This drawing, which has a long and distinguished provenance, is related to a painting of 1905 , now in a private collection. Agrarian landscapes were a favorite subject for Mondrian at this time, who would eventually reduce these natural forms into lines and purely abstract geometric grids. On the verso of this sheet is a portrait drawing of the woman who was probably Mondrian’s financé at the time, an image which was not in fact discovered until the drawing changed hands in 1983 .
Mondrian kept the drawing in his studio where he lived from 1909 – 1911 and it appears on the wall in a photograph of 1912 . Robert P. Welsh, in the catalogue raisonné on the artist, notes: Most remarkably, this drawing in a frame appears as the lowest of three hung on a narrow partition of Mondrian’s Sarphatipark residence… Since it is believed that the artist hung only pictures which were of interest to him at the time, the inclusion of this earliest of the images on display testifies to its continuing fascination as a motif” (Welsh, op. cit ., p. 277 ). By 1912 , this drawing was in the collection of a plastic surgeon named J.F.S. Esser who was the first serious collector of Mondrian’s work, at a time when the artist was forced into teaching to earn his living. Esser’s surgical career had a long and varied path, and he lived in Amsterdam, Vienna, Budapest, Berlin, and France, with a summer home in Monaco, finally moving to the United States in 1940 , where after various speculative investments he died destitute in Chicago in 1946 . Esser’s art collection, which The Netherlands Institute for Art History in The Hague has largely reconstructed, consisted primarily of
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