Nicholas Serota, Director of the Tate Gallery, today announced the acquisition of Church at Zoutelande, 1910, an important early work by Piet Mondrian (1872-1944). The painting is on display at the Tate Gallery as part of the exhibition Mondrian: Nature to Abstraction, which is currently attracting over 1,000 visitors a day. The exhibition has been curated by the British abstract artist Bridget Riley and Sean Rainbird, Curator in the Modern Collection, Tate Gallery.

The acquisition has been made possible by the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Arts Collection Fund, the Friends of the Tate Gallery and an anonymous foundation. The Heritage Lottery Fund have given £1.1 million.

Church at Zoutelande is a fine example of the early work of Mondrian, one of the great figures of twentieth-century art and a pioneer of geometric abstraction. The subject is typical of Mondrian’s work of the period 1908-1911 in which he focused on images from the countryside near Domburg, a resort on the Dutch coast. This particular work however, demonstrates Mondrian’s move away from naturalism to a more abstract, grid-like representation anticipating his later paintings.

It has long been an ambition of the Tate acquire one of Mondrian’s early works, produced during his so called Luminist phase when he was influenced by the method of painting and colour theory practised by the contemporary Divisionist and Fauve artists. The Tate Gallery owns three paintings by Mondrian. The earliest in date is Tree c1913, a Cubist- inspired work, followed by Composition with Grey, Red, Yellow and Blue 1920-c1926, and finally Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue c1937-42, a classic work of Mondrian’s late period. A further work, Composition with Red and Blue 1935, is on long loan to the Gallery. The acquisition of Church of Zoutelande enables the Tate Gallery to represent Mondrian’s work in greater depth and to show how his work is rooted in naturalism and the study of the visible world. It also gives the Tate a group of paintings by Mondrian that is unparalleled in the United Kingdom.

Nicholas Serota, Director of the Tate Gallery said:

Mondrian’s Church at Zoutelande is one of the most important acquisitions made by the Tate Gallery in the last ten years. It will play a key role in telling the story of modern art in the early twentieth century and explaining the move from naturalism to abstraction. The acquisition is a marvellous addition to the Mondrian exhibition but it would not have been possible without the extraordinary generosity of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Arts Collection Fund, the Friends of the Tate Gallery and an anonymous foundation.

Mondrian: Nature to Abstraction, sponsored by AT&T, will be on display at the Tate Gallery until 30 November 1997.

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