Three Tales

MONDRIAN Mondrian’s closest friend was the Dutch painter Eli Streep, a Jew who was caught in a raid in Paris in 1942 and murdered. Mondrian had escaped by then, via London to New York. Streep and Mondrian saw each other almost every day in Paris during the many years they both lived in the same shabby building on the Rue du Depart by the Montparnasse railway station. They had been schoolboy friends in Amsterdam, and they were among the first young painters to notice the death of the almost unknown Vincent van Gogh, a few of whose strange paintings had attracted them. They even visited Theo van Gogh’s young widow, Jo, to see more of her brother-in-law’s pictures after she had married the painter Cohen Gosschalk. Mondrian seems to have painted the first of his purest signature works around 1921, those with the first slightly thickened black lines, vertical and

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