Just a short blog on the 2 editions i now have in my inventory. There is a time difference of 2 years between them, but both are equally important. The first is the beautiful and impressive Toxique from 1964. A bold and important publication since it is one of the first books that makes in text and art the addiction to palphium /morphine visible. The art is among the best i know and the book reads like a graphic novel. The best is that the german edition from 1966 leaves the pages intact and only includes in the text the translation of the original french text by Sagan. Both can be recommended, but the purist will ofcourse chose the original french edition from 1964.Both editions are available at www.ftn-books.com
Never heard of Yeats as a painter, until Rudi Fuchs curated an exhibition with his paintings at the Haags Gemeentemuseum and it was a nice surprise. His painting is spontane , a little childish and impressionistic at the same time and thus resulting in a painting what is typical for Yeats with a signature of its own. The exhibition was not that large and i remember that the sizes of the paintings were not that large too.
What i do remember was the excellent catalogue Gracia Lebbink designed with the exhibition. It was one of her first lareg catalogues she made for the Gemeentemuseum but it has proven to be a classic and available at www.ftn-books.com
Felix Valotton is without a doubt one of those less familiar names in Modern Art, but still he is very important for the development of modern Art as we know it, because when you look at his works more closely you can discover the fundaments of abstraction.
In 1893, he became a member of Les Nabis, a semi-secret, semi-mystical group of young artists, mostly from the Academie Julian, which included Pierre Bonnard, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Maurice Denis, and Édouard Vuillard, with whom Vallotton was to form a lifelong friendship. While the Nabis shared certain common ideas and goals, their styles were quite different and personal. While he was a member of the Nabis, he kept his distance; his jocular title among the Nabis was “The Foreign Nabi”,  Vallotton’s paintings in this period reflected the style of his woodcuts, with flat areas of color, hard edges, and simplification of detail. His subjects included genre scenes, portraits and nudes. Examples of his Nabi style are the deliberately awkward Bathers on a Summer Evening (1892–93), now in the Kunsthaus Zürich, and the symbolist Moonlight(1895), in the Musée d’Orsay.
His paintings began to be noticed by the public and critics; Bathers on a Summer Evening, presented at the Salon des Indépendents, was met with harsh criticism and laughter. But they also woodcuts also attracted considerable and growing attention and clients, and he became financially secure. Between 1893 and 1897, he received many commissions for illustrations from notable French newspapers and magazines, including La Revue Blanche, and from foreign art publications, including The Chap-Book of Chicago. He also made woodcuts for the covers of theater programs and book illustrations. One of his prominent patrons was Thadée Natanson, the publisher of the Revue Blanche, and his wife Misia, who commissioned many important decorative works from the Nabis. Through the Natansons Vallotton was introduced to the avant-garde elite of Paris, including Stéphane Mallarmé, Marcel Proust, Eric Satie, and Claude Debussy.
During the Nabi period, he also produced a remarkable series of woodcuts. His woodcut subjects included domestic scenes, bathing women, portrait heads, and several images of street crowds and demonstrations—notably, several scenes of police attacking anarchists. He usually depicted types rather than individuals, eschewed the expression of strong emotion, and “fuse[d] a graphic wit with an acerbic if not ironic humor”. Vallotton’s graphic art reached its highest development in Intimités (Intimacies), a series of ten interiors published in 1898 by the Revue Blanche, which deal with tension between men and women. Vallotton’s woodcuts were widely disseminated in periodicals and books in Europe as well as in the United States, and have been suggested as a significant influence on the graphic art of Edvard Munch, Aubrey Beardsley, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. In 1898, he produced one of his most important series of woodcuts,
By 1900, the Nabis had drifted apart. One source of the division was the Dreyfus affair, the case of a Jewish army officer falsely accused of aiding the Germans. The Nabis were divided, with Vallotton passionately defending Dreyfus. He produced a series of satirical woodcuts on the affair, including The age of the Newspaper,which were published on the first page of Le Cri de Paris on January 23, 1898, at the height of the affair.
Another major event during this period was his marriage to Gabrielle Rodrigues-Hénriques, a upper middle class member of the Paris artistic and social elite. The union also brought to his household three children from her previous marriage. After a brief honeymoon in Switzerland, they moved to a large apartment on near the Gare Saint-Lazare train station. He also established a solid relationship with the Bernheim family and their gallery, which presented a special exhibition devoted the Nabis, including ten of his works. The marriage brought him financial security, and he gradually abandoned woodcuts as his main source of income. Thereafter he devoted his attention almost entirely to painting. www. ftn-books.com has some titles on vallotton available.
Just recently, onthe 12th of March Will ferwerda died at the age of 77. Known for his free expressionism and activist for his entire life he was one of the most colorful artists in the dutch art scene. He was locally a well known artist and many in Gorkum and Dordrecht had at some time met him.( A bit the same as Gerard Fieret in den Haag), but his art deserves so much better. It has some mysticism in it i can not explain, but when you look at he limited editions by Ferwerda ( available at www.ftn-books.com) , these images intrigue and show that Ferwerda was not an amateur , but a true and original artist.
POLYCHROMEUR is the title of this Piet Dirkx exhibition. Poster from 2004
By chance i found a publication by atelier de Herenplaats. An artist studio for the mentally deficient and i was really surprised to find some great art within this publiucation. This Art Brut/Outsider Art is matured and must be considered as true art. The spontanious compositions delight and i have read on the site of de Herenplaats that many of their artist have had their ( international) presentations in galeries and museums.
de Herenplaats site can be found on this address: www.herenplaats.nl
and www.ftn-books.com has the Herenplaats publication now for sale in its shop.
It is in 1985 that David Nash and Sjoerd Buisman are both invited by Rudi Oxenaar to make a contribution to the 50 years anniversary of the Nationaal Park de Hoge Veluwe.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Hoge Veluwe National Park, the ‘Steyn-park’, designed by Henry van de Velde, is restored, ‘both in terms of the afforestation and foliage and the paving’. Furthermore, the artists David Nash and Sjoerd Buisman are invited to realize two projects each in the grounds of the Hoge Veluwe. These Growing sculptures are subsequently acquired by Oxenaar.
I witnissed at one time one of these growing sculptures by Sjoerd Buisman. He realized a project at the pondds of the Gemeentemuseum , by splanting sticks into the grounds of the water. Over time these sprouted into bushes along the shores of the ponds. Since i could witness the progression and growing of this sculpture it fascinated me more over time. The total length of the project was about 3 month. Ther book on the project is available at www.ftn-books.com
The Erwin Olaf exhibitions at the Gemeentemuseum/ Fotomuseum are now closed for some months and what remains i sthe memory of a highly successful exhibitions with evn for me had some new elements in it which i did not have seen before. I had seen the cabinet with the peeping holes, but the Video wall with some 20 nude people who crouched and erecetd themselves was impressing. The catalogue however did not do justice to the exhibition. Too large, too expensive and the lesser known moving images from the video walls were missing. Still a great exhibition to remember and for those collectors interested i secured some of the materials that were published to promote the exhibition .
These are available at www.ftn-books.com together with some other nice Erwin Olaf publications
Jan van Munster stands for me personally as the artist who experimenst with Neon and Pyrographics and using these to create Minimal objects and sculptures. I noticed his works for the first time when a work of him was presented at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. It weas a neon sculpture and made in an edition of a few copies and for sale at the museum shop. Unfortunately i did not have the insight at that time to buy it, but the memory remains, because it was the first van Munster i had seen. This is not the easiest of art to admire, but once you follow his career and search back throught the decades that he has made his art, you conclude that he always stayed true to his origins. One of the characteristics that keep reappearing is that he uses frequently two elements on his covers of the catalogues that are published with his works.
First…many of his covers are embossed and second. ….in many cases there is a special Pyrographic made/burnt into the cover of his catalogues, making these original, one of a kind works of art at a more than reasonable price. www.ftn-books.com has some nice van Munster titles available.
francesca Woodman is from the Robert Mapplethorpe and Erwin Olaf generation of photographers, but her approach is totally different. This is not so much a form of staged photography , but more a search… a search for the surreal. This is the photographer who impressed me so much some 20 years ago that i started take an interest in photography by the artist of her generation.
One of her most impiortant photographs is one which was taken at a very young age. At the age of 13 she took the photograph below. A selfportrait while turning her head away from the lens.
Francesca Woodman produced universally commanding and profound images from the age of thirteen. Born into a family of artists, ‘art’ was her first language. She experienced early exposure to a plethora of exemplary creative people along with countless potential historical, literary, and theoretical influences. Woodman worked with traditional photographic techniques but was consistently performative and experimental in her practice. Many of her works are multi-media, including drawings, selected objects, and sculptures within her photographs. Settings may vary from confined interiors to the expansive outdoors, but Woodman herself is always there. Typically the sole subject, and often naked, she can be found caught entwined within a landscape or edging out of the photographic frame. Interested in the limits of representation, the artist’s body is habitually cropped, endlessly concealed, and never wholly captured. Woodman was acutely aware of the evanescent nature of life and of living close to death. She positions the self as too limitless to be contained, and thus reveals singular identity as an elusive and fragmentary notion.
www.ftn-books.com has the very rare PHOTOGRAPHIES book for sale.