These pages inform about the studies Michael Sciam has done on Piet Mondrian's oeuvre during the past thirty-two years.
Sciam is not an art historian, a critic nor a curator of events. He is an artist; painter, photographer and art theorist.
Artists have been the source of what historians, critics and curators have done decades later. o >

These pages inform also about the reactions of cultured personalities, the public and some museums. Others such as museum directors and curators mostly ignored Sciam contribution. The most eclatant case is that of Hans Janssen, curator at the Gemmentemuseum in The Hague. How does an artist dare to show him what he was not able to see? More on this below.

 

painting explained by a painter

This is what Sciam says about his studies on Mondrian. o>

The following links show the results of his studies:

First essay on Broadway Boogie Woogie (1987-1990). Published on the monthly magazine L'Architettura (September 1991). o>

"An Explanation of Piet Mondrian's Oeuvre" (1987-2006). Book published by Associazione Culturale Nuova (2006). o>

A web site (www.pietmondrian.eu) presenting a digital format of the 2006 revised book (english, german and italian texts).o>

A web site (www.pietmondrian.it) presenting a virtual exhibition of Mondrian's oeuvre (1893 - 1944) examined as an uninterrupted evolution process from figuration to abstraction with some reflections on existential, spiritual and philosophical issues (Italian text). o>

"Mondrian Sehen Lernen" : a sequence of 12 pdf tables explain Mondrian's oeuvre (German text). o>

"Saper vedere Mondrian" : a sequence of 12 pdf tables explain Mondrian's oeuvre (Italian text). o>

"A Lifetime Evolution" : A comparative study of four paintings shows a synthesis of Mondrian's lifetime evolution process. o>

 

cultured personalities who welcomed these studies

Michel Seuphor : an artist and poet; a good friend of Mondrian; they worked together in Paris during the 1920's. Seuphor wrote the first biography of the Dutch master in 1956.o>

Bruno Zevi : an architect, critic and professor in history of architecture; a good friend of Frank Lloyd Wright. o>

Giulio Carlo Argan : an art historian and professor of modern art at the university of Rome. o>

Joop M. Joosten : an art historian; research curator emeritus at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, co-author with Robert Welsh of the Catalogue Raisonée of Mondrian's oeuvre. Mr. Joosten said: "I think the way you approach Mondrian's work is a substantial contribution to the exploration of the significance of Mondrian's work". o>

Italo Tomassoni : an art historian and critic, he has published an essay on Piet Mondrian in 1968. o>

In April 2009 Sciam has sent an extract of his studies on Mondrian to the Fondazione Filiberto Menna in Salerno (Italy).
Sciam has had Menna as professor at the university of Rome. Among others, Menna wrote a beautiful book on Piet Mondrian.
Sciam attended with him a course called "Istituzioni di Storia dell'Arte" and passed the examination discussing Mondrian.
Unfortunately he died at the age of 62 before he could see the results of Sciam's studies.

Others were thankful but did not say much. Visitors to the above listed web pages found them very interesting and asked for paper copies; the same happened with people attending seminars and lectures Sciam has given throughout the years in Italy, Germany, United States and Israel.

 

some feed-backs from the public

People Sciam was able to meet at seminars and lectures he has held in Germany, Italy, USA and Israel or just unknown people around the world showing interest after consulting some of the above listed web pages. o>

 

the acknowledgement of some museums

The Stedelijksmuseum, Amsterdam NL, has included a documentation of Sciam's studies in their library. o>oo

The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, has included a documentation of Sciam's studies in their digital archive. o> oo

NYC MoMA has included Sciam's studies in their Library, Archives and Study Centers o>

So did the Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo NL. o>

Die Neuenationalgalerie in Berlin, das Kunsthaus Zürich, the Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Rome have acknowledged.

 

and the miserable reactions of other museums

The Gemeentemuseum in The Hague is prejudicially not interested in Sciam's contribution. o>

The director at the Mondriaanhuis, Amersfoort, NL is not interested in learning more about Piet Mondrian. o>o in progress

The Museum of Modern Art, NYC, has recently refused to consider Sciam's explanation of Broadway Boogie Woogie.o>o i. p.

Museum Wiesbaden did not even bother answering. They were having a Mondrian exhibition organized together with the Gemmentemuseum of The Hague. Directors and curators are behind one another but, of course, it is not a "museum mafia". o>o i. p.

Kaiser Wilhelm Museum Krefeld, which owns some paintings by Mondrian, never answered either.
This museum is presently undergoing a judiciary cause involving a supposedly misappropriation of four Mondrian's paintings.
Another example of the poor sense for ethics some directors and curators have. o>o i. p.

Piet Mondrian was a painter and, for those who can see, the core of his thought unveils through forms and colors.
Believing in a social and didactic role of art, the artist dedicated his oeuvre "aux hommes futures" (to future mankind). In order to explain his new vision of reality Mondrian wrote some texts. If museums such as the NY MoMA explain Broadway Boogie Woogie as a representation of "new york city traffic and broadway lights", I am afraid we still have a long way to go before visitors to that museum and the public in general will be given a chance to understand what Piet Mondrian has really done.

 

Why does all of this this happen? Christian Grote asked Michael Sciam:

 

MS: Well, there are many reasons.. The first which comes to my mind is that museums are today managed like business companies.
A museum director is very often someone whose main function is not much to improve the knowledge and understanding of art but, rather, to improve the number of visitors and increase the turnover of the company he works for. It is just enough to make visitors believe they have been part of a great event. Mr. Paolo Colombo, who used to manage the MAXXI in Rome, said once to me: "it does not matter whether the public really understands."

 

CG: I see but, nevertheless, people who manage museums have studied art history at universities.


MS: This is correct and this is often the reason why they know everything about letters and dates but show limited abilities when it comes to see and explain painting for what painting really is, that is to say, forms and colors. Forms and colors which can become a great deal of content like for instance, in the case of Mondrian. Most of them look at paintings without really seeing. They have got a degree, may have passed a state examination to become a public officer, reach a position and get well paid by the end of the month.
We should not forget that many museums, especially in Europe, are paid with public money.

 

CG: And you think the fact that they are "public officers" prevents them to be cultured people?

 

MS: Cultured people? We should first agree on what does "cultured" mean. Just to make an example: Alfred Barr Jr. (former director at NYC MoMA) was a cultured person. I am afraid that the present director of that museum cannot be defined as such.

Paul Cézanne said: "Art is like a religion, its goal is to elevate thought". Light-years away from the north-american mentality.

Today`s directors and curators do not perceive culture and especially art as a mean to open minds and elevate thought. They couldn't care less about spiritual issues. Their enthusiasm is for glamour and revenues. It is a sort of virus which has contaminated today's society. You find the same level of greedy superficiality in politics, finance, media etc. Private interest and the cult of personality prevail today on the common interest.

Art shows that we are all parts of a much wider "design" where each individuality is no longer so important as some think.
Mondrian said: "until man will be dominated by his fleeting individuality instead of cultivating his essence, which is universal, he will look for and find his own person only."

Each artist adds a single ring to an endless chain we are all part of. Scholars, professors, directors and curators should have this attitude. For the sake of art and progress of thought we should be able to share our findings and knowledge. When I sent out the results of my studies to Seuphor, Zevi, Joosten, Argan, they reacted immediately expressing gratitude and sharing their view on them. Unfortunately these kind of great minds are no longer available on today's public scene.

 

CG: Okay, but you have to deal with what is available today. Moreover, these people have all the visibility they want and the power of the media whereas you have "only the power of ideas"... And in this kind of reality If you do not get along with them you are out of the games..

 

MS: You have used the right word: "games". That's what you have to face when you approach this kind of people. I am not the first and probably not the last one who has to deal with such devious manners. Think of all the great artists who found obstacles on their way.
Albert Einstein said: "Great spirits always encountered encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds".

You know what most disturb me about all of this? Not only I had to improve their job but I also have to waste my time explaining to them the reasons why I had to do that. I have to show them how, where and when they have missed the point and therefore did not properly fulfill their duty...

 

CG: Well, they were probably not always able to..

 

MS: Yes and they seem to forget that it could be worth every once in a while listening to what some artists have to say about art. After all Piet Mondrian was an artist, not an art historian, critic or curator. These people are very well paid; I am not and I have to teach them how to see. This would be okay with me if they would at least open their mind. What is not okay is that they use their power to censor my work and prevent people to know about their inabilities and most important to learn more about Mondrian's oeuvre.

 

CG: Well, let me tell you.. it is somehow naive of you to expect they will admit their mediocrity. They do not share the passion you have when you talk about Mondrian and art in general. They are not artists. They can be defined as cultural employees... They cannot fully understand what art is all about. At the end they are not different from their predecessors who refused Piet Mondrian access to the Prix of Rome. However, time plays in your favour... As usual with real artists.
You paint.. Don't you? And you write as well about art... And your writings disturb critics and curators.. You are not the first and most likely you will not be the last artist who is being ignored by the establishment.. You have great predecessors on your side..
At your place I would only be proud.

 

 

up to date

in progress

 

 

contacts

info@pietmondrian.info

michael.sciam@gmail.com

0049 176 88289157

0039 333 2631288