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Mondriaan: the family

Museum Villa Mondriaan is the museum for coming-of-age. The world-famous Piet Mondriaan developed during his teenage years in this villa in Winterswijk. Besides masterpieces by the young Mondriaan, the museum displays works by both established and contemporary artists in their search for their own signature. One thing the artists have in common: like the young Mondriaan, they are all in the turbulent period of their development.

Father and uncle Mondriaan

Today, the name Mondriaan is mostly associated with the painter who would radically change art. Yet the artistic influences of father and uncle Mondriaan are identifiable in Piet Mondriaan’s works.
Frits Mondriaan is the 14-year younger brother of Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan sr. The brothers grew up in The Hague, where their father Willem Frederik Hendrik had a wig shop. When the latter died, Frits took over the shop at the age of 25. A large number of painters, including Hague School painter Willem Maris, regularly visit the shop. This piques Frits’ interest in painting. Through self-study and with the help of fellow artists, Frits makes the painting profession his own. His brother, Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan sr., is the second-oldest son of the family. Pieter attends teacher training in The Hague at one of the first Christian-national schools in the Netherlands. He learns the art of drawing by making designs for wigs in his father’s shop. He also put his talent for drawing to good use in the anti-revolutionary struggle.
Whereas Mondriaan sr. used his drawing talents for political-social purposes, his son Piet jr. concentrated on the autonomous arts. Uncle Frits Mondriaan, a celebrated painter in his time, eagerly passed on the art of painting to his nephew. Not much later, the artistic mindsets between the family members put relations on edge. Piet, for instance, turns away from the traditional art style in which his father and uncle worked. This summer, Villa Mondriaan brings the work of the Mondrian Family to the general public.


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