Chez Mondrian by André Kertész
Chez Mondrian is a famous photograph by the celebrated Hungarian-born photographer André Kertész (1894 – 1985).
About the photograph
The photograph, taken in 1926, depicts the interior of the Paris apartment of Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. The composition uses a doorway to neatly bisect the frame, with a room interior in the left-hand foreground and the curving banister of a staircase winding out of view on the right.
Kertész himself later described the photograph:
“I went to [Piet Mondrian's] studio and instinctively tried to capture in my photographs the spirit of his paintings. He simplified, simplified, simplified. The studio with its symmetry dictated the composition. He has a vase with a flower, but the flower was artificial. It was colored by him to match the studio.”
In all there are thought to be less than 10 vintage prints of the image in existence, with the majority of existing prints made after 1970.
They are owned by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago along with a number of private collectors.
At a Sotheby’s auction in New York in 2005, a vintage print of the photograph signed and dated 1926 was sold for $464,000 making it one of the most valuable photographs ever sold at auction.
The print was made by Kertész himself on his preffered carte-postale paper, and mounted by Kertesz on a heavy vellum paper stock. It is believed to be one of only two prints of the image presented in this way, with the other belonging to the Julien Levy Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago.
A later, modern signed print was sold by Sotheby’s in October 2007 for $25,000.