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Kuno Gonschior (1933-2010)

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Inspired by the theories of Josef Albers Kuno Gonschior found a style  with is original and very much made this his way of expressing himself on canvas.
From 1957 to 1961, Gonschior studied painting at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. In 1959, he was one of the first students of Karl Otto Götz, his classmates being Gotthard Graubner and HA Schult. From 1961 to 1963 he studied at the University of Cologne. In 1972, he became lecturer at the Pädagogische Hochschule Münster. From 1982 to 2000, he was a professor of painting at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Berlin.

Gonschior’s early work with its intuitive, almost monochrome strokes of the brush was influenced by Götz’s abstract style. Later, during the 1960s, he created paintings out of characteristic dots placed next to each other, combining fluorescent, complementary colors such as red and green. As a result, extreme vibrations are triggered in the human eye. He also painted large, abstract landscapes merging and melting thick paint in rich colors. Furthermore, he was inspired by the color theories of Josef Albers. From 1968, he created colored multi-room installations.

In 1977, the artist participated in the documenta 6 in Kassel. After that date, he primarily exhibited in the USA and in Japan. In 1999, he received the Deutscher Kritikerpreis.

www.ftn-books.com has one of the most important Gonschior publictions in stock. An exhibition he made together with Dadamaino, Letto, Ludwig adn Tornquist.

team colore a

 

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Jan Commandeur (1954)

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Another painter from my generation is Jan Commandeur. Abstract lyrical work which is rooted in nature. Shadows and spots of light play with each other on his canvasses. Bright and dark places are depicted, but combined in an abstract way making the paintings related to nature, but purely abstract in its composition. A fascinating way of painting and because of their size very impressive.

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FTN books has a very nice designed catalogue on Commandeur available at www.ftn-books.com

commandeur grijs

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Georges Rouault (1871-1958)

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When i mention the names Matisse and Marquet you will probably draw the conclusion that i want to write a blog on Fauvism, But no, these names, together with Manguin and Camoin, belong to the circle of friends around Georges Rouaul. Who certainly was also influenced by them, but distilled from their ideas a style of his own. An expressionist way of painting which was highly influenced by religion. Rouault is one of thsoe artist who believed that his painting was a way of devotion. The Christian faith informed his work in his search for inspiration and marks him out as perhaps the most passionate Christian artist of the 20th century: first of all, in the theme of the passion of Christ. The face of Jesus and the cries of the women at the feet of the cross are symbols of the pain of the world, which for Rouault was relieved by belief in resurrection. Perhaps this is the reason why i do not like his work that much. It is not that i oppose to religion in art ( i like the way Muilwijk and Mulders use religion in their art) but his paintings are dark and troublesome and hardly positive. In many cases you can feel and experience the pain. That is perhaps the reason why these paintings still have a quality of their own, but for me personally they are “diificult” and dark paintings and not the ones i will search for in a museum. www.ftn-books.com has some Rouault titles available.

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Edward Burra (1905-1976)

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One of the nice side effects of being artbook dealer is that you still “discover” artists which were not known to you before you started with the inventory at www.ftn-books.

One of these artist is Britisch born Edward Burra. A painte who at first glance reminded me of Beckmann and Hopper, but studying the Lefevere catalogue which is available at www.ftn-books.com revealed a totally original artist.

burra

Burra was a British painter and printmaker best known for his large-scale watercolor paintings, as well as for his landscapes and still lifes. The artist depicted scenes of the seedy urban underbelly and African-American culture during the 1930s in Harlem, NY. Born on March 29, 1905 in London, United Kingdom, Burra studied at the Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art under Randolph Schwabe and Raymond Coxon. He frequently collaborated with artist Paul Nash and was part of Nash’s Unit One, a British group of Modernist artists that included John Armstrong, Frances Mary Hodgkins, and Henry Moore. Burra was an avid traveler, but following the outbreak of World War II found himself unable to leave the country. During this period, the artist found success designing scenery and costumes for opera, ballet, and theater. The artist died on October 22, 1976 in Hastings, United Kingdom.Today, his works are included in the collections of the Tate Gallery in London, the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others and that is probably the reason why i never heard of him before, since his work is not to be discovered outside the UK.

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A discussion at the breakfast table….

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A few weeks ago, my wife Linda and i were having breakfast and she noticed the painting “Songbird” from 1982 by Bridget Riley. She immediately, knowing my taste in art, made the remark that this was one i would certainly admire, but now the question she posed me……she asked  “WHY is this a beautiful painting”   and i must confess i did not have an answer to it. I thought about this question a couple of days and asked myself …..why is an object beautiful? You can follow others in their opinions and make this opinion your own opinion. Another way is recognizing quality by technique, originality or by its contents and their messages, but an abstract painting like the one by Riley does not have a message nor is its technique something special.

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So it must be their feel they are transferring . This way being unique in composition, size and its use of colors amplifies this feeling. It is the package that appeals and the less frills a package has the more appealing it is to me and perhaps that is what i like so much about Minimal art. Abstract art is about feeling and experience and that makes is so hard to describe.

BTW. The painting was sold at the special George Michael collection at Christies on the 15th of March. Originally it was hanging above a fire place, which certainly means that it will not be in pristine condition.

This Riley Leporello is available at www.ftn-books.com

riley sikkens e

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Sam Francis (1923-1994)

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Sam Francis is a subject for a blog a long time overdue. Since i have been admiring the works by Sam Francis for many years now and of course there is a special connection with the Netherlands, because he has had many solo exhibitions in this country for over 30 years and not at the less important museums and galleries but at the very best ones. First there is of course the exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum with the beautiful Wim Crouwel designed catalogue. secondly there are the gallery exhibitions at gallery Delaive and third there is the Museum van der Togt/Cobra Museum exhibition. All of these exhibitions were accompagnied by beautiful large catalogues and available at www.ftn-books.com

My first interest in Sam Francis was raised in the early Nineties when i collected Swatch watches. Together with my brother in law we searched for the earliest of these watches and bought, collected and resiold them and one of these watches was a Christmas special by Sam Francis. We had multiple copies of this rare watch and the last one was sold some 5 years ago. Still whenever i hear the name Sam Francis i am reminded of this swatch collection. But from that time on i noticed that there is more to Sam Francis than just his Swatch watch. Just read this short biography which can be found on the Sam Francis site too:

Sam Francis (1923 – 1994) occupies a prominent position in post-war American painting. Although associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement and Clement Greenberg’s Post-Painterly Abstraction, unlike many American painters of he time he had direct and prolonged exposure to French painting and to Japanese art which had an individual impact on his work.

On leaving the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1944 owing to illness Francis took up painting as a hobby. He decided to make this a serious undertaking studying under David Park in 1947 and completed his BA and MA at the University of California. He was greatly influenced by Abstract Expressionism particularly the works of Clyfford Still and Jackson Pollock. In his use of space on the canvas to allow free circulation of strong colour and the sensitivity to light Francis developed his own style by the time his studies had ended.

Francis moved to Paris in 1950 where he met Jean-Paul Riopelle who was to remain an important influence, and study of Monet’s Waterlilies had a profound impact on his work. From a very muted palette of greys and whites he returned to the qualities of light and colour producing such works as Big Red 1953. He continues to develop the use of white space and increased the dimensions of his paintings for greater emphasis. During his period in Europe he executed a number of monumental mural paintings.

Francis returned to California in 1962 and was then influenced by the West Coast School’s preoccupation with mysticism and Eastern philosophy. Blue had become a more dominant feature of his work since 1959 inspired by personal suffering and the great joy of becoming a father for the first time in 1961. This led to combinations of hard colour and more disciplined structures with centrally placed rectangles during the 1970s. Eventually these more rigid structures gave way to looser configurations sometimes of snake-like forms with web-like patterns. Blue, sometimes brilliant, remained an important part of many later works.

The above publications and other Sam Francis publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Piet Dirkx weekly

…..and the third encaustiek. A small, but rather spectacular shaped yellow composition.

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Hiroshi Sugimoto (1947)….杉本博司

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A few days ago i read an article on the portraits by Hiroshi Sugimoto and i remembered the book i had available at www.ftn-books.com. I searched for it and looked through it and noticed that style wise there is no difference the photographs he makes presently compared to the ones he made some 20 years ago. These photographs are truly fascinating and prove that Hiroshi Sugimoto is an outstanding photographer.

Here follows the article by Spencer Bokat-Lindell who makes his observations on the recently published “Portraits” book by Sugimoto.

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Hiroshi Sugimoto has spent a career photographing fictions. When he moved to New York from Japan in 1974, by way of Los Angeles, he intended to find work as a wedding photographer. Instead, he took his camera to the Museum of Natural History, where he developed a lifelong fascination with dioramas. He photographed the taxidermy there, already frozen in their meticulously staged tableaux, and, as he writes, “I realized that I too could bring time to a stop. My camera could stop time in the dioramas—where time had already been halted once—for a second time.” This doubling of perspective, which has since become a signature of Sugimoto’s work, can produce unexpected and uncanny transformations: a 1976 photo from his “Dioramas” series, for example, shows a stuffed polar bear on a faux icescape, looming over a seal, its teeth bared, as though ready to strike. Twice removed from its natural setting, the scene unfreezes. It could easily be confused for a photo of a real bear, a real icescape. “My life as an artist began,” Sugimoto writes, “when I saw with my own eyes that I had succeeded in bringing the bear back to life on film.”

Sugimoto achieves similar feats in his latest collection, “Portraits,” which will publish this month. For this series, Sugimoto traveled to the Madame Tussauds wax museums in London and Amsterdam, where he selected subjects that span some two thousand years of history. As in his Diorama series, the imposition of photographic distance has a kind of embalming effect on Sugimoto’s subjects, rendered somehow more lifelike in the act of preservation. “Photographs,” Susan Sontag once wrote, “are a way of imprisoning reality.” But in Portraits, Sugimoto uses his camera to opposite effect, creating counterfeit realities that give history back to the dead: “However fake the subject,” he writes, “once photographed, it’s as good as real.”—Spencer Bokat-Lindell

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Hildo Krop (1884-1970)

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Hildo Krop is truly the one and only city sculptor of the city of AMsterdam. When you see an ornament at a building or a statue on a square there is a fair chance that it was done by Hildo Krop. Krop was active in the period that Amsteram had its biggest growth .

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It was in preparation of the Olympic games of 1928 and many new buildings and parks were built in those days and if one wanted to make them more beautiful with a sclpture or statue, Hildo Krop was the artist of choice for many new projects in those days.

This was recognized by the Stedelijk Museum who devoted an exhibition to Krop in 1964 and had Wim Crouwel design the catalogue with the exhibition. Since that year there has been a growth of interest in Hildo Krop as an artist which resulted in a Museum devoted to Hildo Krop….location Amsterdam and on the internet at : http://hildokrop.nl

The Wim Crouwel publication is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Attersee (1940)

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Christian Ludwig Attersee is a contemporary Austrian artist. Working in an interdisciplinary practice that combines music, speech, photography, and video, the primary tenet of Attersee’s art is painting. His Neo-Expressionist canvases are rendered with vibrant color, blending abstract form and space with representational images related to the human figure, music, literature, and sexuality. Describing his efforts as an attempt to create a new artistic medium, his work often contains fantastical object inventions. Born on August 28, 1940 in Bratislava, Austria, he is considered one of the foremost contemporary artists of his home country, and represented Austria at the Venice Biennial in 1984. He has been the subject of over 500 solo exhibitions throughout Europe and the United states, and is the recipient of the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art.

This is how Artnet describes Attersee however there is more to the art of Christian Ludwig Attersee, because both the Groninger Museum and Stedelijk Museum have art by Attersee in their collections and the Stedelijk Museum devoted a special exhibition to the artist. An exhibition initiated by Rudi Fuchs who is a longtime admirer of the artist. Together with Brus and Nitsch , Attersee i becoming increasingly more important by the year.

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