For the past 77 years, Piet Mondrian’s famous artwork ‘New York City I’ has been hanging upside down.
What’s more, it will probably remain an “everlasting mystery” how it came to that, according to Susanne Meyer-Bueser, the curator of an upcoming Mondrian exhibition in Duesseldorf.
The art history expert came across an old photo of Mondrian’s studio, including the piece, displayed inverted from how it is usually seen.
She turned a cardboard copy of the artwork upside down to examine it. Now she says: “It actually works incredibly well when you turn it upside down.
“Suddenly it has more plasticity, more depth.”
Ms Meyer-Bueser has another argument in favour of her theory.
“If you look at the strips of this painting, they are adhesive strips, tapes – they cannot have been applied in this state in which they are now,” she explained and pointed out that Mondrian must have turned the artwork around while having worked on it, because the adhesive strips seem to be repeatedly attached at the top, pulled down and then snapped off.
“That simply follows gravity,” Meyer-Bueser said. “And in this respect we assume that it is hanging upside down.”
Yet, the artwork is not going to be presented in the newly-discovered intended way at the upcoming ‘Mondrian. Evolution’ exhibition in Duesseldorf, due to conservation concerns.
“If we were to turn it over, it could be that the adhesive strips would come loose,” Ms Meyer-Bueser explained.
“Then we would no longer have a beautiful picture.”