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Hermanus Berserik (1921-2002)

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I just thought about Berserik, because i lay my hands on one of the most intimate publications by an artist . It is the facsimile published BLADVULLING book by Hermanus Berserik full of sketches by this artist. He painted daily life scenes and was very fond of his sailing boat, which he depicted numerous times together with other nautic themes.

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You can still encounter his works at reasonable prices at auctions and his etchings can even be called CHEAP. If you do not know anything about the artist just visit:

Hermanus Berserik | De wereld onder een stolp

where a Berserik exhibition was held until the 18th of January. It gives some excellent in formation. The other way to get informed i to look for publications on the artist. www.ftn-books.com has several Berserik titles available.

BTW. I just learned at the MORE site that Berserik was an ex cellent photographer too.

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Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980)

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Two aspects of her art life spring to mind. First and foremost a great Art Deco painter and one of the frist female artists being recognized by the greater public as a great artist and secondly …she depicted the “beau monde” in the Interbellum. The period between WWI and WWII.

Although she was born in Poloand she spent her working life in France and the United States. She is best known for her polished Art Deco portraits of aristocrats and the wealthy, and for her highly stylized paintings of nudes.

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Born in Warsaw, Lempicka briefly moved to Saint Petersburg where she married a prominent Polish lawyer, then travelled to Paris. She studied painting with Maurice Denis and André Lhote. Her style was a blend of late, refined cubism and the neoclassical style, particularly inspired by the work of Jean-Dominique Ingres.[1] She was an active participant in the artistic and social life of Paris between the Wars. In 1928 she became the mistress of Baron Raoul Kuffner, a wealthy art collector from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. After the death of his wife in 1933, the Baron married Lempicka in 1934, and thereafter she became known in the press as “The Baroness with a Brush”.

Following the outbreak of World War II in 1939, she and her husband moved to the United States and she painted celebrity portraits, as well as still lifes and, in the 1960s, some abstract paintings. Her work was out of fashion after World War II, but made a comeback in the late 1960s, with the rediscovery of Art Deco. She moved to Mexico in 1974, where she died in 1980. At her request, her ashes were scattered over the Popocatépetl volcano. www.ftn-books.com has one nice publication on Lempicka

lempicka

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Jean Hélion (1904-1987)

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Try to find a good portrait of Jeran Helion and you will have a hard time finding one. There is one possible explanation and that is that Jean Hélion was a modest artist. I read a little on him and he lived for his art , developing his style into a recognizable style of his own. Helion is mostly known in France , but some of his paintings found a way acroos the French border and were presented in other museums too.

In 1921, Jean Hélion moved to Paris, working as an architect’s assistant and frequenting the Louvre. While visiting the museum, he encountered the works of Nicolas Poussin and determined to switch courses and become a painter. By the mid-1920s, Hélion had entered into a milieu of artists that included Otto Freundlich and Joaquín Torres-García. Quickly transitioning from Cubism to nonobjective abstraction, the artist adopted and implemented ideologies culled from artists such as Piet Mondrian and Max Ernst. In 1940, he joined the French resistance army, was subsequently captured, and lived as a prisoner of war for the next two years. Following his release, Hélion rejected pure abstraction in favor of more figurative elements, producing paintings which harkened back to Neoclassical compositions and the works of Fernand Léger. The artist died on October 27, 1987 in Paris, France. Today, his works are held in the collections of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, the Tate Gallery in London, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, among others.

www.ftn-books.com has some Helion publications available

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Bernard WILLEM Holtrop (1941)

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When i compare artist with each other  , the artist that comes to mind is  Pettibon. I think the best way to compare WILLEM is by comparing his drawings with the ones made by Raymond Pettibon.Prins Bernhard comic by Willempettibon brush a

Put them next too eachother and you see a resemblance in the directness and of course the use of black and white within them. But WILLEM is not only known for his Black / white drawings , but also for his political drawings and … some great illustrations. Among them… the illustrations he had done for FROM A -> Z by Rebecca Rass, published by Thomas Rapp in 1969 and available at www.ftn-books.com

rass

Here is a part of the biography on WILLEM published by the Lambiek gallery:

Born and bred in de Veluwe, one of the most conservative regions of Holland, Willem has become one of the world’s most unpredictable and sardonic cartoonists. While studying Fine Arts between 1962 and 1967, it all started with some early comix and cartoons for magazines like De Legerkoerier (The Army Courier), and with Willem’s contributions to the legendary student magazine Propria Cures. There, he got in touch with Roel van Duyn, the editor of the paper for the hippie movement Provo.

Since Provo at that time didn’t have an illustrator, Willem started working for them right away. In 1966 he caused quite a stir by portraying the Dutch queen Juliana as a prostitute in one of his cartoons for the Provo publication God, Nederland & Oranje. What followed was a persecution for lese majesty and a fine of 200 guilders. Following the demise of the Provo movement, his work appeared in De Nieuwe Linie in 1967. He moved to Paris, France in the following year, where his first cartooning work were contributions to L’Enragé during the May 1968 student strikes in Paris.

He subsequently became a regular contributor to Hara Kiri as well as its follow-up Charlie Hebdo. Willem’s beloved themes such as fat women, biological warfare, crabs, small children and police violence were all represented in the many political cartoons, illustrations, puzzles, comix and texts for the magazine. He also served as a promotor of Dutch comic abroad with his own publication Surprise. He was eventually editor-in-chief of Charlie Mensuel. He also appeared in Benoît Lamy’s documentary ‘Cartoon Circus’ (1972), a Belgian documentary about cartoons and comics,  in which he was interviewed alongside SinéPichaRoland ToporCabuJean-Marc Reiser, François Cavanna, Professeur Choron, GalGeorges Wolinski, Joke and Jules Feiffer.

Ever since the late seventies, Willem has been contributing controversial daily cartoons to the French left-wing daily Libération. All through these years his output has been prolific, resulting in a veritable mountain of book publications, which are almost without exception hard to find. Luckily, in 1998, the editor Jean-Pierre Faur published the anthology ‘Deadlines’, a beautiful overview of the works of one of the most internationally renowned Dutch graphic artists.

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JESS Collins ( 1923-2004 )

I became interested in this artist because i recently i acquired one of Jess his first publications, which is available at www.ftn-books.com An artist on the cross roads of  Modern Art, collage and comics

For more information on the artist you must visit jesscollins.org where i found the following text:

JESS was born in 1923 in Long Beach, California, the younger son of a civil engineer and a homemaker. Originally named Burgess Franklin Collins, he later broke with his family and changed his name to “Jess.” In childhood, Jess read the L. Frank Baum Oz books, Poe and Proust; listened to the music of Beethoven, Mahler, Sibelius and Brahms; and made scrapbooks with a great-aunt, which he credited as one origin of his later collage work.

In 1942, Jess began studying chemistry at the California Institute of Technology but was drafted into the Army Corps of Engineers in 1943. In a very junior role, he worked until 1946 at the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on the production of plutonium for the atomic bomb. Following the war, he completed his degree at Cal Tech with honors in radiochemistry and went to work at the Hanford Atomic Energy Project in Washington.

During his time at Hanford, Jess began to study painting in adult education classes, while at the same time growing concerned about the nature of his participation in atomic energy work: “I was involved with nuclear energy, the direction it was going seemed questionable, nightmarish in many ways.” In 1948, he was visited by a terrifying dream that foretold the destruction of the world in 1975. Within months, he had left his job, decided to pursue art full-time, moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and found his way first to the University of California at Berkeley and soon to the California School of Fine Arts, now the San Francisco Art Institute.

At CSFA, he studied with Elmer Bischoff, Edward Corbett, David Park, Hassel Smith and Clyfford Still. Taking inspiration from Clifford Still’s aesthetic breadth and tolerance, Jess explored both abstraction and figuration, learning from Still “a poetics of materials.” As he said later to Michael Auping, “I personally didn’t see any reason to make a dichotomy between abstraction and representation… It was all paint.” His interest lay in the redemptive powers of imagination and myth, which he regarded as one with the materials: “I don’t see that much difference between the spiritual and the material. All matter is energy, and all matter and energy are infused with spirit.”

Jess & Robert Duncan Biography

When Jess met poet Robert Duncan in 1950, they soon discovered their shared love of Baum’s Oz books and James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, and the future of their lifelong romantic relationship, domestic household, and artistic collaboration was established. The 2013-14 exhibition and catalogue, An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan and their Circle, documented the brilliant artistic fecundity of their bond and its importance to San Francisco artistic and literary communities. Their idea of the “household,” a place of domestic love but also of spirited, generative collaboration, became central to the development of their art and poetry.

Throughout the fifties, Jess experimented with technique in still lifes, portraits, and landscapes, paintings that shimmer with narrative potential. Jess described some of these works as “mythic landscapes, in the sense that a certain abstract chaos is slowly coming to order. All of the creation myths depict some kind of chaos transforming into order or image. I sometimes thought of these early landscapes as vaguely analogous to a creation myth.”

Inspired in part by a gift from Duncan of Max Ernst’s surrealist collage book Une semaine de bonté  (1934), Jess also began making collages, or in his term, “paste-ups,” in the early fifties, combining text and image fragments of engravings, photographs, comic strips, and jigsaw puzzle pieces. These works, becoming ever more complex over time until they were comprised of hundreds or even thousands of distinct elements, led critic Jed Perl to compare Jess and Joseph Cornell as “….American originals, highly sophisticated artists who weren’t afraid to be seen as outliers or cranks.”

The thirty-two works in Jess’s important Translation series, begun in 1959, are painted, enlarged reproductions of found images including photographs, children’s book illustrations, post cards, pages from old Scientific American magazines, Krazy Kat cartoons, and illustrations of art, science and math subjects. Every image is combined, either within the painted surface or on the backs of the canvases, with literary texts from a wide variety of sources including Wordsworth, Blake, Gertrude Stein, Plato, Aztec and Mayan poems, scientific texts, Kandinsky, Gaelic songs and Edward Lear.

Jess biography

Thickly painted, the surfaces are highly textured, sometimes rough, and occasionally billowing. Describing the colors, Jess explained, “I want to get the level of light that was in the original. My colors are absolutely imaginary, not realistic. At my best, I want to pay homage to the original and a completely imaginary complex of color that is my translation of that original.” Of the Translations, Michael Auping has said, “The mysterious irony of the ‘Translations’ is that they are highly reverent copies that are, in themselves, entirely original, which of course brings into question whether or not they are copies at all. The ‘Translations’ are not secondary to the ‘originals’ but are, in Jess’s words, ‘spiritually coexistent’ with them.”

For his later Salvages series, instead of copying, or “translating” a painting onto a canvas from a found object, Jess painted, or repainted, directly over his own earlier discarded canvases or paintings found in thrift shops. Leaving the thinner surface of the original painting bare in places, he built up a thicker layer of paint around fragments of the original images, adding texture and new images, encouraging unexpected meaning to develop. Like the Paste-Ups and Translations, the Salvages derive from images and texts found and saved, and add new beauty and mystery as the found materials are reinterpreted, expanding allegorical dimension in the process.

Jess on a beach near Pigeon Point biography

Narkissos, Jess’s most ambitious project, was begun in 1959 as a pencil drawing for a painting to be based on the myth of Narcissus but gradually evolved into a large scale mixed media work. It combines a monumental graphite rendering of the figure of Narcissus with pasted-up fragments of Jess’s own hand-drawn images as well as found sources of the Narcissus myth and its many iterations in literature, art and popular culture. The magnificent “unfinished” work is now in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Although it has often been written that Jess was a recluse who rarely left the house, in fact, though he did avoid crowds and large social gatherings, he was a domestic flaneur, a householder walking the streets of San Francisco to buy groceries, visit the post office, drop in on friends, lunch in his favorite Mission District eateries, and most importantly, to scavenge his way through the multitude of thrift and used book stores liberally sprinkled throughout the city in search of the materials that formed the foundation of nearly all his artwork. As he told Michael Auping when asked about the title of his Salvages painting series, “I’m always out shopping….Really all my work – Paste-Ups, Assemblies, Translations – comes from salvaging. I salvage loved images that for some reason have been discarded and I come across them…….I put forward a new layer of sentiment that, combined with the old, may hopefully allow the image to have a new life or at least a half-life.”

Jess 1994 biography

Aside from a period of travel with Duncan in the mid-fifties to Europe and Black Mountain College, Jess lived and worked in San Francisco for the remainder of his life. His large, Victorian home with Robert Duncan in the Mission District became a treasure house of art and literature, a household filled with artworks by Jess and their many friends, Robert Duncan’s vast library, their recorded music collection, and the many beautiful, rare and often slightly chipped or worn domestic objects salvaged from thrift shops with which they entertained their large but intimate circle of friends. In this home these two men, both passionately engaged with the world, created a world of imagination.

Jess’s first solo show was in 1950 at the Helvie Makela Gallery in San Francisco, soon followed by a show at the King Ubu Gallery, a small but important venue for alternative art founded in 1952 by Jess, Duncan and their close friend Harry Jacobus. Gradually Jess’s work became widely known through solo and group exhibitions in prestigious galleries and museums throughout the country. Works by Jess are now included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Musuem, The Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and numerous other major museums. Attention to his work continues to grow, most recently as a result of the touring exhibit, “An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle.” Acknowledging the mark of a painter whose work was nourished by a community of affection, art critic Peter Frank wrote, “He sought approval of his friends – as well he should, given their own poetic standards – but not of the art world; even so, his art paralleled and even anticipated so much of his time’s art.”

paste ups

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Studio Dumbar and Memphis/ Artifort

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In 1985 the design studio of Gert Dumbar was consigned a series of posters for Artifort furniture. At that time it was a totally new idea ( and certainly inspired by the Memphis design mouvement ) to ” shape” the posters and use special printing techniques to make them stand out. Dumbar succeeded and since these series of posters for Artifort have become higly collectible poster art and are sought after by collectors worldwide. www.ftn-books.com has two of these iconic posters now available at www.ftn-books.com

artifort hello a

artifort quadrio a

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Piet Dirkx weekly…. ZANNETTI

With this ZANNETTI name i found two items. The first was cheese flakes with the name of the producer Zannetti. The second is a brand name for exclusive watches. Bot have no resemblance at all with the art work Piet Dirkx presented with the name ” ZANNETTI”. it is a multi colored small beam with an egg hanging underneath it. . Long and lean , i found it very appealing when i bought it and since, it always has found a place in our homes. Here is ZANNETTI from 1994/1995

dirkx staaf ei

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Henk Peeters….ECHT HENK PEETERS

 

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A blog on a  very speciual multiple that was published on the occasion of the Henk Peeters Retrospective at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in 2011. On that occasion a reprint of the famous Nul/Zero 1964 catalogue was made in a small edition. It is the catalogue with the ZERO presentations by Armando, Peeters and Schoonhoven. All of these legendary artists have now passed away, but Peeters realized the importance of that catalogue and from that facsimile edition Peeters took some 20 copies and made multiples out of them by Stitching the front , back and inner work together and sign them with ECHT PEETERS. This has become one of the rarest of the later Peeters multiples and now one of those multiples is for sale at www.ftn-books.com

echt peeters bb.jpg

Henk Peeters (b. The Hague, 1925-2013)) was the most active member of the Dutch Nul group, notably with regard to the organization; he made the international contacts, organized the international ZERO (Nul) exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and wrote on the theory of art. It was also he who first actively participated in international exhibitions with artist groups such as the German ZERO, the Italian Azimuth, and with artists Yves Klein, Yayoi Kusama and Lucio Fontana. He initiated the (utopian) project “Zero on Sea,” with more than fifty participating artists from over ten countries, and remained true to the fundamental concept of the Nul movement right up to his death in 2013. He sought to use his works of art to make the viewer conscious of his environment; he wanted to bring about a sensitive consciousness-raising, as it were. The materials that Peeters selected for his works frequently had a very tactile appeal, while he simultaneously created a certain untouchability; thus he stuck candle tapers behind plastic foil, or placed mesh in front of cotton wool. He also used fire on canvases, leaving behind traces of thick smoke, or burned holes into plastic, the so-called “Pyrographies.” With these – often white – works he was visually closely related to the German ZERO artists, but there was also a clear relationship with Nouveau Realisme; Peeters also used ready-mades, which he bought in inexpensive stores and isolated in the work of art. In these, he had a preference for modern, clean, industrial materials, such as plastic and nylon. He once said: “with my work, I have always wanted it to look just as fresh as if it was in the HEMA (the Dutch chain store). It must not be artified… I had no need for artistic cotton wool.” Henk Peeters also worked with natural processes, such as light and water reflections, and with ice, rain, snow and mist. Art and life should be joined together inextricably. And thus, in 1961 Henk Peeters became a work of art himself, when Piero Manzoni appointed him as one; this was certified and signed by the Italian artist. Until his death (Hall (NL), 2013), Henk Peeters restored artworks from the Nul period and remained an active spokesman for the group.

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Lewin Alcopley (1910 – 1992)

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Do not make the mistake i originally made. Lewin Alcopley and Al Copley (cply) are 2 completely different artist where CPLY is rooted in the Pop Art scene. Alcopley is the more abstract artist and rooted in abstract expressionism.   I now have added one of the rarest of his publication to the inventory of www.ftn-books.com. It is a book published in a roman numbered edition by galerie Parnass in 1961 and one of only 65 roman numbered copies which contains, beside 32 prints in black on white paper, a beautiful and impressive lithograph used as special cover. Book in slipcase and signed by the artist and author. Numbered in inkt. This book is numberXXXIX from LXV This book is very special and an absolute must have for the serious Alcopley collector.

copley voies s

 

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the “Billy Rose sculpture garden” at the Israel Museum

I have never visted Jerusalem, but because of a recent acquisition for my inventory i want to share the experience of an actual visitor to the garden who truly enjoyed it. The catalogue of the sculpture garden is available at www.ftn-books.com

billy rose

It was a sunny Sunday morning, and I was strolling through a peaceful garden. This was the Billy Rose Art Garden, in the grounds of Jerusalem’s Israel Museum. The Museum has some impressive exhibits, including the Dead Sea Scrolls and extensive collections of art and archaeology. But the Scrolls would have to wait for another time: I was here for the sculpture.

Walking Through the Billy Rose Art Garden

I had the garden almost to myself. The sounds of birdsong and distant church bells competed for my attention. The paths were lined with fragrant plants. And there were sculptures everywhere, in perfect harmony with their surroundings.

Completed in 1965, the Billy Rose Art Garden was the work of Isamu Noguchi, an American sculptor. He followed the principles of Zen design, using a variety of different materials such as concrete, gravel and water, and featuring mostly native plants. The garden is set on a steep hillside, so that panoramic views of the city are incorporated into the landscape.

Sculptures Old and New

Some of the sculptures are by well known artists. As you enter the garden you are greeted by a statue of Adam by Auguste Rodin. Later on, a sculpture by Henry Moore poses against the city skyline. But others are more modern, often by contemporary Israeli sculptors. There is a giant stainless steel apple core, and the appropriately named “Turning the World Upside Down”, which reflects and inverts its surroundings.

The modern sculptures have not always been admired by everyone. It is said that Billy Rose, the American showman who founded and gave his name to the garden, commented that they should be “melted down for bullets”! Modern visitors might well disagree. For myself, I enjoyed the juxtaposition of old and new, and the pleasure of turning every corner to find something different.