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New York City, upside down for 75 years

A bizarre incident is now making rounds in the art world. The incident is about an abstract artwork by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, New York City I. It has been hanging upside down in various galleries for 75 years, an art historian said. Since its been hanging the wrong way for the last 75 years, it will continue to be displayed the wrong way up to avoid it being damaged.

The 1941 picture was first put on display at New York’s MoMA in 1945. It has hung at the art collection of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Dusseldorf since 1980. The longstanding error came to notice of the curator Susanne Meyer-Buser while researching the museum’s new show on the artist earlier this year.


New York City I is an adhesive-tape version of the similarly named New York City painting by the same artist. In the artwork, for the most part, the yellow lines cross those of the other colours but here and there, in a most subtle way, the red and blue lines cross the yellow. Yet this style does not give rise to an illusionary space, the coloured bands over and under lap one another on the surface before the eyes of the viewer.

In a statement to The Guardian, Meyer-Buser was quoted saying that the thickening of the grid should be at the top, like a dark sky. Its about the unfinished and unsigned red, blue and yellow striped lattice artwork. There are many evidence to support the theory as the similarly name New York City, which is on display at Paris’s Centre Pompidou, displays thickening of lines at top, rather than the bottom. One more evidence is a photograph of Dutchman’s studio, taken days after his death which shows the artwork the other way up.


Piet Mondrian was born in the Utrecht region of The Netherlands in 1872. He is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the 20th Century, and a pioneer of the modern abstract style, minimalism and expressionism. As the co-founder of the De Stijl art group and movement, and in search of \”universal beauty\”, he evolved a non-representational form which he termed Neoplasticism.




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