Piet Mondrian. A New Art for a Life Unknown

Original title: Piet Mondriaan. Een nieuwe kunst voor een ongekend leven

Author: Janssen, Hans

Publication Date:

November 2016



Original language and publisher

Dutch | Hollands Diep

Territories Handled

Worldwide excl. Dutch


Art, Biography

Piet Mondrian. A New Art for a Life Unknown

Original title: Piet Mondriaan. Een nieuwe kunst voor een ongekend leven

Author: Janssen, Hans

  • 2 Seas Represents: World Excl Dutch and World English rights
  • English sample available


“The biography ‘Piet Mondrian. A New Art for a Life Unknown’ differs from all previous biographies of Mondrian (1872-1944) through its profound identification with the painter while he was working. We hear Mondrian think, look, search, and finally put the brush on the canvas.” — Trouw

“The fun part of this new biography is that Janssen does not turn Mondrian into an eccentric genius, but a real man of flesh and blood. For instance, it turns out that Piet Mondrian is not good with money and quite vain. He dyed his hair and liked following the latest fashion.”—Telegraaf

“Thorough biography which makes us more familiar with Mondrian as a human being.” — Leeskost.nl

Piet Mondrian is one of the iconic artists of the twentieth century. He ranks alongside Rembrandt and Van Gogh as an international icon of Dutch painting.

Hans Janssen, one of the world’s leading experts on Mondrian, has published a new, revealing, lavishly illustrated biography of Piet Mondrian. In this major new work, Hans Janssen skilfully manages to bring the painter to life.

Hans Janssen presents a vision of the painter and his work that debunks the persistent myths about the artist and reveals hitherto overlooked events and developments that shed a new light on Mondrian’s life and work. With colorful stories about the vicissitudes of his life, and using new sources, insights and analyses, Janssen lays to rest the general picture of Mondrian as a formal, puritanical, obstinate, eccentric man who avoided women. We encounter instead a man who was transported by the American jazz played in the nightclubs of Paris, and had a tempestuous love life.

Meticulous reconstructions of real events allow us to follow Mondrian as he flees the Netherlands and embraces the modern life in Paris. We become acquainted with a man who contemplated and loved both painting and life, and everything about them, who defied conservative attitudes and Nazi terror, and ultimately helped define the modernity of the age in which we now live.

Piet Mondrian is a moving book about an artist who was mad about jazz and boogie-woogie, who had progressive views about love and marriage, desired many women and had numerous love affairs, but who in the end had only one real passion: painting.

This biography is the product of a deep fascination with and admiration for the work of one of the Netherlands’ greatest painters. Janssen considers this exceptional artist in an accessible way, on the basis of individual works of art, rather than complex art historical theories. He explores the act and technique of painting in relation to the spiritual, half-glimpsed narrative meanings hidden in Mondrian’s work, and shows how this connection relates to the remarkable twists and turns in the life and art of this extra- ordinary man.

  • More than 300 illustrations of his life and work
  • Major Mondrian exhibition in The Hague in summer 2017
  • Film documentary in the pipeline