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Piet Mondrian (1872 - 1944)

Lot 24: Piet Mondrian (1872-1944)

Christie's

June 21, 2005
London, United Kingdom

More About this Item


Description

Zeeuws Meisje (Zeeland Girl)
signed with the monogram (top right)
oil on canvas
24 7/8 x 18 7/8 in. (63.2 x 47.9 cm.)
Painted circa 1909

Artist or Maker

Piet Mondrian (1872-1944)

Exhibited

Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, St. Lucas, Twintisgste jaarlijksche tentoonstelling van kunstwerken van leden der vereeniging in het Stedelijk Museum te Amsterdam, April - June 1910, p. 27, no. 486, (on loan from the artist).
The Hague, Gemeentemuseum, Nieuwe Beweging, 1955, no. 48 (illustrated pl. 12).
Arnhem, Schiedam, Leeuwarden, Collectie Straat, September 1959 - January 1960, no. 67.
Palm Springs, Desert Museum, Desert Art Collection, March - June 1985 (illustrated p. 21).

Literature

A. B. Loosjes-Terpstra, Moderne Kunst in Nederland 1901-1914, Utrecht, 1959, pp. 76 and 80; p. 257, no. 9; p. 259, nn. 1,4.
H. Henkels, 'Mondrian in his Studio; Mondrian's vision of himself as an artist,' in exh. cat. Mondrian, Drawings, Watercolours, New York Paintings, Stuttgart, 1980 (illustrated in colour fig. 47, p. 250).
H. Henkels, Mondrian: From Figuration to Abstraction, London, 1988, p. 179 (illustrated).
R.P. Welsh, Mondrian, Catalogue Raisonné of the Naturalistic Work (until early 1911), vol. I, New York, 1998, pp. 445-46, no. A676 (illustrated p. 445; illustrated in colour p. 95).
M. Bax, Complete Mondrian, London, 2001 (illustrated in colour p. 161)

Provenance

(possibly) Dr. J. F. S. Esser, 1910-1946.
Kunstzaal van Lier, Amsterdam.
H. L. Straat, Leeuwarden, until 1960.
D. A. Hoogendijk, Bergen.
Anonymous sale, Christie's, London, 5 December 1983, lot 17.
Richard L. Feigen & Co., New York, by whom acquired at the above sale.
Kirk Douglas, Los Angeles, circa 1984-1990.
Private collection, Long Island.

Notes

Zeeuws Meisje (Zeeland Girl) was painted in the summer of 1909 while Mondrian was staying in the village of Domburg in Zeeland on the North Sea Coast. It is thought that the sitter for the portrait was Adriana Maria (Joane) Wisse, the daughter of Mondrian's landlord in Domburg, the farmer Ko Wisse, whom Mondrian also painted at this time and whose portrait (Zeeuwse Boer ) is now on loan to the Haags Gemeentemuseum.

The paintings that Mondrian made in the summer of 1909 were all informed by an experimental Divisionism and a heightened intensity of colour. A long time devotee of Theosophy, Mondrian had become a fully paid-up member of the Theosophical Society in May 1909. At the core of Theosophical belief is a spiritual sense of the infinitude of the universe and a holistic vision of the inherent union between all material phenomena. The progress of Mondrian's art can often be seen as a search to expose this inherent union through his art. In Domburg he was drawn particularly to the monuments of the village and its surrounding sand dunes. In his paintings of these Mondrian employed and developed a luminist or Divisionist technique of splashes of rich colour that, covering both sky and dune or sky and lighthouse, generate an underlying sense of the unity of all matter.

In his two portraits from this period Zeeuwse Boer and Zeeuws Meisje Mondrian's use of divisionist flecks of colour to suggest an underlying spiritual unity between the human figure and its environment is also plain. Dressed in a typical Zeeland costume, this young Zeeland girl who is thought to have been only three and a half years old at the time she was painted, is a picture of wide-eyed innocence. Doused in a deep radiant golden light with star-like flecks of yellow dotted around her and her large spherical scarlet eyes staring out at the viewer, an intense and somewhat mystical atmosphere is conjured by this supposedly simple portrait.

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