created in Mondrian's home and studio, no other view suggests the intimate, spiritual relationship between the painter and his environment as unmistakably as the radiant interior study, Mondrian's Studio. Where Chez Mondrian conveys a physical and tactile sensation (one can almost hear the sound of shuffling footsteps, breaking the silence on the smooth floor planks), the studio is a sensation of light and organized forms. Remarkably, the image was made during his first visit to the painter's home. With barely more knowledge than an introduction, Kertész sensed immediately the soul of the painter. It is perhaps the most spiritually endowed photograph Kertész created.
In his Mondrian: Life and Work, Michel Seuphor recalled with fondness the memory of visiting the painter at 26, rue du Départ. With Seuphor as his guide, Kertész must have experienced a similar state of revelation as he found his way through the painter's home. "How many times have I climbed the dark, winding, ill-smelling stairway up to the third floor! In the center of the brown, painted door was Mondrian's visiting card. Opposite the door, a dark hole: the water closet. Next to the door, a dirty window looked out on a sad courtyard with crumbling walls. This door opened into a small room, half bedroom and half kitchen. Near a window...Mondrian kept his little gas burner, and all around, within arm's reach, were his cooking utensils and a few narrow shelves for supplies. But, as a rule, the visitor saw nothing of all of this; a skillful use of curtains formed a corridor, which led him toward the studio; this he entered after climbing five or six steps in the dark. Then everything changed. The room was quite large, very bright, with a very high ceiling. Mondrian had divided it irregularly, utilizing for this purpose a large black-painted cupboard, which was partially hidden by an easel long out of service; the latter was covered with big gray and white pasteboards. Another easel rested against the large rear wall whose appearance changed often, for Mondrian applied to it his Neo-Plastic virtuosity. The second easel was completely white... I often surprised Mondrian there, armed with a ruler and ribbons of transparent paper... He had two large wicker armchairs, also painted white, and on the scrupulously clean floor, two rugs, one red, the other gray. Such was the studio where Mondrian lived for thirteen years, where he received so many visitors, where he painted his most "classical" works, the ones most justly admired, and where he also suffered a great deal from solitude, illness, poverty." (op. cit., pp. 158-60).
Approximately five vintage prints of this image are known to exist including the lot offered here. These include prints in: the Thomas Walther Collection (carte postale, unmounted); ex-collection, Jedermann, Inc., carte postale, trimmed and mounted to vellum); an American collection (carte postale, unmounted, provenance: Sotheby's, London, 8 May 1992, lot 264); the Metropolitan Museum of Art, (ex-collection, Piet Mondrian. In addition, there is a horizontal variant also in the collection). It should be noted that these may include images in different cropped states (c.f., Phillips, et al., Of Paris and New York, p. 262, cat. no. 23).