Mondrian's 'Composition' set to break records at $30m with Sotheby's

One of the defining works by modernist Piet Mondrian, Composition with Red, Blue and Grey, will have collectors competing at Sotheby's on June 23rd, as it appears for the first time in 50 years.

Piet Mondrian Composition Sotheby's
Mondrian's works rarely appear at auction - this is the first time the painting has been offered for public sale

Mondrian's works are considered some of the finest of any modernist artist but are rarely seen at auction, with many housed in museums or galleries due to their importance to western art.

This example was bought by the vendor's father in the 1950s and has been included in some of the greatest exhibitions of Mondrian's work. Its first owner was Harry Holtzmann, a fellow artist and close friend of Mondrian, who became the world's foremost expert on his work.

With strong competition expected from the world's top collectors, Sotheby's have set a £13m-18m ($22m-30m) estimate ahead of the London sale.

The work looks set to become Mondrian's most valuable, with the current record held by a similar piece from the collection of Yves Saint Laurent at $27.8m.

"Classically Modern and pure in form, it is an exceptional example of the seminal period in the artist's career as well as the enduring appeal of the Modern aesthetic," commented Sotheby's Helena Newman.

At the time of the painting's creation, 1927, Mondrian was a Dutch artist working out of Paris. Attempting to escape fascism he moved to London in 1938, but left for Manhattan as the second world war began to take hold.

It was in New York that he was introduced to boogie-woogie jazz music and, inspired by the city's hustle and bustle, created perhaps his most famous work, Broadway Boogie-Woogie.

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