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Piet Mondrian completed this portrait of a woman in around 1900-1905 as part of a two-sides pendant that also had another painting on the opposing side. On the back was a matching picture of her husband, Carolus Marinus Johannes Willem van Rijnen.
Both portraits are therefore rounded in shape in order to match the format of the pendant. Both also are softened around the edges, giving the atmosphere of time and memory. The lady here is dressed traditionally and smartly. She is captured from the waist upwards, with a modest outfit that is entirely suitable for her age and standing in society. She looks off to our right hand side in a partially side profile. Her hair is grey but tidy and her expression somewhat serious. Mondrian produced a number of portraits up to around 1910 as a means to bring in extra income and then allow him the opportunity to work on personal projects at other times which might not deliver money in the short term. This balance of income against creative desire is a common consideration for most artists in their early years as they strive to build up a long list of suitable patrons. The artist would likely have completed these two portraits at pretty much the same time and then delivered the final pendant during the same period of around 1900-1905.
The relatively wide range in age attributed to this piece suggests that perhaps relatively little information has been found on it so far. It was included within a catalogue raisonne of the artist's career in the late 20th century and so the attribution to his hand is not in doubt. It is likely that this design was handed down through the family of those who commissioned the piece and perhaps avoided any exposure outside of that for historians to record details of it until relatively recently. Several other lesser known paintings from his career have also surfaced in recent years, perhaps as more people become aware of his customary signature as well as the potential value held within all of his many paintings. We believe that this item came up for sale twice in the 1980s in Amsterdam and is now owned by a private art collector who has loaned it to the Mondriaanhuis in Amersfoort.
Louise Charlotte Mathilde van den Bosch is believed to have lived from 1843 to 1907. She was actually born in Pondok Gede (Bekasi). She married Carolus Marinus Johannes Willem van Rijnen in 1863 with this double sided design celebrating their respective lives and also their long running marriage. Mondrian would complete several similar projects earlier in his career, where rounded portraits would be assembled together to create highly prized memorial items that would delight each patron. He did not want to work with portraiture exclusively, but found this genre to be a great way of establishing a strong financial base within his career as his reputation continued to grow.