Ian Hamilton Finlay

Luftwaffe - After Mondrian

1976

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Artist
Ian Hamilton Finlay 1925–2006
Medium
Lithograph on paper
Dimensions
Image: 418 x 531 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by David Brown in memory of Mrs Liza Brown 2003
Reference
P11940

Display caption

Finlay makes a visual pun between the black cross insignia of the Luftwaffe, the German air force during the Second World War, and the abstract paintings of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. In particular, this drawing is based on a series of works by Mondrian from 1914–15, entitled Jetty and Ocean. For Mondrian the balance of horizontal and vertical symbolised a mystical harmony. An opponent of the Nazis, Mondrian’s work was condemned as ‘degenerate’. As Germany threatened Europe, he realised that his life was in danger and fled to London and later New York.

Gallery label, July 2008