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Leonard Baskin (1922-2000)

Leonard Baskin

Baskin is known for his sculpture and graphic arts, especially monumental woodcuts. He was committed to figurative art in a time when the art world focused on abstract expressionism. His work emphasized portraiture and the human condition, often malformed, exaggerated, and animal-like. Common themes include natural history, the Hebrew bible, Greek mythology, and poetry. As the son of a rabbi who grew up in a Jewish community in Brooklyn, Judaism and the Jewish Orthodox community are commonly featured. He was a frequent collaborator with many writers, especially Ted Hughes. Baskin’s work is included in the collections of most major institutions in the United States. He is recognized as a key contributor to the revitalization of fine art presses in addition to his distinction in sculpture and woodcut.

http://www.ftn-books.com has a few Baskin titles available.

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Rebecca Horn ( continued)

Rebecca Horn

The reason of this short blog is not the mechanical body fan by Rebeca Horn ( see photo above ) but the garden sculpture she made for the Gemeentemuseum Arnhem and which was executed in the garden in 1989. Together with the sculpture “Venus Funnel” a book was published in a very small edition. Only 28, but very important pages on this Rebecca Horn project. Small edition now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Jane Reumert (1942-2016)

Jane Reumert

Jane Louise Reumert was born in Gentofte, Denmark, and worked as a professional ceramist since the 1960s.[Reumert’s influences range from nature to calligraphy. She has stated that she was interested in nature and especially birds from her early youth. Those motives are found in her work of the 2000s. She used European and Asian calligraphic lettering styles.

In the late 1980s Reumert began working with porcelain and made thin salt glazed vessels, fired to 1330 °C. In the early 1990s, she experimented with adding fiberglass and other fibers to her clay, allowing thinner forms. She often displayed her work on wire tripods to create the illusion of the item floating in thin air. In 1994, Reumert was awarded the Torsten and Wanja Soderberg Nordic Design Prize.[3] In 2011, she took part in the Nordic Woodfire Marathon, and was a guest artist at the International Ceramic Research Centre in Denmark.

Reumert had published writings and books on ceramic techniques and on her own work. She wrote in Danish and some of her books, including Transparency and Contemporary Pottery, have been translated into English.

In 2003, Jane Louise Reumert moved away from the island of Bornholm where she created some of her salt-glazed pieces with a gas-fired kiln to Copenhagen, where she used a wood-fired kiln.

http://www.ftn-books has the Rohska Museum catalogue from 1994 now available.

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Edward Dwurnik (1943-2018)

Edward Dwurnik

Painter and draughtsman. A painting and graphic arts graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, he was one of the most vibrant characters on the Polish art scene, with a presence in popular and mainstream culture. To Dwurnik, Nikifor Krynicki was the most important artist and inspiration in the choice of themes, working methods, and style. Dwurnik’s oeuvre, ironic and grotesque, chiefly includes expansive painting cycles, rendered with a fine paintbrush in semblance of Nikifor, with recurrent social, political, and social drama motifs, produced in multiple copies, often simultaneously. His bird’s-eye-view cityscapes created over a number of decades from the mid-1960s are the cycle he is best known for. He painted his first set of abstract paintings, which he called “pollocks”, in the early 2000s. He participated in Documenta 7 in Kassel in 1982. Winner of numerous awards, including the Cyprian Kamil Norwid Award (1981) and the Coutts Contemporary Art Foundation Award (1992). He lived and worked in Warsaw.

The van Abbemuseum catalogue which was published with the Dwurnik 1985 exhibition is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Alberto Magnelli (1888-1970)

Alberto Magnelli

In 1911 the founder of Futurism, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, invited him to join his artistic and social movement, but Magnelli declined. Although he exhibited with the group, he instead followed the path of abstraction, even while retaining some Futurist elements.

Early in his career, Magnelli traveled to Paris to visit fellow artists; in 1914 he bought works by Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Carlo Carrà, and Alexander Archipenko for his uncle, the collector Alessandro Magnelli. In this period, Magnelli’s work was primarily figurative, as in Man on a Cart (L’Homme à la charrette, 1914). The artist’s first abstract works appeared during the winter of 1914–15. He made a series of what he called “invented works,” such as Painting No. 0528 (Peinture No. 0528, 1915), characterized by bright areas of colors and elliptical patterns. In 1916 he started his military training, and upon his release began experimenting with geometric figuration, as seen in the series Lyric Explosion (Explosion lyrique, 1918). These pictures celebrate the end of the war, creatively integrating Fauvist color, the dynamism of Futurism, and the armature of Cubism. After the war, Magnelli traveled to Germany, Switzerland, France, and Austria before eventually settling in Paris in 1930. A trip the following year through the Carrara marble region in Italy inspired the series Stones (Pierres, 1931–36): haunting, Surrealistic portrayals of massive marble blocks rendered in simplified lines, an abstracted and heavy plasticity against an otherworldly background.

During World War II, the artist lived in Grasse, France, keeping company with artists Robert Delaunay and Jean Arp. Beginning in 1936, Magnelli created textural geometric collages, such as Cahiers d’Art (ca. 1937), using materials including corrugated cardboard, emery cloth, music paper, stitched wire, and metal plates. He also executed a number of paintings on schoolchildren’s wood-framed slate boards (1937–43). Many of these works were luminous geometric compositions constructed from flat areas of color and inscribed white lines (e.g., Untitled [Sans titre, 1937]), while others were inscriptions of purely geometric lines (e.g., Ardoise no. 33 [1937]). During this time, Magnelli also participated in the activities of the Abstraction–Création group with Vasily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, and Arp. He returned to Paris in 1944, and soon began making refined geometric works such as Diffuse Light (Lumière diffuse, 1950). In 1959 he moved to Meudon, France, where he died on April 20, 1971.

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

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Shan Fan ( 1959)

Shan Fan

For three decades, bamboo painting has been part of the everyday life of artist Shan Fan. He first became familiar with the techniques of traditional Chinese painting as a student in China, but when he moved to Hamburg, Germany, in the mid–1980s, his study of abstract western art altered the way he viewed his own traditions. Whether in ink on rice paper, in oil on canvas, in copying a traditional classic, or in the medium of performance, Shan Fan’s work reflects upon and transforms the medium of bamboo painting, which already has potentially abstract characteristics. For him, lines become planes, seconds become hours, entropy becomes a physical experience.

To this day, Shan Fan is persistently continuing his work on his Alphabet of Bamboo Painting. Parallel to this, he has been working since 2008 on transferring twelve selected bamboo paintings to large canvases, using oils and the finest brushes. Gradually, they are building the foundation for a series of pictures whose details make them seem almost like film close-ups. ‘Since I keep transferring increasingly smaller sections of a piece of bamboo onto the same size canvas, I eventually reach a point where it is no longer possible to recognize them as bamboo.’ (Shan Fan) In accordance with the aesthetics of the artist’s material and production methods, he uses concentrated, rapid brush strokes, slowly panning the ink, as it were, across the surface, creating planes millimeter-by-millimeter. In deciding to use a circular brush movement, Shan Fan gives his images a vortex-like effect. The final result of this development is a black or–in the case of the white-on-white paintings–a white plane.

www.ftn-books.com has the HOMELAND catalogue published in 2010 now available.

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Ank van Pagée (1956-1995)

Ank van Pagée

This information i found at the site of Museum DE STADSHOF:

Background: mother’s antiquarian bookshop in Den Bosch.
Education: training in auctioneering firm.
Profession/occupation: antiquarian book trader.
Art form/medium: wax crayon drawing, painting, collage, lino-cut.
Start artwork: since 1979 in the antiquarian bookshop of her own in Deventer.
Relevant info: inspired by anguished novels/writers she takes up writing, painting and drawing; 1989 suffers from anxiety syndrome; hospitalization from 1990 – 1995. Commits suicide in 1995.
(Solo-) exhibitions: 1996, Stadshof Zwolle.
References: Pagée, Pim van; Ank van Pagée, Zwolle (Museum De Stadshof) 1996.

A short but informative text, but what struck me most was the power of her graphics in the book which I now have for sale at www.ftn-books.com

Another nice quality is that she uses the same pictorial language as her contemporaries but gives a twist of her own to them. Left Pagée and right Charlotte Mutsaers

here is the Pagee publication which is now for sale.

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Odilon Redon (1840-1916)

Odilon Redon

i always have admired the artist Odilon Redon, but somehow I missed writing a blog on him. Because of a recent addition I checked it and found that I never had written anything on him. The addition is THE ENCHANTED STONE. A publication by the National gallery of Victoria. Published in 1990 and well worth collection. Available at www.ftn-books.com

Born in Bordeaux, France, to an affluent family, he displayed an aptitude for drawing at an early age. Redon’s father wanted him to pursue architecture, but after he failed to pass the entrance exam to the École des Beaux-Arts, he began training as an artist. Due to the Franco-Prussian war, Redon’s career did not blossom until the late 1800s when he began producing work in pastel and oils.

Ophelia by Odilon Redon

Odilon Redon, “Ophelia,” 1900–1905

Although he was contemporary to the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, he rejected both movements. And while Redon exhibited with the group called Les Nabis in 1899 and shared some common interests with them, he was not a part of their style either. His oeuvre is associated with the Symbolist movement, which is typified by an interest in imbuing art with ambiguous metaphors and themes of romance, morbidity, and the occult.

Perhaps most notable of Redon’s artwork is his imaginative subject matter. Instead of drawing inspiration from what he saw, Redon preferred to paint images from his dreams, nightmares, and stories from mythology. This resulted in drawings and paintings with a tenuous grasp on realism, and a preferred emphasis on emotion, color, and atmosphere.

Redon explains his process in his journal: “I have often, as an exercise and as a sustenance, painted before an object down to the smallest accidents of its visual appearance; but the day left me sad and with an unsatiated thirst. The next day I let the other source run, that of imagination, through the recollection of the forms and I was then reassured and appeased.”Redon utilized a unique color palette in his art. The unusual combination of faded pastel tones and acrid hues led to compositions that were overall very vibrant to the eye. Additionally, his color choices were not usually intended to be naturalistic choices, and actually enhanced the otherworldliness of his unusual pieces.

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Anna Yam (1980)

Ann Yam

Anna Yam

This text by Anna Yam is on her publication BIRD’S MILK , which is now for sale at www.ftn-books.com

Bird’s Milk is the name of an east-European candy. Anna Yam, who was born in the USSR and lived there until she was twelve, remembers it as a sweet, comforting delicacy, a rarity in her childhood’s circumstances and environment. The couplet composing its name, chosen by Yam for the title of her exhibition, is surprising and attractive yet simultaneously daunting and disturbing. A suspicious curiosity. An online search of the term offers links mostly to food and recipe sites which, along with glucose- and cholesterol-laden descriptions and culinary minutiae regarding the accurate mix of whipped egg whites, sugar, vanilla, milk and occasionally chocolate, also refer to the name’s origin, a common term in Russian to describe something inexistent or unattainable. Such expressions serve in popular use in many languages to describe everlasting devotion or a promise to achieve the unachievable for a love object (“I’ll give you the stars and the moon”). An essay published in February 2013 in the online magazine The Moscow News dealt with the changes that Bird’s Milk underwent over three decades in one of Moscow’s well-known restaurants, noting that the name refers to a Slavic legend about an unattainable gift that uses the phrase “as rare as hen’s teeth.” Yam’s choice of such a dual phrase sits well with the exhibition’s selection of photographs. At first glance they refuse to be linked with a coherent continuum, yet attest to a carefully considered editing that elucidates a meaning, as if a random collection of words whose composition within set syntactical structures has created fluent sentences with a formed narrative whose parts, once read, are no longer a random collection of words but details in a story. The story’s text is secondary, hence its uniqueness.

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Dennis Scholl (1980)

Dennis Scholl

Viewers of Dennis Scholl’s art enter an enigmatic, multilayered world. In this universe created by the artist, the onlooker meets characters that are both strange and funny, gets insights into their quarrels and romances and becomes participant or voyeur. They will never fully comprehend what they see, there is always a moment of confusion, a feeling that they have only scratched the surface of the story being told. Scholl was a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg under Franz Erhard Walter and Andreas Slominski. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, at a time when many young artists turned to painting, and consequently colour, Scholl devoted himself to monochromatic pencil drawings. By consistently avoiding mainstream taste, the young art student quickly attracted the attention of collectors and curators. In his blackand-white works, Scholl shows himself to be a master-builder of narration, carefully assembling its fragments into collages. Faces, bodies, plants, and other organic elements, structures, and materials all create a cohesive whole.

The focus in Scholl’s drawings is always placed on the human figure. The protagonists of his works are sometimes references to literary or historical characters, but they are usually fictional. Since his early successes, which brought him to the Busan Biennale in South Korea in 2010 as well as several group exhibitions at Kunsthalle Hamburg, Scholl’s art has been constantly evolving. The world in which the characters are presented, move, meet, fight, and love, changes from drawing to drawing, each time becoming more complex. Over the years, the drawings’ formats have grown larger, until its protagonists became life-sized. In 2015, the artist carefully introduced colour into his work, moving from red chalk to pastels to crayons, giving it an entirely new dimension. While his pencil drawings almost appear as black-and-white photographs of oil paintings, the works in crayon show a more graphic quality. However, after nearly 15 years for Scholl, being consistent means taking the next step and transitioning to canvas, so since 2017 he has also been using oil paints. So far, Scholl’s works have been presented all over the world, being featured in numerous group shows as well as solo exhibitions in New York, Brussels, Malmö, and London. His drawings are also part of private collections in Switzerland, North America, and Germany.

www.ftn-books.com has the 2014 Scholl/ Michael Haas catalogue now available