Mondrian's Friends - the Early Years

Paris I - Holland & De Stijl - Paris II - London - New York - bottom - up

Mondrian began to draw and paint at an early age. He obtained instructions and lessons from his father, from his uncle: the painter Frits Mondriaan, and from the Doetichemse painter Jan Braet von Ueberfeld. For three years attended the painting classes held by the Rijks academie in Amsterdam under August Allebé. At the turn of the century he worked in the neighbourhood of Amsterdam, at Amstel, Gein (often together with Simon Maris) and Vecht, among other places, and also on a few occasions in Brabant for a short time. He painted landscapes particularly in the style of the Hague and Amsterdam impressionists and admired Breitner. In 1907, Mondrian worked the entire summer at Oele near Hengelo in Overijssel with the painter Hulshoff Poll. In 1908 he probably stayed for a short time in Domburg. He knew and admired Jan Toorop and became friendly with Jan Sluyters. At the beginning of 1909 he exhibited together with Cornelius Spoor and Jan Sluyters at the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum.

Frits Mondriaan

The portrait of Frits was drawn by Mondrian in 1898.
Frits Mondrian, Willows and Cows
Frits Mondrian
Willows and Cows
gouache 46.3 x 32.5 cm

Jan Braet von Ueberfeld

Information on von Ueberfeld is difficult to find. The only reference I can find on the web (link) accompanies this illustration, translated by Google as:

Who can help me with information on Jan Braet von Ueberfeld will have my gratitude. The exhibition is a leaf from the book that he and Valentine did Bing: "Dutch kleederdragten, drawn from nature." (1807 born in Langdon, died 1894 in Doetinchem). The man is in any study of Piet Mondrian as one of the instructors of the young Peter when he lived in Winterswijk. The collection also contains no works by artists who have been active recently in Doetinchem. I miss working example of Jos Klaver and Theo van Koot.

The author of the page seems to be having similar problems.
von Ueberfeld
Lithografie uit V.Bing / J. Braet von Uberfeld,
Nederlandsche kleederdragten, naar de natuur geteekend.
August Allebé

Art by Mr Allebé is available on the net, but the only information I can find on him is his dates.
Visit to a Museum, 1870

A peasant girl and child by a well in a farmyard
Maris and Mondrian at a bullfight, Spain, 1901
Simon Maris

Maris was a painter and friend of Mondrian. They frequently painted landscapes together and in 1901 visited Spain. There are pictures of Maris in the biography section here.
Two young girls in the dunes, 1916
Oil on canvas
George Hendrik Breitner

George Hendrik Breitner was born in Rotterdam in 1857. In 1876 he enrolled at the academy in The Hague, Breitner passed the drawing exams within a year. However, he was not enthusiastic about the academy's rather traditional educational principles and within a few years he was expelled for 'unruly conduct'. Later, he worked for a number of years in Willem Maris' studio and helped produce the Mesdag Panorama in Scheveningen. In this early period he was especially influenced by the painters of the Hague School. After moving to Amsterdam, he decided to complete the course at the Amsterdam Rijksacademie. But by now Breitner was a famous artist with his own individual style and his return to college was less than successful.
In 1882 he met Vincent van Gogh, with whom he often went sketching in the poorer areas of The Hague. Breitner preferred working-class models: labourers, servant girls and people from the lower class districts. He saw himself as 'le peintre du peuple', the people's painter. Interest in the lot of the common people, which many artists felt in that period, was nurtured by the social conscience of French writers such as Emile Zola.
Breitner gradually drifted away from the Hague School. In 1886 he moved to Amsterdam, where he recorded the life of the city in sketches, paintings and photos. Sometimes he made various pictures of the same subject, from different perspectives or in different weather conditions. Photos sometimes formed the immediate example for a particular painting, for instance the girls in kimono. On other occasions, Breitner used photography for general reference, to capture an atmosphere, a light effect or the weather in the city at a particular moment.
Breitner painted with a loose brushstroke in an impressionist style. He often worked with Isaac Israels; both painters are counted among the Amsterdam Impressionists. Critics often referred to Breitner's manner of painting as 'unfinished'. But among the younger generation of writers and critics his innovative manner of painting and his Bohemian lifestyle were greatly admired.

The Dam, Amsterdam, c.1895

Oudezijds Achterburgwal, Amsterdam c. 1890-1900

Girl in a white kimono, 1894
oil on canvas
Hulshoff Poll
(1883 - 1957)

Albertus Gerard Hulshoff Poll or Pol
't Gein, near Abcoude
oil on canvas
Cornelius Spoor
(1867 - 1928)

Judaspenning in a jug
oil on cardboard
Jan Toorop
( 1858-1928)

Dutch painter, born in Java. Studied art in Delft and Amsterdam. A grant allowed him to study in Brussels, where he came into contact with the XX group, and became a member in 1885. He befriended Khnopff, Ensor and de Groux. In 1886, he met Whistler in London. He discovered the Pre-Raphaelites and William Morris' views on art and socialism. In 1890 he developed his own version of Symbolism using elements of a Javanese aesthetic. Met Péladan in 1892. In 1905 converted to Catholicism. His themes thereafter became religious and even mystic. His style simplified and he adopted a technique close to Pointillisme, which he put at the service of a fragmentation of the surface of the painting at poles from the measured unity to which Seurat aspired. These fragmentary surfaces relate Toorop to Expressionism.

Desire and Fulfillment, 1893

Picking beans in the morning, Domburg, 1905
Pencil and Pastil

Peasant resting with spade
Jan Sluyters
((1881- 1957))

After a first period fauvist, it was directed towards the cubism before turning to a expressionnism inspired of Van Gogh. It painted scenes of the everyday life, portraits and the naked ones.

[Quaintly translated from French Yahoo, link now dead.]
Larens landschap, 1910
59 x 72 cm. olieverf op doek
Stedelijk Museum

Twee naakten
Litho gesigneerd
19 x 18 cm


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Original page 2001, rewritten October 2010