White Christmas Roses – ‘fresh from Mondrian’s studio’

October 6, 2020

By Wietse Coppes

Piet Mondrian, White Christmas Roses, 1923, oil on canvas, 25.5 x 18.5 cm, image courtesy Bonhams, New York

Research into Mondrian’s correspondence and writings reveals not just a great deal of new information about the artist’s life, but also concerning his work. That the letters can help with securing attributions emerges from our provenance research into the painting White Christmas Roses, which turned up recently. This work was brought into the auction house Bonhams in New York early in 2020.


Mondrian and De Stijl will be on show from 11 November at the Reina Sofía Museum

October 6, 2020

Not long ago it was announced on this website that the Mondrian and De Stijl exhibition in the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid had been postponed. The exhibition was originally due to open in May 2020, but it was then delayed because of the Corona pandemic. In the meantime a new date has been set for the exhibition, that will now open on 11 November. It is the first substantial overview of the Dutch art movement to be presented in Spain.


Lost photograph from 1928 rediscovered

October 1, 2020

In March 1930 a photograph of Mondrian’s Paris studio appeared in the journal Das Kunstblatt. The photograph shows one of his easels standing almost flat against a wall decorated in the neoplastic style. Because the easel is painted half black and half white, the photograph has been dated to 1928, when Mondrian started adding more white elements to the neoplastic decoration of his studio. In 2012 Wietse Coppes had already suggested that this photograph was made by the Swiss historian of art and architecture Sigfried Giedion, but now the team at The Mondrian Papers has found the actual vintage print in the Giedion archive.


‘What a scoundrel, that publisher!!’ Mondrian talking about X. Harms Tiepen

August 27, 2020

by Laurens Kleine Deters

Postcard from Piet Mondrian to Theo van Doesburg, 15 May 1918, Theo van Doesburg Archive, RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History

In the middle of November 1917, after a long delay, the first issue of De Stijl appeared. It soon became an influential journal under the leadership of the painter and architect Theo van Doesburg and it aimed to bring about a revolution in the arts. A large group of the letters that Piet Mondrian wrote to Van Doesburg and others in this period have been preserved. The letters give a picture of what was going on behind the scenes in the early days of De Stijl, a time that was dominated by conflict with the journal’s publisher, X. Harms Tiepen.


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

by Leo Jansen

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.