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Alighiero e Boetti (1940-1994)..an Arte Povera artist

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Another artist who really died too young was Alighiero Boetti. One of those artists who you learn to appreciate over the years. At first glance you walk past his paintings, but when you encounter them more and more in museum s and sometimes in art galleries you learn to appreciate them and now i stop at every one of them i encounter. You are first struck by their graphic quality and later by the consistent high quality of these large canvasses and in many cases they are a source of inspiration for other artists:

left : Alighiero e Boeti . right : Kang-Ik Joong

and left Alighiero e Boetti and Right: Otto Egberts from Schaamstreken 4

At one time there was a nice Alighiero e Boetti catalogue available at the  De Slegte . Without knowing that Franz Kaiser was the curator for this exhibition in Grenoble , i bought a stack of these catalogues of which a few copies still remain and are available at www.ftn-books.com

Here is a short biography i found on the internet Boetti which proves that he is important and deserves his place amonmg other great Italian artists

Alighiero Boetti was born in Turin, to Corrado Boetti, a lawyer, and Adelina Marchisio, a violinist. Boetti abandoned his studies at the business school of the University of Turin to work as an artist. Already in his early years, he had profound and wide-ranging theoretical interests and studied works on such diverse topics as philosophy, alchemy and esoterics. Among the preferred authors of his youth were the German writer Hermann Hesse and the Swiss-German painter and Bauhaus teacher Paul Klee. Boetti also had a continuing interest in mathematics and music.

At seventeen, Boetti discovered the works of the German painter Wols and the cut canvases of Argentine-Italian artist Lucio Fontana. Boetti’s own works of his late teen years, however, are oil paintings somewhat reminiscent of the Russian painter Nicolas de Staël. At age twenty, Boetti moved to Paris to study engraving. In 1962, while in France he met art critic and writer Annemarie Sauzeau, whom he was to marry in 1964 and with whom he had two children, Matteo (1967) and Agata (1972). Working in his hometown of Turin in the early 1960s amidst a close community of artists that included Luciano Fabro, Mario Merz, Giulio Paolini, and Michelangelo Pistoletto, among others, Boetti established himself as one of the leading artists of the Arte Povera movement. From 1974 to 1976, he travelled to Guatemala, Ethiopia, Sudan. Boetti was passionate about non-western cultures, particularly of central and southern Asia, and travelled to Afghanistan and Pakistan numerous times in the 1970s and 1980s, although Afghanistan became inaccessible to him following the Soviet invasion in 1979. In 1975, he went back to New York.

Active as an artist from the early 1960s to his premature death in 1994, Boetti developed a significant body of diverse works that were often both poetic and pleasing to the eye while at the same time steeped in his diverse theoretical interests and influenced by his extensive travels.

He died of a brain tumour in Rome in 1994 at the age of 53.

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Alfred Hofkunst (1942-2004)

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The First Hofkunst items i had in collection were the Pop Swatch series he made for Swatch. These watches were “specials” and sold among the groceries and vegetables in which these specials were presented and sold as ordinary groceries. The small edition of them made them highly collectable items and because of that and as soon as i had acquired them with much physical and financial effort, i sold them to another collector with a nice profit. It was at the height of the Swatch watches craze. A craze where simple plastic, but highly accurate and reliable watches fetched prices as much as 30 times their original value. In retrospect these watches were not worth this kind of money, but nowadays that prices have normalized and you might want to collect these specially designed watches. Alfred Hofkunst was one of the first that was invited to make a special for the newly introduced POP watches and came up with this series including a cucumber, bacon & egg and pepper watch.

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Hofkunst himself is a well known Suisse artist who was friends with Jean Tinguely and  Bernhard Luginbühl and can be considered as one of the most important Suisse artist from last century. Of all these 3 artists www.ftn-books.com has catalogues and posters available. Unfortunately Hofkunst died too early at the age of 62.

 

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Alice Aycock (1946)

1983, Just 3 years after i started my career at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, the museum made an exhibition with Alice Aycock. Within the Schamhart buidling the complete floor was covered with large kinetic sculptures by Aycock and at that time i could not appreciate them at all. Now 35 year later i wished i had the same knowledge at that time that i have know, because recently i leafed through the catalogue and it struck met that these works were not only great in dimensions, but even after 35 years fascinating. Where Tinguely made his kinetic sculptures in the Sixties. Aycock made them in much more modern and industrialized/high tech versions in the Eighties and after. Alice Aycock has received international fame with her sculptures.

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What remains to me is a wonderful catalogue ( available at www.ftn-books.com) and the memory of meeting a great artist and beautiful woman back in 1983.

To give an impression of her more recent works here is a video on her 2010 presentation:

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Ana Juan (1961)

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A combination of illustration and serious art is the art by Ana Juan. I stumbled upon her works some 20 years ago when within the same series as

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Joost Swarte’s Articulado was published, a beautiful book by Ana Juan was published.

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The book also with a thin wood cover impressed me so much that from that date on i followed her progression in art.

A second copy of the book is now available at www.ftn-books.com and you can see for yourself why i was so impressed , because the internet site at :

http://anajuan.net/ana-juan-mainmenu/

is well worth visiting. Here is the information Wikipedia has on her

After graduating in fine arts from Universidad Politécnica in Valencia (1982), she moved to Madrid at the height of the movida madrileña and in the early 1980s she collaborated with magazines such as La Luna and Madriz (where “for the first seven months of the magazine’s life, [she] was the only regular female artist” and for which “she authored seventeen comic book works” and illustrated many scripts for other artists).

In 1991 she temporarily moved to Paris and exhibited in Geneva and New York; in 1994 she received a fellowship by the Japanese publishing house Kodansha and lived in Japan for three months.

Back in Madrid, in 1995 she started contributing to The New Yorker, for which she has designed more than 20 covers over the years,[3] among which “Solidarité”, after the Charlie Hébdo shooting in Paris.

In 1998 and 1999 she was awarded the Gold Medal (category: Illustration) by the Society of Newspaper Design and on September 24, 2010 she was awarded the “Premio Nacional de Ilustración” by the Spanish Ministry of Culture.

She currently creates her own books (texts and illustrations), exhibits her work all over the world (Spain, Mexico, Japan, Italy…) and contributes to many Spanish and international magazines. She has also illustrated many Isabel Allende’s book covers for Plaza e Janés (Penguin Random House), among which Retrato en Sepia, Eva Luna, El cuaderno de Maya, Of Love and Shadows, and is one of the very few artists who was allowed by the author himself to illustrate a book by Stephen King, namely The Man in the Black Suit (El hombre del traje negro, Nórdica Libros, 2017).

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Alberto Vargas (1896-1982)

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I consider Alberto Vargas ( born in Peru) as the most original and technically accomplished pin-up artist ever. Of course, France has known some great pin-up artist like Aslan was one of them, The US brought us Elvgren and the more modern Olivia de Barardinis, but for me personally Alberto Vargas is the very best. His style is recognizable, his models are exquisite and his art has always a personal note.

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He started making Pin Up drawings in the early 20’s and kept producing new Pin-Ups  until his early Eighties. Many of them appeared in Playboy magazine and the 60’s Playboy magazines contained each month a new Vargas drawing. The magazines edition rose to an enormous 7 million each month but now has fallen to 800.000.

7 million readers ( viewers) each month meant his name as a gifted (pin-up) artist spread rapidly and original drawings fetched high prices at auction. Prices have fallen a little since these GOLDEN VARGAS DAYS, but a good drawing still fetches  usd. 20K+

Artistically Vargas is for sure not the most important and ground breaking artist, but his drawings have a great appeal and are technically brilliant pieces of art.

www.ftn-books.com has some Vargas titles available

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