UvA Talen translates Mondrian's letters for the RKD and Huygens Institute

The Dutch painter Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) is one of the most important artists of the twentieth century and a pioneer of abstract art. He is known as an exponent of De Stijl and, of course, for his unfinished work Victory Boogie Woogie, now hanging in Kunstmuseum Den Haag in The Hague. Since early 2020, the translation department at UvA Talen has been busy translating Piet Mondrian's letters into English. UvA Talen was commissioned to do this by the RKD – Netherlands Institute for Art History and the Huygens Institute for Dutch History; it forms part of a project called The Mondrian Papers. The aim of this project is the online publication of the entire correspondence and theoretical writings of Piet Mondrian in the original language (Dutch and French), together with English translations.

Letters of Piet Mondrian

Although it was Mondrian's custom to destroy correspondence sent to him once he had read it, those of his own letters that still remain constitute an important source for academic research into the life and work of the artist. Thus far, some 1,700 letters to 190 recipients have been collected, and the search continues. 

Collaboration between Huygens Institute and UvA Talen translation agency

The translation team consists of a dedicated translator and proofreader who work closely with our client. Feedback from the client to the translation team is a standard step in the translation process: after receiving our translation the client responds with any comments and questions they may have. The translator processes these, after which the proofreader checks the translations once more. Compiling a glossary and style guide is part of the process as well; this consultative process ensures that we arrive at the very best final result. 

The Mondrian Papers

This is a long-term translation project involving the translation of multiple batches of letters from Dutch (and bits of French) into English. By now, almost 200 letters have been translated, and the work is expected to take a number of years more. You can follow the progress of this impressive project on the website The Mondrian Papers. This site publishes research data and information on the background of the Mondrian Edition Project every month.

More information about our translation services

We are the regular translation agency of a great number of museums in the Netherlands and abroad for whom we translate a variety of documents including exhibition texts, museum information, articles, websites, audio tours and catalogues. Would you like to make use of our translation services in the field of arts and culture? Request a translation quote without obligation online – it’s simple and fast.