Monthly Archives: March 2016

New Painting by Piet Mondrian Discovered

In the depot of Stedelijk Museum (Museum of Modern Art) in Amsterdam a long-lost masterpiece by Piet Mondriaan was discovered. Specialists could trace it back in their books to 1945, when it came from Mondrian’s estate in New York to Amsterdam. It is known by its name Wall Street Boogie Woogie, a painting in the style of Victory Boogie Woogie, but in this case it is finished.

Piet Mondrian – Wall Street Boogie Woogie 1942
Piet Mondrian – Victory Boogie Woogie 1942-1944

It will be on show for a short time only, because the art specialists need to do more research on this unique painting. For all they know it’s one of the first painted panels with acrylic paint. US company Permanent Pigments (nowadays know as Liquitex) came especially for the artist with this paint on the market.

The other well known painting, Victory Boogie Woogie was still done in leftover oils. Wall Street Boogie Woogie can be seen in the main hall of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange on Damrak, tomorrow, doors open at 9 o’clock  (AM).

Architectural Landmarks…

With Quirky Personalities

UK-based animator and illustrator Michael William Lester has developed a series of quirky personalities for some of the world’s most famous structures. The series ‘Character Building’ takes 20 well-known architectural examples from around the globe and brings them to life through animated gifs. <em>‘Good architecture interacts with its surroundings,’</em> Lester describes, <em>‘It gives off energy, sparks interaction and pulls so much life in that the building itself lives and breathes.’</em> From Marina Bay Sands in Singapore — whose three towers are seen lifting its elevated swimming pool — to the Burj Al Arab in Dubai — which swims in the Arabian Gulf — the quirky illustrations personify these landmark structures with humor and wit.

See a selection from the collection below and the full series here.

New Moco Museum Opens With Banksy & Warhol

The new museum of modern and contemporary art at Museumplein in Amsterdam wants to reach a broad international, but also young, audience. During their first show, which opens on April 9, more than eighty works of both artists, including the most recently exhibited 3 by 4 meters “Beanfield” Banksy in 2009. Its an important canvas which typifies Banksy as the activist artist.


This Moco Museum is an initiative of Lionel and Kim Logchies, They arer the owners of Lionel Gallery at Nieuwe Spiegelstraat in Amsterdam. For more than eighteen years this art-couple works with the art works of international art greats. From Picasso to Koons, Hirst to Basquiat. The couple gives Banksy, who has been at the top in the art world, now the unauthorized exposure he deserves.

6WarholDollarSignBy establishing the Moco Museum they can show these masterpieces that normally remain beyond the reach of the general public. For the museum many loans became available from their international network of promoters.

Moco is situated between the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum. It is located in the iconic urban ‘Villa Alsberg’, designed in 1904 by architect Eduard Cuypers, nephew of the famous Pierre Cuypers, who was responsible for the design of the opposite Rijksmuseum. The restyling of the rooms was in the capable hands of Studio Piet Boon.

A Cone Of Sugar

Sugar bakers they were called, the entrepreneurs whom from 1593 in Amsterdam used earthenware funnels to refine cane syrup to the precious white granulated sugar. In their sugar bakeries thousands funnels were lined up, filled with warm syrup, to be placed in special syrup jars to cool slowly.

Sugar cone funnel
Sugar cone funnel

Even before the Christian era, people in India were able to refine the sweet juice of sugar cane into sugar. Through the Middle East this knowledge spread across the Mediterranean where Venice for a long time was the center of the sugar trade and production. In the 15th century the Spanish and Portuguese trade worked on a further spread of the cane production. The story goes that Columbus first took with him cane cuttings on his journey to the New World and in effect has been the source of the vast sugarcane plantations in Brazil and the Caribbean. On these plantations the harvested cane pieces were chopped and boiled and the sweet syrup was shipped in barrels to Europe.

In the sugar bakeries the syrup was further concentrated by heating it in open pans. If the syrup was thick enough, it was poured into funnels. While the contents cooled and crystallized a small hole in the spout let excess syrup slowly settle into the syrup pot below. What remained in the funnel was a cone of sugar. If the cones were sufficiently dried, they were taken from the hoppers, wrapped in fancy blue paper and sold as sugar bread. At home they used special pliers to cut the required sugar of the cone.

Print of a sugar refiner in 1793
Print of a sugar refiner in 1793

In the 16th century Antwerp was the sugar city of Northwest Europe. Because the Spanish blockade of the Scheldt River in 1585, the sugar trade shifted to the north, where merchants from Amsterdam enthusiastically invested in this lucrative market. In 1593 the first confectionery (sugar bakers) was established here, in the middle of the 17th century there were 66 in operation. Each confectioner needed many thousands of these sugar funnels. Therefore, the production of this type of pottery took a flight as equally in size as that of the sugar itself.

In the 17th century four potteries in Amsterdam were specialized in making funnels and syrup pots, three in the center of town and one at Overtoom, just outside the city walls, at the height of nowadays Schoolstraat. The pottery was in business until 1879 at Overtoom. Many hundreds of thousands of these earthenware funnels must have been made here. Yet during archaeological research in Amsterdam so far only three complete copies have been found. The open shape and the thin wall of the sugar-loaf shapes have proven very vulnerable. On the former site of the pottery at Overtoom an intact specimen was found in a waste pit in 2012.

Back To Pong


If you want to play ‘mondripong 1.2′ — it is playable here — It brings together Piet Mondriaan’s primary color palette and geometric lines with one of the oldest virtual arcade games. Kristiana Hansen has modeled the size and position of the elements after the original animated gif, above, but colored the paddles in blue and red for opposing teams, and the pink pong ball yellow. in future versions, The designer intends to improve collision detection, make the game controllable on a phone or tablet, and add a responsive layout so it can adapt to smaller screens.

Tulips From Amsterdam

“When spring comes I will send you tulips from Amsterdam,” is part of the text of the famous song of Herman Emmink from 1957. For centuries, we consider the tulip as a traditional Dutch flower, but originally the tulip comes from Central Asia and arrived via Turkey to Holland in the sixteenth century. Now the tulip is, beside the clog and mill, a national symbol of the Netherlands.

Majolica plate and tile with tulip(s), circa 1625-1650
Majolica plate and tile with tulip(s), circa 1625-1650

At the end of the sixteenth century, the tulip in the Low Countries was known by a select few. These were mostly botanists and collectors. But from 1600 the flower quickly gained popularity. The bulb was a coveted trade and speculation object. In the thirties of the seventeenth century, trade and speculation took on such proportions that a single tulip bulb sometimes sold for thousands of guilders. A bulb was worth as much as an Amsterdam canalhouse. Inevitably the bubble burst in 1637. Many speculators saw dissipate their expected profit and got into financial difficulties.

Nevertheless, the tulip remains popular. On still life paintings the flower is still a regularly subject. But also on ceramics and tiles this beloved flower was widely applied. In several buildings in Amsterdam are reflected tulip motifs. In Agnietenkapel (St Agnes Chapel), the cradle of the University of Amsterdam, the beams and the ceiling of the auditoriums in the seventeenth century were decorated with tendrils and tulip motifs.

Decorative metalwork skylight at Keizersgracht 105
Decorative metalwork skylight at Keizersgracht 105

But also in 20th-century buildings this flower is immortalized. A wonderful example of wrought iron can be found in the building on Keizersgracht 105 by architect F. A. Warners who in 1938 designed it for broadcasting corporatrion AVRO. Between the vestibule and the wide aisle is an enclosed porch set with sidelights and transom with ornamental ironwork. The ironwork of the transom is fitted with a tulip motif.

And anno 2016, the tulip is still loved. Consider the Tulip Day on Dam Square, which is organized annually to kick off the tulip season or the many tourists who can visit the Keukenhof starting again today. This year the theme of the flower park is: The Golden Age. In Amsterdam the Tulip Festival is organized, this year its the second edition in April, the festival is hoping for a new tulip craze, but without the dramatic consequences of yesteryear.

Mysterious Characters From The Forest

At Haringpakkerssteeg, a small side street of Damrak, work is in progress. A gambling hall gives way to an eatery. On the property itself things are not cultivated, except for the old beams which come back in sight. On those beams is something special, wild scratches and streaks that look like runes.

One of the four beams with three characters
One of the four beams with three characters

It almost never happens that round logs sit in an Amsterdam building. Felled trees were usually stripped in the forest of their bark, sometimes straight cut or edited with the ax and then loaded onto a ship or transported in a raft. In order to see to which party the wood belonged and who was the owner, marks were made. Before the tree was used at the place of destination, it was further chopped up or sawn to size. The brands that were previously made, would thereby be missing.

It has only happened once before in Amsterdam, when the Department of Monuments and Archaeology found a major series of brands from a saw timber trade. It was in 2007, during the restoration of the Maritime Museum (Scheepvaartmuseum). The marks in the wood, which came from eastern Germany and Poland, could be partially deciphered.

Sketch of one of the beams with on the left the characters shown in detail
Sketch of one of the beams with on the left the characters shown in detail

The beams were cut straight and are probably a repair done in the nineteenth century. The markings look like runes, the oldest known script from the second and third century to the sixteenth or seventeenth century were used by Germanic tribes of northern Europe, Great Britain, Scandinavia and Iceland. They differ from the characters in the Maritime Museum. From previous research, we know that with the markings as things origin, traders, buyer, length of the beam and the numbering of a lot of wood have been reported. Currently the construction historians are still trying to investigate where the wood came from.