Special correspondents: Mondrian and the ‘skull measurer’

August 4, 2020

by Wietse Coppes

Fig. 1 Annie Bruin, Portrait of Alfred Waldenburg (detail), ca. 1912

In our regular feature ‘Special correspondents’ we take a closer look at individuals with whom Mondrian corresponded. This time we focus on an eccentric figure who was well known in the Dutch art world in the period 1910-1920, but afterwards completely disappeared from view: Alfred Waldenburg.


RKD acquires four unknown letters by Mondrian

August 3, 2020
Previously unknown postcard by Mondrian to Arnout Colnot, 1923

At an auction in February the RKD purchased the archive of the Dutch artists’ society known as the Hollandsche Kunstenaarskring. The archive includes four previously unknown letters and postcards from Piet Mondrian. They were written in the period c. 1918-1923 and addressed to various committee members of the Kunstenaarskring.


Mondrian exhibition Museo Reina Sofía postponed

July 7, 2020
Image courtesy Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid

The exhibition Mondrian & De Stijl in Madrid’s Reina Sofía museum has been postponed. It was originally due to open to the public on 13 May, but this has not been possible because of the COVID-19 crisis. The exhibition has been delayed for an indeterminate period. It is hoped that it can go ahead in the autumn of 2020.


Behind the scenes: Mondrian, where are you?

July 7, 2020

In the ‘Behind the scenes’ column we give insights into what our research for the Mondrian Edition Project actually involves. This time we focus on the task of tracing the locations of as many letters and essays as possible to be included in the Edition, and we consider if it is feasible to see all original Mondrian letters.


Piet Mondrian and Sal Slijper: friends for life?

November 20, 2019

The exhibition Mondrian Figuratif, which opened in September at the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris, tells the story of the Mondrian collector Salomon (Sal) Slijper. For the catalogue Wietse Coppes and Leo Jansen, editors of the Mondrian Edition Project, have written an extensive essay based on the surviving letters and other documentary sources, in which they explore the complex friendship between Mondrian and his friend and patron, the collector Sal Slijper. Besides a new and comprehensive description of the friendship, their work has brought to light new facts concerning the origin, provenance and condition of a number of works by Mondrian in Slijper’s collection.


RKD acquires previously unknown letters, postcards and photos by Piet Mondrian

October 5, 2019

The RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History purchased eighteen unknown letters and postcards by Piet Mondrian at an auction in Paris. The letters were to the Remonstrant cleric and collector Hendrik van Assendelft, and to an American couple who were fellow artists. The letters to Van Assendelft contain new information on Mondrian’s stay in the Netherlands during the First World War, when his work underwent the crucial development from naturalistic to abstract. The letters show that Van Assendelft was an important sounding board for Mondrian.


Mondrian’s fascination with the dwarf Doc from Snow White

February 28, 2019

Thanks to a generous donation from the Van Reekum-van Moorselaar Foundation, the RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History has acquired a group of papers – including a Disney postcard – that belonged to the archive of Carel Mondrian. The Foundation bought the archive at an auction in early December 2018 with the intention of presenting it to the RKD. The archive contains several postcards from Piet Mondrian to his brother Carel and strengthens the RKD’s position as an international centre for the study of the renowned artist’s life and work.


RKD confirms authenticity of new portrait by Mondrian

November 23, 2018

The RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History has found a photograph in which Piet Mondrian can be seen working on his portrait of Elisabeth Sophia Maria (Betsy) Cavalini. This portrait from 1901 was recently discovered and was presented by the E.J. van Wisselingh Gallery at the PAN Art Fair in Amsterdam on Saturday 17 November 2018.


RKD launches online catalogue raisonné with 30 ‘new’ Mondrians

March 7, 2018

7 March 2018 – On the birthday of Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), the RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History is launching a digital catalogue raisonné of all 1473 known works by the Dutch master, which includes 30 new attributions. This online publication makes the complete work of Mondrian accessible to a wide audience for the first time.


Les Hollandais à Paris – now on view at the Petit Palais

March 1, 2018

1 March 2018 – In the current major exhibition Les Hollandais à Paris, 1789–1914. Van Gogh, Van Dongen, Mondrian the Paris’ Petit Palais is presenting the French capital through the eyes and hearts of eight Dutch artists i.a. Vincent van Gogh, Kees van Dongen and Piet Mondrian. With the Van Gogh Museum, the RKD – Netherlands Institute for art History conducted research for this exhibition, resulting in important contributions to the catalogue and the digital research tool Mapping Artists.