This major exhibition presents the work of three eminently important modern artists of three different generations: Piet Mondrian (Amersfoort/Netherlands 1872 – 1944 New York), Barnett Newman (New York 1905 – 1970 New York), and Dan Flavin (New York 1933 – 1996 Riverhead, N.Y.). All three dedicated themselves to abstract art, but each did so under very different spiritual and cultural premises. Nevertheless, they all relied on an ascetic pictorial language of color and form as they sought to give art universal significance. The exhibition consists of three distinctive and meaningful presentations, which, though arranged chrono logically, establish insightful interconnections and come together to form a unified whole.
The Kunstmuseum Basel owns central works of all three artists, among them “Day Before One,” Barnett Newman’s first work to enter a museum collection (in 1959) and the permanent light installation “Untitled. In memory of Urs Graf” (1972) that Flavin conceived for the courtyard of the Kunstmuseum Basel (realized in 1975). These works from the Basel collection form the exhibition’s backbone and will be complemented with carefully chosen significant loans from important public and private collections, including the Museum of Modern Art,New York, the Tate, London, and the Centre Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, Paris.