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Mondrian in New York

ALTHOUGH HE DID NOT ACTUALLY arrive in New York until 1940, the influence of Piet Mondrian began to be felt by American artists before the great pioneer abstractionist found himself in America, once again in flight from Hitler’s advancing armies. Even before Harry Holtzman persuaded his Dutch friend to leave London for the greater safety of New York, Mondrian’s works could be mo re easily seen in America than in Europe, where the extreme reductiveness and severe austerity of his style was not pleasing to School of Paris taste. Americans, on the other hand, seemed to take to his work naturally. A. E. Gallatin and Catherine Dreier, who arranged to have his work shown in America as early as 1926, collected and exhibited Mondrian’s paintings. During the ’30s, James Johnson Sweeney, Alfred Barr and Miss Dreier (a friend of the wife of Mondrian’s colleague Theo van Doesburg) all wrote in praise

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