Museum dedicated to Piet Mondrian acquires nine of his pieces
This year marks the 150th birthday of Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. To celebrate, the Mondriaanhuis purchased nine of his early works for their permanent collection. The paintings and drawings are from the period between 1899-1908.
The museum is located in the home where he was born in 1872. Born Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan, he was taught how to draw when he was a child by his father and uncle. In 1892 he began studying at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam and his early work mostly featured landscapes, village scenes, flowers, and portraits. He changed the spelling of his last name a few years later, and moved to Paris in 1911 where he shifted his focus towards abstract work.
Since 2010, the nine newly-acquired works were on a long-term loan from an heir of art collector Dr. J. F. S. Esser, who died in 1946. However, the death of his heir meant the paintings could have disappeared from public view. Only after extensive communication with the heirs were the paintings and drawings able to be permanently retained for the public to see.
The nine works were taken from Esser’s extensive collection of Dutch art. It includes five oil paintings from between 1903-1907, and a watercolor from 1905. There are two drawings from 1899, one in chalk and one in crayon, and a 1908 charcoal drawing on paper.
"That the purchase of no fewer than nine works has been successful is really very special. We are very happy that, with all the support we have received, they can stay in the Mondriaanhuis once and for all. This way everyone can continue to enjoy the unique development of this pioneer of abstract art," said Paul Baltus, the director of the museum, in a press release.
Esser was a general practitioner, plastic surgeon, chess champion, businessman, and art collector who counted several painters among his patients, such as Jan Sluijters and George Hendrik Breitner. It was through them that Esser eventually met Mondrian. At one time, his collection was as large as 800 works, 80 of which were by Mondrian. What remained after Esser’s death was shared among his heirs.
The purchase price was not disclosed. The museum thanked its donors for help with the acquisitions, as well as the Rembrandt Association, the Municipality of Amersfoort, De Amersfoortse Social Cultural Fund, and the Friends of the Mondriaanhuis for making the purchase possible.
The paintings and drawings will be open to the public from February 15.