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Little Jantje, 1896, private collection

In a classical landscape and in front of a fence of branches stands a little boy with a mischievous look. Piet Mondrian painted this portrait based on a photograph of Jantje. The background is also just a background from a photo studio.

The pictures of Jantje

The story goes that Mondrian made this portrait out of gratitude to Jantje’s parents. His family took care of Mondrian when the painter became ill, possibly due to a childhood illness of Jantje. He also did not have it easy during this time and struggled to make ends meet. It is therefore also possible that Jantje’s parents had Mondrian make this painting to support him financially.

It is not only the story of the painting’s creation that is interesting. Indeed, little Jantje was discovered in 2012 in the program Schatgraven on TV Gelderland. In 2015, the portrait of Jantje was restored in front of the public in the museum hall by restorers from the art gallery Simonis & Buunk. Since then, the sky behind Jantje is blue again.

Watch a video fragment from the series Schatgraven here:


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Travel to Winterswijk

Villa Mondriaan Zonnebrink 4 7101 NC Winterswijk +31 (0) 543 51 54 00
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Opening hours

2 Jan to 31 Dec 2024 Tuesday to Sunday 11am-5pm
All opening hours


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