Dutch Moral Modernism

Wouter Vanstiphout 

September 1998. Piet Mondrian’s very last painting was shipped from publisher Si Newhouse’s bedroom to the Municipal Museum of The Hague. The painting is called Victory Boogie Woogie and Mondrian was working on it until the day he died in New York in 1944. Upon arrival in Holland the painting met with an extraordinarily hostile response. What had been the case? The president of the Dutch national reserve had decided to compensate for the devaluation of national identity caused by the EMU, by buying back a piece of indexed national identity: art. He asked advice from the four most important curators, who said: “Buy Victory Boogie Woogie; Si Newhouse might be willing to part with it; this is your chance.” He asked permission from the chancellor of the exchequer and bought the thing. He paid just under 70 million guilders i.e. 40 million dollars i.e. 30 million Euro...[+]

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