Piet and the Chocolate Factory
|Piet Mondrian, View Near the Weesperzijde, Tower of Blooker Chocolate Factory in the Distance, 1899. The Norton Simon Foundation|
Visitors who don't read the label won't likely know it's a Mondrian, nor how it relates to food. The connection is that it shows the Blooker chocolate factory, the building with the tower just left of center. The factory was considered a marvel of colonialist industrialism, but Mondrian seems to present it as an interloper in the Dutch landscape. The picture's main subject, to the extent it has one, is the polder, a low patch of agricultural land recovered by draining.
|Blooker cacao poster from about 1900. The primary colors recall Mondrian's abstractions|
It may seem backwards to buy a Mondrian landscape rather than an abstraction. In fact Simon did acquire a important non-objective painting, Composition No. 10, in 1966. He sold it in 1982 (to Eugene Thaw), part of his all-consuming quest for a better deal.
"All Consuming: Art and the Essence of Food" runs through Aug. 14, 2023.
|Piet Mondrian, Composition No. 10, 1939-1942. Private collection (formerly Norton Simon collection)|