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RKD acquires letter by Piet Mondrian

Last month the RKD purchased a letter by Piet Mondrian from an auction held by the Zeeuws Veilinghuis in Middelburg. The letter is a useful addition to the large collection of archive material about Mondrian already held by the RKD.

Dated 23 January 1939, the letter, which is addressed to an as yet unknown French friend, must have been one of the first letters Mondrian wrote after moving from Paris to London. Mondrian informs his friend, in French, that he is unable to participate in an exhibition his friend is organising.
RKD staff are now trying to establish the identity of the mystery friend, addressed by Mondrian as ‘Mon cher monsieur et ami’.
The letter was purchased with the help of a donation from a former board member of The Friends of the RKD.
Attached to the letter is a photograph of Mondrian from a later newspaper. The portrait was probably glued to the letter by the last owner.

Photo: Henk Platenburg, RKD

In addition to this document, the RKD acquired several other artists’ letters from the Haarlem auction house Bubb Kuyper last month. These include letters from G.H. Breitner, P. Dupont and J. Th. Toorop to the Amsterdam art dealers E.J. van Wisselingh & Co. In his letter Breitner writes about a painting to which, with the owner’s permission, he would like to add something.
The letters had gone astray from the archive of E.J. van Wisselingh & Co. This important archive has been at the RKD since 1999; the recent acquisition makes a welcome addition to the Van Wisselingh material.

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