Piet Mondriaan, nowadays a worldwide renowned and admired artist, spent his youth (1880 to 1892) in his parental home on Zonnebrink 4 in Winterswijk. His father had acquired a position as the Director of the School of Christian National Instruction and lived with his family in the villa directly next to the school building. Piet’s father and uncle Frits Mondriaan taught Piet basic knowledge on drawing and painting.
The former home of the Mondriaan family provided the basis for today’s museum and forms one wing of the museum’s building. The villa still exists thanks to Jan Nijhuis and his wife Elizabeth, who purchased the old villa on Zonnebrink 4 in 1984, just in time to prevent it from being demolished. The Nijhuis family renovated it and while they lived on the upper floors of the Villa, the ground floor was used for the purposes of an art gallery – just in accordance with the artistic tradition of the “Mondriaanhuis”. In 1991 they bought the former school building next door and transferred the gallery to the new facilities. Since then, Elizabeth Nijhuis had the vision of establishing an arts museum.
Thanks to the commitment of several citizens of Winterswijk and to one supporter in particular, who bought the former Mondriaan-Residence from the Nijhuis-Familiy and who provided the building to the Mondriaan Foundation, the dream finally became reality. Under the supervision of Wim van Krimpen (former director of the Gemeentemuseum and the Kunsthal in Rotterdam), a new and modern extension building was built, which merges the old Villa and the former school building into one big museum. Villa Mondriaan was officially opened in May 2013.
The museum is financially supported by the community of Winterswijk as well as by the province of Gelderland.