Last October 12th we had a special event at The Netherland Club; A Tribute to Mondrian. In the presence of the mayor of The Hague, Ms. Pauline Krikke, a jazz concert and culinary event was organized in honor of the famous Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, featuring red, yellow, blue; the colors of De Stijl, the colors of Mondrian.
At the end of this special evening, Ms. Pauline Krikke offered a plaque to the owners/residents of the Sheridan building in Greenwich Village, in memory of ‘Café Society‘ which was located in the basement of their building in the late 30’s early 40’s. Café Society, the wrong place for the Right people, was the first non-segregated jazz club in America, and a place that Piet Mondrian frequently visited and that inspired him to make his last and one of his most famous paintings; Victory Boogie Woogie.
On Thursday, June 14th this plaque was officially unveiled by his excellency Mr. Dolph Hogewoning, the Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in NY, at 1 Sheridan Square, Greenwich Village in New York, the building where the former legendary jazz club Café Society was located. A very special event, in which the historical value of the site was highlighted.
Prior to the unveiling, there was a presentation in the basement of the building, where Café Society used to be between 1938 and 1948.
- Ms. Pauline Krikke, mayor of the city of The Hague, hands over the plaque to the owners of 1 Sheridan Square at the ‘Tribute to Mondrian’ event (October 12th, 2017).
With pictures, videos, and sound fragments, David Brent Johnson, jazz historian and presenter of WFIU Night Lights, talked about the club’s illustrious history and its important influence on jazz and American history. It was the first non-segregated music club in America, the place where Billie Holiday broke through and sang her influential song of the century ‘Strange Fruit‘.
The Dutch painter Piet Mondrian visited the Café Society frequently. Hein-Jan Keijzer (general manager of The Netherland Club) spoke extensively about Mondrian’s work and life in NY and how this was influenced by avant-garde jazz and Café Society. This reached a climax in Mondrian’s last work, The Victory Boogie-Woogie. This painting can be admired in De Gemeente Museum in The Hague.
After the presentations, Consul General Dolph Hogewoning unveiled the plaque. This was followed by a small reception offered by the residents of Sheridan Square to express their appreciation for the initiative of the city of The Hague and The Netherland Club of New York.
During the event words of appreciation were expressed for Mr. Willem Post and Mr. Ton Wienbelt. They were the first to come up with the idea of placing a plaque on this wall in memory of the special history of the location.