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Henri-Edmond Cross (1856-1910)

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Why I did not think of Cross before I do not know, but it is a fact that Cross is at least as import as Maximilien Luce (he painted the portrait above this blog) and Henri Le Sidaner. His name did not become the household name like the ones of Seurat and Signac became, but his works are not less important than the ones by these. Cross his works are more intimate and reflect nature mainly of the French South Coast.

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Cross became in his time one of the artists who embraced neo-impressionism and the pointillist way of painting.

Cross’s paintings of the early- to mid-1890s are characteristically Pointillist, with closely and regularly positioned tiny dots of colour. Beginning around 1895, he gradually shifted his technique, instead of using broad, blocky brushstrokes and leaving small areas of exposed bare canvas between the strokes. The resulting surfaces resembled mosaics,and the paintings may be seen as precursors to Fauvism and Cubism In the Pointillist style, minute spots of paint were used to blend colours harmoniously.

What most people do not know is that Henri Matisse was a great admirer of Henri-Edmond Cross and that the influence of Cross can be discovered in the early paintings of Matisse. This alone makes Cross of importance in Art’s history.

www.ftn-books.com has a nice title on his sketches available

cross a

 

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Roger Raveel archive

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Last month I aquired a small Roger Raveel archive, containing invitations, posters, small gallery booklets and a newspaper, from a Raveel collector who had sold his collection. Over 25 items were in the archive all in excellent condition and historically of importance. I have listed these items over the last 3 days on www.ftn-books.com and for those of you who are interested in Raveel there must be some interesting items among them. If any of you want to buy the complete archive do not hesitate to contact me at ftnbooksandart@gmail.com and i wil make you a special offer.

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Janine Schrijver (1966)

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Janine Schrijver (1966)  researches the relation between people and their surroundings. She searches for little signs of human contact and thus series of photographs came to exist which show daily life in the Netherlands during the last 3 decades. An interesting oeuvre of photographs in the tradition Ed van der Elsken made his photographs in the late Fifties, Sixties and early Seventies. I can recommend the book FOREVER YOUNG ( available at http://www.ftn-books.com). It contains photographs of people in the age of 55+ celebrating life in their own ways.

schrijver forever

 

 

 

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PTT…Operatie bedrijfsstijl 1988/1989

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It took over 2 years to realize and implement a new style for PTT NEDERLAND. This took place at the end of the Eighties and after many years of preparations, this completely new style for the dutch company was effective by the end of 1989.  I counted almost 180 people who were involved in executing this operation. The result was another new and completely modern, almost timeless house style, after many years of illustrious and classic house styles  ( Piet Zwart ao) . Another classic and impressive house style was realized. Studio Dumbar was responsible for this new dutch design classic and it was the last house style before PTT was split up into a number of private companies of which KPN and TPG were the main ones.

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With this split up the design department for which PTT was famous, ceased to exist. This department was solely responsible for many of the designs for which PTT became famous. Piet Zwart would not have had the chances as a graphic designer were it not for the orders PTT has given him. The portrait at the head of this article is the self-portrait of Piet Zwart. The greatest of all PTT designers.

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http://www.ftn-books.com has the beautiful publication on this change of house style of PTT , published by PTT publishing, with the text of Paul Hefting available.

ptt huisstijl a

 

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Atze Haytsma (1929)

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Born in Amersfoort this little known photographer is still working.

Haytsma has become known for his nude photography in which he shapes the body into almost abstract forms. Inspired by the greats of all nude photographers like Bill Brandt and Lucien Clergue, his nudes are almost always made in a studio setting.

The difference is therefore the way light in the photograph is used . He can set up his studio lights in a way that is never possible when photographing outside. Personally i prefer the natural light of the outside photography, but that does not mean that i am not attracted to the photographs of Haytsma. His photographs still have a quality of their own, making these highly collectable items at a reasonable price. This is an artist to watch whenever an item appears on an online auction site. The ATZE book is available at www.ftn-books.com

Atze Haytsma (1929) was educated to be a sculptor. At fourteen years old he started his professional career as an assistant of Geert Marree, just before the Dutch famine of 1944. After that he studied at the Applied Art School and the State Academy of Expressive Arts. He also learned how to glaze and work with modelling clay in a pottery to finally produce the designs of sculptors such as Bill Couzijn, Carel Kneulman, Marie Andriesse and many others. Basically everything in his life revolves around shape. Where he used to work with stone, he now, because of his age, works only with wax. But it has always been about the shape of a woman’s body.

atze

Photographing women became an essential part of his life. It all began when he started to teach portrait and model moulding. At first he used nude models in the classes, but when the school could no longer afford to pay for the models, Atze started to photograph women and used the pictures as reference material for his students. They posed for him at his home, in the -presence of Atze’s wife, Mieke, who was a painter. First, they were students of the art academy he was teaching at, but by word of mouth the list grew longer through the years.

Around the age of sixty, Atze quit teaching. He then started to create small sculptures. He did this without a model; the female body was imprinted in his head in such a way, that he did not need a model. However, the longing to photograph women remained. Since then, Atze has been working in a pocket-sized attic, with construction lamps as lighting. He started out with two cameras, but soon needed others, because of the use of different lenses. By now he has eight of them, all Mamiya and Rolleiflex cameras, purchased for a small price at the end of the analogue era, when everyone switched to using digital cameras. Twin-lens reflex cameras for a 6 x 6 cm picture size on a 120 mm roll-film. Cameras that should be handled with caution, perfectly suitable for portrait and model photography because of their precision and handy size. Ideal for Atze, who has a soft, modest, almost shy personality. Using a Rolleiflex camera, you look down, into the waist-level finder, indirect, much more pleasant for the model. Instead of piercing, probing eyes she sees a head humbly bowed. The camera, placed on a tripod, is deliberately at about the same height as the top of the sofa bed. Atze does not for a moment want to give the models the feeling he is looking down on them.

The models are amateurs. Just women he met or who were referred to him. He will never ask someone himself, he does not have the courage. Maybe after a second posing session he could ask: ‘Will you come again?’. Sometimes he only speaks to them over the telephone and sees them for the first time when they walk through the door. The first time, they are a bit uneasy and nervous. Atze himself is relaxed, because he has been working with nude models his whole life. Atze always asks new models to come and see his photographs first so they can decide after that. If you feel that you are too fat or not pretty enough, he reassures them. A roll of fat or a skin crease can heavenly divide the body.

Posing for the first time the woman sits uncertainly on the corner of the sofa bed. ‘Just let yourself fall on the sofa,’ is Atze’s friendly advice. Followed by: ‘Beautiful, keep it like that’. That is how it starts and it doesn’t get more complicated then: ‘Can you turn around’, ‘Stretch a little more’ or ‘Can you crouch’. Photographs improve when a woman is aware of her body. He wants to give as few directions as possible, because it is all about interaction. A few words suffice.

He always photographs his women naked. Atze sees clothing as a kind of mask, so he wants his models to take it off. The absence of jewellery and other modern body embellishments make the images look like they could have been taken in the 1930ties.

Atze keeps his sculptures anonymous. Because a face has such a different expression than a body, he keeps the face out of the picture. Sometimes if a model lies in such a way that her eyes are prominent, he asks her to look at the lens and takes a portrait as a present for the model.

The pictures are a mirror image of Atze’s softness and admiration. The women show themselves unrestrainedly, bask in his gaze, let his eyes caress them. It is about surrender and relief. From Atze’s side, it is reverence for a woman’s body. And a kind of eagerness. If it is there, he wants to capture it.

For 25 years Atze has been capturing the tangible in moulding clay, the visible in photography and his thoughts in poetry. Three things that are inseparably linked.

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Aernout Mik (1962)

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Once again a dutch artist. Aernout Mik…. Not that well known in the Netherlands but one look at his biography shows that his fame is truly international. Exhibitions and Video installations all over the world of which the exhibition at MOMA is perhaps his ultimate achievement until this date  (catalogue available at http://www.ftn-books.com). His video installations leave you with a sense of unease.

Look at this video in which Aernout Mik ao. explains the setting of his exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Mik is an artist who can not be explained. You have to look at his videos for yourself and wonder afterwards what the effect of the video has been. another exasmple is this SPEAKING IN TONGUES;

the MOMA Aernout Mik catalogue is available at http://www.ftn-books.com

aernout mik

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Guido Strazza (1922)

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One of the grand old masters in Italian modern art is Guido Strazza. His works remind me of the ones Hans Harting made during the Sixties, but these are different….more spontaneous and they have a lighter touch. Perhaps this is because his graphic works has a kind of transparency which is rare. thin lines , scattered in a pattern. like a mikado game transformed into art.

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This rare quality was recognized by Willem Sandberg who held an exhibition with Strazza in 1961 at the Stedelijk Museum ( catalogue available at www.ftn-books.com)/

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In the Seventies and early Eighties Strazza was almost forgotten, but lately his works are in fashion again. These are abstract works that tend to Minimalism and perhaps that is the reason why Strazza is becoming more popular by the year. The result several publications and some major exhibitions with his works.

 

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Amédée Cortier (1921-1976)

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This blog on Cortier is long due. I love Cortier and because his publications are scarce I almost forgot about him, but now that I have found the most important Cortier publication on his abstract works it is time to devote a blog to Amédée Cortier.  The book is on his abstract works and even contains a chapter on Cortier written by one of all times best curators …Jan Hoet.

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From 1936 to 1942, Amédée Cortier enjoys his training at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent. On the one hand, his oeuvre consists of paintings that he makes in various media (acrylic, oil, gouache, aquarelle, India ink or bistre, among others) on panel, paper or cardboard. On the other hand, he makes pen drawings, reliefs and models. Around 1950, influenced by the exhibition Le Cercle Artistique (Ghent, 1949), he applies himself to a short-lived geometric-abstract experiment, but decides after this to return to embrace his figurative visual language. He begins with painting rural scenes (1940), still lives and portraits of women (1950), and evolves towards a stark, simplified figurative language in schematic compositions. André Lothe (1885 – 1962) exerts an important influence on him with his Traité de la figure (1950) and Traité du paysage (1939). Around 1964 Cortier begins to paint resolute abstract and from 1966 – 1967 he favours colour over the relations between the forms. The transition to acrylic paint is to be understood in the same context. This medium helps him to heighten the intensity of his colours. His stark works are witness to a sense of natural law, but also leave room for intuition. Ultimately Cortier changes over to monochrome, by which he creates mutually coherent ensembles in the form of diptychs and triptychs. With his reliefs (1968), he evolves from the traditional painting to painting as object. Beginning in the 1970’s his work is completely dominated by colour, built up around a stark composition and a unity between colour and form. He gains public recognition with these works.

Cortier sees his own oeuvre confirmed in the work by the artist Ellsworth Kelly (1923 – 2015). Under the impulse of Peter Struycken (1939) he meets Kelly in 1976. As a member of Het Antenneke, his fascination grows for the Golden Ratio, an important compositional rule in his oeuvre. His friendship with Yves De Smet (1946 – 2004) is of crucial importance for his artistic career. He is not only a like-minded artist friend, but is also an important promoter and organiser of exhibitions dedicated to Cortier, such as Horizonnen & horizontalen (Horizons & horizontals) (1976). Cortier becomes a member of the Ghent group organised by De Smet called Plus-Groep, a collective of Ghent constructivists that are seeking the unity between form and colour. Via Plus-Kern – Centre for Constructive Design, established by De Smet and others in 1969, Cortier is actively promoted. This occurs through the medium of publications such as Plus-Nieuws, though also through participation in international exhibitions. In 1973 he is internationally recognised with the Sikken Prize.

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George Hendrik Breitner (1857-1923)…continued

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Over 3 years ago I wrote a short blog on Breitner in which i wrote about his models and his Japanese Kimono painting. This blog is on another aspect of his artist life.

Breitner is known to have been one of the very first artists who used photography as a means for composing his paintings. The photographs he made were for him like sketches he made in the streets. These early days of photography everything was different…ni camera phones but large camera’s with sensitive plates, but the result was not only historically of importance but showed great artistry.

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This quality is now recognized of one of the very important aspects of his artist life and many of his photographs are now in public collections being a part of the heritage of the complete artist George Hendrik Breitner was. He was one of the very first street photographers in the world.

www.ftn-books.com has some Breitner photography books available.

 

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Heimo Zobernig (1958)

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The catalogue i have available on this artist shows why he is appreciated as an artists. It shows why he is considered a multi-disciplined artist. Sculpture, design, painting etc. …all disciplines and aspects of Modern art come along in his works.

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Heimo Zobernig is a contemporary Austrian artist working across media—painting, sculpture, film, performance, and more—to create a completely interdisciplinary Postmodern practice. Known for his treatment of colour within his abstract works, Zobernig blends elements of Minimalism with expressive brushstrokes, geometry, or typography while retaining an emphasis kept on the grid and the monochrome. Born on April 30, 1958 in Mauthen, Austria, he studied at both the Akademie der bildenden Künste and Hochschule fur Angewandte Kunst in Vienna, where he currently lives and works. He created work for the Austrian Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale. Zobernig has commented, “there are moments when I really enjoy being an artist, but I also appreciate those moments when I completely forget about it.”

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The book is available at www.ftn-books.com