[UCP Books]: The Afterlife of Piet Mondrian

"This fast-paced, riveting narrative carries a strong punch. That financial considerations play a large role in the afterlife of artifacts probably will not surprise anyone, but the point rarely has such force as when Nancy Troy tracks the commercial forces at work in this case. Smart, fresh, and engrossing, The Afterlife of Piet Mondrian describes the material mechanisms of canonization in all their gritty and lurid detail."—Michael Leja, University of Pennsylvania

US Publication date: 15 March 2014 UK Publication date: 7 April 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0-226-00869-1 Cloth $45.00/£31.50


Dutch painter Piet Mondrian died in New York City in 1944, but his work and legacy have been far from static since then. From market pressures to personal relationships and scholarly agendas, posthumous factors have repeatedly transformed our understanding of his oeuvre. In The Afterlife of Piet Mondrian, Nancy J. Troy explores the controversial circumstances under which our conception of the artist’s work has been shaped since his death, an account that describes money-driven interventions and personal and professional rivalries in forthright detail.

Troy reveals how collectors, curators, scholars, dealers and the painter’s heirs all participated in fashioning Mondrian’s legacy, each for a different reason. She shows that our appreciation of his work is influenced by how it has been conserved, copied, displayed, and publicized, and she looks at the popular appeal of Mondrian’s instantly recognizable style in fashion, graphic design, and a vast array of consumer commodities. Ultimately, Troy argues that we miss the evolving significance of Mondrian’s work if we examine it without regard for the interplay of canonical art and popular culture. A fascinating investigation into Mondrian’s afterlife, this book casts new light on how every artist’s legacy is constructed as it circulates through the art world and becomes assimilated into the larger realm of visual experience.

Nancy J. Troy is professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Stanford University and the author of The De Stijl Environment, Modernism and the Decorative Arts in France: Art Nouveau to Le Corbusier, and Couture Culture: A Study of Modern Art in Fashion. She is available for interviews. Please contact Carrie Olivia Adams at (773) 702-4216 or cadams@press.uchicago.edu


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