In 1900 Mondrian had already written an important page in the artistic development of Modernism. This claim was confirmed in 2017, by the discovery of a Mondrian’s original manuscript in Cologne, where one of the most important contemporary art publishers came across a forgotten notebook with his sketches for a pavilion that was never constructed.
There is no evidence that Mondrian visited the 1900 Expo in Paris, but he almost certainly saw photographs of the Dutch pavilion. The reconstruction of temples and architecture from the Dutch Indies was in harmony with the spirit of internationalism that characterized the Expo, with the celebration of the new century, human progress and innovation.
Mondrian used to meditate and had for some time been interested in theosophy. He was therefore greatly struck by that vision of a humanity reconstructed by universalist rationality and enthusiastically set about designing a Pavilion of Harmony. The imagined stand took the form of an abstract space where the balance between opposites was achieved through the internal dynamics of the constituent parts.
Many years later, those influences would be the basis of his most radical and celebrated abstract works representing the triumph of Modernism. But the story of Mondrian’s pavilion also involves other greater and lesser figures of history, strange coincidences and grey areas which this fiction sets out to explore. With an inevitable grand finale.