Mondrian’s horoscope


Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) was one of the leading pioneers of abstract art in the twentieth century. The RKD holds the largest collection of documentation and archival material relating to Mondrian, including more than 700 original letters and dozens of portrait and studio photographs. In 2012 the RKD acquired part of Mondrian’s private archive, which includes his address book and personal horoscope.

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A strong collection of Mondrian material

The first person to assemble Mondrian documentation in a methodical way was Joop Joosten, who worked as a researcher at the RKD from 1956 to 1970. Joosten set out to compile a comprehensive collection of visual documentation relating to Mondrian’s work, which later became the basis for the publication Piet Mondrian: catalogue raisonné (1998). The acquisition of two collector’s archives, assembled by Hendrik van Assendelft and Sal Slijper, meant that a large number of letters came to the RKD.

In early 2005 the RKD appointed Wietse Coppes as curator for Mondrian and De Stijl. Under the curatorship of Coppes the RKD managed to acquire more Mondrian related archives, including those of Robert Welsh, Joop Joosten, Anna Bergman and Mondriaanhuis founders Leo & Cis Heijdenrijk. The icing on the cake was the purchase in 2012 of part of Mondrian’s personal archive. Over the years the RKD has been able to bring together an extensive and wide-ranging collection of material on Mondrian.

Wietse Coppes is also project manager and editor for the Mondrian Edition Project, which was launched in 2014 by the RKD in collaboration with the Huygens Institute for Dutch History. This ambitious and long-term project aims to provide an online edition of the entire correspondence and theoretical writings of Piet Mondrian, presenting the texts in their original form alongside an English translation. You can follow the progress of the project at

1. Anonymous, Portrait of Piet Mondrian, 1909, collection RKD
2. Mondrian’s horoscope, 1912, collection RKD, Piet Mondrian Archive
3. Mondrian’s horoscope, 1912, collection RKD, Piet Mondrian Archive

Mondrian’s horoscope

One very special item in Mondrian’s personal archive is his horoscope. During a visit to Paris in 1911 Mondrian was introduced to French cubism. Early in 1912 he decided to move to the French capital. Shortly before moving, Mondrian had his horoscope cast by Adriaan van de Vijzel. He wanted to know what the future held in store for him, based on the stars at the time of his birth on 7 March 1872. Besides a summary giving the exact alignment of the stars, the final horoscope, which can be compared with a sample he was given and that also survives, comprises a forecast which runs to almost 50 pages of typescript. At the beginning of the twentieth century such forecasts were not taken as absolutely fixed – individuals might themselves influence their fate. Mondrian made notes in the margin of his horoscope, from which it emerges that he linked certain events to predictions given. Mondrian’s horoscope is currently on display in the RKD’s anniversary exhibition.