And, oddly enough, no one noticed, the Guardian reports.
A painting by abstract Dutch artist Piet Mondrian has been hanging upside down in various museums since it was first put on display 75 years ago, an art historian has found, but warned it could disintegrate if it was hung the right side up now.
The 1941 picture, a complex interlacing lattice of red, yellow, black and blue adhesive tapes titled New York City I, was first put on display at New York’s MoMA in 1945 but has hung at the art collection of the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Düsseldorf since 1980.
The way the picture is currently hung shows the multicoloured lines thickening at the bottom, suggesting an extremely simplified version of a skyline. However, when curator Susanne Meyer-Büser started researching the museum’s new show on the Dutch avant garde artist earlier this year, she realised the picture should be the other way around.
“The thickening of the grid should be at the top, like a dark sky,” said Meyer-Büser. “Once I pointed it out to the other curators, we realised it was very obvious. I am 100% certain the picture is the wrong way around.”
In Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, the following exchange takes place:
‘Charles,’ said Cordelia, ‘Modern Art is all bosh, isn’t it?’
“‘Oh, I’m so glad. I had an argument with one of our nuns and she said we shouldn’t try and criticize what we didn’t understand. Now I shall tell her I have had it straight from a real artist, and snubs to her.’”