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A Sameness Between Us. The Friendship of Charmion von Wiegand and Piet Mondrian in Letters and Memoirs

Book  /  Artists   BrauenMartin   Arnoldsche
Published: 21.12.2020
A Sameness Between Us. The Friendship of Charmion von Wiegand and Piet Mondrian in Letters and Memoirs.
Martin Brauen
Edited by:
Arnoldsche Art Publishers
Edited at:
Stuttgart
Edited on:
2020
Technical data:
200 pages; Half-linen cover; 62 ilustrations and facsimiles; English; 21 x 28 cm
ISBN / ISSN:
978-3-89790-606-8
Price: 
from € 38
Order: 
Website Arnoldsche Art Publisher
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20% Discount for Klimt02 members
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Intro
The memoires of the journalist Charmion von Wiegand and her correspondence with Piet Mondrian provide a key to the hermetic character of this exceptional proponent of Constructivist painting. Together they offer insights into life in 1940s New York and trace the exciting, ambivalent but also inspiring liaison between two artistic personalities.
In April 1941 the American journalist and artist Charmion von Wiegand (1896–1983) met with Piet Mondrian for an interview. From this first meeting with the Dutch painter, who up to that point had been living in American exile for six months, an intense friendship and working relationship quickly developed. Von Wiegand edited Mondrian’s texts and translated them into English, discussed art and philosophy with him, and contributed to the evolution of many of his works, which he created up until his death in 1944.

Notes on Mondrian, von Wiegand’s diary of her encounters with the renowned artist, and the detailed correspondence between the two have now been published almost in their entirety for the very first time. The texts are accompanied by an essay from the editor Martin Brauen, who offers a glimpse into the complex processing of the New York journalist’s legacy and sheds light on the multilayered relationship between her and Mondrian.

In reading her letters and notes, Charmion von Wiegand comes to life as an astute author—witty, erudite, communicative, and remarkably progressive in her social and political views. At first predominantly working as a journalist, she began painting in 1925, having taught herself. Under Mondrian’s influence, her pictures would tend toward the Neoplasticism he represented. Yet it was only after the death of the artist that she dedicated herself fully to painting. At the same time, she became preoccupied with the spiritual concepts of theosophy—as Mondrian and many other artists of classical modernism had. Her strong interest in Buddhism that subsequently developed led her in the 1970s to India and Tibet, where she was received by the Dalai Lama, among others.

The notes that Charmion von Wiegand wrote on her run-ins with Mondrian in her diary from 1941 to 1944 and their mutual correspondence depict a relationship that flickered between burning affection and aloof friendship, tenderness and blunt rejection, openness and reticence. A relationship that has left clear traces in Charmion von Wiegand’s life and work—above and beyond Mondrian’s death.
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