Mondrian museum acquires nine early works by the artist
AMERSFOORT, Netherlands – In the year that Piet Mondrian’s 150th birthday will be celebrated, Mondriaanhuis, the birthplace of the painter in Amersfoort, is acquiring nine early Mondrians created during the period of 1899 to 1908. The works will be on show starting February 15.
The Mondriaanhuis had had the works on long-term loan since 2010 from an heir of art collector Dr. J.F.S. Esser. After the death of this owner, the works could have been lost to the public. Intensive contact with the heirs has resulted in the paintings and drawings being permanently preserved for the Dutch public art collection.
“The fact that the purchase of no fewer than nine works was successful is truly exceptional. We are extremely happy that, with all the support we have received, they can remain in the Mondriaanhuis once and for all. In this way, everyone can continue to enjoy the unique development of this pioneer of abstract art,” said Paul Baltus, director of Mondriaanhuis.
At the request of the heirs, the purchase price will not be disclosed. The acquisition was made possible with the support of the Rembrandt Association (partly thanks to its Mevrouw M. Boersma Fund, its Van Lith-Dumont Fund and its VriendenLoterij Aankoopfonds), the Municipality of Amersfoort, Social Culture Fund De Amersfoortse and the Friends of the Mondriaanhuis.
The young Mondrian
Piet Mondrian (Dutch and American, 1872-1944) learned drawing and painting at an early age from his father and also his uncle Frits. After undergoing teacher training in hand drawing, he moved to Amsterdam in 1892 and studied at the Rijksacademie. His early work, which dates to around 1900, is still figurative and traditional, and his choice of subjects is traditional: farms, landscapes, village views, flowers and portraits. It is only after he leaves for Paris in 1911 that a change to more abstract work becomes evident.
The nine acquired works were part of an extensive collection of Dutch art from the beginning of the last century, assembled in the years 1906 to 1912 by Dr J.F.S. Esser, a general practitioner, plastic surgeon, chess champion, businessman and art collector. Among his patients were the painters Jan Sluijters and George Hendrik Breitner. Through them, Esser also came into contact with other young, talented artists, including Piet Mondrian. At its peak, his collection comprised 800 works, 80 of which were by Mondrian. After Esser’s death in 1946, the remaining collection (the doctor had auctioned off part of it in 1919) was divided among his heirs.
The Mondriaanhuis in Amersfoort is the birth house of Piet Mondrian and the place where Mondrian spent his childhood. After the Mondrian family departed there was nothing on this spot to remind the world of the famous painter until architect Leo Heijdenrijk made it into the Mondriaanhuis in 1994 and opened it to the public. Visitors to the Mondriaanhuis can acquaint themselves with Mondrian’s life and work through paintings, objects and colorful video installations.
Visit the website for Mondriaanhuis.