Autograph letter signed "Piet Mondrian".
4to. 2 pp.
Charming letter in French to his friend, the Swiss architect Alfred Roth (1903-98), thanking him for sympathetic feedback to Mondrian's unpublished text "L'Art nouveau - La Vie nouvelle" and asking for the return of the manuscript. Roth and other friends of Mondrian's like the German-Swiss art historian Carola Giedion-Welcker and the Swedish sociologist Sven Bäcklund had offered to finance the publication, but Mondrian insists that he wants to wait until he can afford it himself through the sale of paintings: "I was delighted by your letter and your appreciation, and that of the other friends gives me tremendous joy. You have very well noticed the essential: my imperturbable faith in the future, in human evolution. All the beauty of life is in there - isn't it? - I further appreciate the efforts and intentions of the friends to find the necessary means for publication but I do not wish to incommode (especially in these times) my friends or even acquaintances for a favour [chose utile]. I prefer to wait until I sell enough to cover the costs myself. Tell this to Giedion and Backlund. The publication is not so urgent. I improve my little work from time to time. For that reason, I would like to have my manuscripts back because I found some things in there that are not well or precisely expressed. But if you know and tell it to the friends you can keep them a bit longer. If Seuphor's 'Éditions nouvelles' continue to exist, they produce affordable and good editions. After all, I believe that an independent publication will be better than through Geneva. I was astonished to hear that this Spanish architect, whom I personally do not know, did not send the information. I will discuss that with my friend, the Spaniard. In my painting I make good progress. The material outlook is still poor. For everyone!" - Mondrian had worked on the book since 1929 and started to look for a publisher in 1932. It is not known whether Mondrian ever negotiated with the Belgian artist and publisher Michel Seuphor (1901-99), who was stylistically influenced by Mondrian and wrote an early biography of the master in 1956. In 1938 Mondrian finally abandoned the project, though the text was published posthumously. In a short postscript to the letter, Mondrian announces a new introduction to the book, which is also included in Louis Veen's 2017 edition of Mondrian's writings.
Traces of folds. Slightly creased with some minor tears.
Piet Mondrian and Louis Veen (eds.), The complete Writings. Essays and Notes in Original Versions (2017).