Annet Mooij / Annet Mooij – The Age of Gisèle

Annet Mooij – The Age of Gisèle

Annet Mooij – The Age of Gisèle

Rights sold

  • Büchergilde (Germany)

About the book

Gisèle van Waterschoot van der Gracht (1912-2013), daughter of an Austrian baroness and an Amsterdam patrician, divided her youth between Catholic boarding schools and a castle with seventy rooms. This beginning would prove to be the springboard for a multifaceted artist’s career and a life full of friendships and romances. She married Amsterdam’s ex-mayor Arnold d’Ailly and threw her lot in with the mysterious German poet Wolfgang Frommel and his crowd of young friends, to whom she offered shelter in her small Amsterdam apartment during the Nazi occupation. After the war, this gave rise to an exclusive house enshrouded in secrecy, ‘Castrum Peregrini’: Gisele’s own canal house family. Gisele succeeded in presenting her life as a fairy tale. But what did the reality behind the elegant façade actually look like? How did the liberated painter mange to survive in the misogynistic society of Castrum Peregrini? In The Age of Gisèle, Annet Mooij reconstructs her dynamic and fascinating life with an exceptional eye for detail.

Masterful biography - ***** NRC Handelsblad

An astonishing biography of an enchanted groupie. During the occupation she let three of Frommel’s boys go into hiding in the house on the Herengracht. Yet most of the boys felt nothing but contempt for her. – Trouw

Although Gisèle, as is evident from the biography, knew that sex was part of Frommer’s friendship model, it seems likely that she never confronted him on the matter. For her, “pedagogic eros” seems to have been an adequate cover. Compelling biography. – Frank Ligtvoet

Press on previous work:

A scintillating portrait gleaming with life. - **** de Volkskrant


Annet Mooij (b. (1961) is a biographer and independent researcher. She wrote The City’s Pulse (1999), The Fight for the February Strike (2006) and The Invisible Enemy (2007), among other books. Her biography of Mina Kruseman (2013) was shortlisted for the Biography Prize 2014.

(c) Michiel van Nieuwkerk

Additional book information

  • Biography
  • ISBN 9789403118505
  • Number of pages: 480
  • World rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: € 36,99
  • English sample available