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A recently discovered Mondrian

A few weeks ago i read an article by the  “de Speld”  ( it is an almost daily article on the backpages of the VOLKSKRANT paper), that a recently discovered Mondrian was presented to the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag to further complete its large Mondrian collection .

mondriaan smurf

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Louis Icart (1888-1950)

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Another French Art deco artist to write about is the less famous, but very much intriguing Louis Icart,

He was best known for his drawings of glamorous women—often erotic or mildly humorous in tone—as well as for his depictions of 1920s Paris life. He was born in Toulouse, France in 1888, and began drawing at a young age. In 1907, he moved to Paris and began studying painting, drawing, and printmaking. Influenced by Jean Antoine Watteau, François Boucher, and Jean Honoré Fragonard, he became a major figure of the Art Deco period, with his work surging in popularity in both the United States and Europe throughout the 1920s and 1930s. He also worked as a designer in fashion studios during a time when the industry was undergoing a major change, moving away from the conservatism of the 19th century towards a more progressive simplicity. He died on December 20, 1950, at his home in Paris, France.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice publications on Icart available.

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Karl Jakob Hirsch (1892-1952)

They even  have a resemblance. Hirsch and Mahler admired each other and this resulted in a series of impressive etchings specially made for the Mahler Lieder.

This series of etchings was published in a special portfolio in the series AUS WORPSWEDE 9. Nothing fancy , but important and together with the text of the songs these etching make a very strong artistic impression. The portfolio contains 8 songtexts together with 8 etching by Hirsch and is available at www.ftn-books.

hirsch a

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Piet Dirkx weekly

An Arti Capelli invitation ( ca. 1990). A home made special with a color photograph underneath the see through sheet with text.

dirkx capelli

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Kitaj (1932-2007)

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Robert Brooks Kitaj was born in the US but his art is closely related to the British Pop Art. I am writing this blog because i recently acquired a german catalogue on his exhibition at the Kunsthalle Dusseldorf and i was impressed. Later i learned that Kitaj received a lot of criticism on his art as the press slaughtered his exhibition at the Tate gallery in 1994. Her is what i found on Wikipedia

A second retrospective was staged at the Tate Gallery in 1994. Critical reviews in London were almost universally negative. British press savagely attacked the Tate exhibit, calling Kitaj a pretentious poseur who engaged in name dropping. Kitaj took the criticism very personally, declaring that “anti-intellectualism, anti-Americanism, and anti-Semitism” had fueled the vitriol. Despite the bad reviews, the exhibition moved to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and afterwards to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1995. His second wife, Sandra Fisher died from hyperacute haemorrhagic leuco-encephalitis in 1994, shortly after his exhibition at the Tate Gallery had ended. He blamed the British press for her death, stating that “they were aiming for me, but they got her instead.” David Hockney concurred and said that he too believed the London art critics had killed Sandra Fisher.[14] Kitaj returned to the US in 1997 and settled in Los Angeles, near his first son. “When my Wife died”, he wrote to Edward Chaney, “London died for me and I returned home to California to live among sons and grandsons – It was a very good move and now I begin my 3rd and (last?) ACT! hands across The Sea.” Three years later he wrote: “I grow older every day and rather like my hermit life.” The “Tate War” and Sandra’s death became a central themes for his later works: he often depicted himself and his deceased wife as angels. In Los Angeles No. 22 (Painting-Drawing) the beautiful young (and naked) girl records the shadow of her aged lover (on whose lap she sits) in a pose directly taken from the Scots Grand Tourist David Allan’s Origin of Painting. The latter was included by Ernst Gombrich in his 1995 National Gallery exhibition (and catalogue) on Shadows so that Kitaj would have seen it two years before he left England for ever. 

Personally i think the critics are wrong. Kitaj deserves his place among the great European Pop Art artists and the future exhibitions that will include his works will probably prove me right. Some Kitaj catalogues are availableat http://www.ftn-books.com

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Piet Mondriaan, studio Rue du Départ

Piet Mondriaan was famous for his studios he occupied in Paris and New York and his Paris studio at the Rue du Départ was even a subject for a special exhibition at the Beurs van Berlage who had it rebuild in their main hall in 1994.

With the exhibition they produced together with the Benschop architects an impressive model kit of the studio, which even contains some of the paintings Mondriaan made in this famous studio. During the Nineties some of the DE STIJL icons were produced in Model Kit versions ( Meudon, Rietveldhuis) but this is probably the rarest of them al, since i understand it was not sold, but only presented to the sponsor and its relations. Now for sale at www.ftn-books.com

mondrian depart

 

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Helmut Dirnaichner (1942)

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Abstract and Konkret. These elements define the works of Helmut Dirnaichner.

A life filled with abstract art of the highest quality, but the people that have heard of Dirnaichner are not too many. His name is hardly known among art lovers, but his works deserve to be known better. I personally make the comparison with the Belgium Marte Wery, who , during her life was only known by a few art lovers outside Belgium, but nowadays her importance is growing and she is recognized as one of the greatest from the last 50 years.

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Dirnaichner will have possibly the same status in the future. His art is original , colorful and Contemporary, making these works fashionable even if they are 30 years of age.

www.ftn-books.com has a scarce Dirnaichner publication available.

Dirnaichner

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Cor van Dijk (1952)

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It took me along time to fianally appreciate the sculptures by van Dijk. At first i thought them to be too much copies of Judd sculptures, but i discovered them to be completely different. Why….surface , composition and construction differ from the one by Donald Judd. Still i consider his sculptures to be Minimal art and not constructivist.

 

He was  born in 1952 in Pernis, is a Dutch artist. The steel sculptures of Cor van Dijk are characterised by clear lines and geometric shapes. From first stages of their design, the material used for these works – steel – and their realisation are inextricably linked. To create his work, the artist uses separate sheets of solid steel, which he joins together with extreme precision. Van Dijk bases the dimensions of his sculptures on the standard gauge of the sheet metal. As a result, the mill scale found on the rolled steel is left intact in the finished works.

Viewing Van Dijk’s sculptures, one’s eyes constantly move across their surface and one’s attention keeps shifting from areas of open space to sections that take up space. The seams between the different segments play a key role in the works, since they lend a sense of scale to the mass of steel and define its different volumes. The artist strives to show interior space – its layout, possible compartments, the spaces between the segments and the massive quality of the steel itself. The different dimensions all interact with one another. Ultimately, this is also what gives the sculptures their specific presence: the precise handling of volumes and the perfect connection of individual sections in space. Each newly-realised concept is intended to bring even greater clarity to the context of the preceding work – while also pointing ahead, suggesting new concepts that are still waiting to be developed.

Van Dijk’s most recent sculptures comprise a single segment. The location of the open space and its dimensions determine the scale of the work as a whole. The result is an object in which mass (matter) and open space interact more intensively than ever before. In technical terms, the steel used for the sculptures shows no traces of machining or processing. Thanks to their mass, the open space and the interaction of these two elements, these tranquil objects seem to speak directly to the viewer.

www.ftn-books.com has the monograph on van Dijk now for sale

cor van dijk

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Teun Hocks (1947)

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Teun Hocks. Is it staged photography or is it painting on photographs. It is a combination of both and the result is always absurd. Like Magritte he sketches a scene which is impossible , but pushes you to discover the meaning of the composition and look for the sabsurd and surreal in the painting/photograph. Hocks has build an oeuvre with these compositions and always plays a part in them.

He is an artist who creates self portraits with the utmost charm. “In my images I aim to achieve not so much, offering a mirror sometimes, or/and gaining a smile, and maybe a good feeling,” Teun tells It’s Nice That. This is a refreshingly humble aim, and one that is achieved with heart-warming artworks despite their surrealist edge.

The artworks featured are each part of Teun’s Analogue Works painted pieces that are the result of a thorough process from the artist. “First I start out with almost no ideas, or vague ones, drawing thoughts I have about all kinds of situations that get me dreaming.” The artist explains that once he is settled upon a concept, “I build and paint a setting, checking and controlling everything by taking digital photos to compare to my drawings”.

Next, once a desired light is found, “I take my place, and start to take polaroids (using a self-timer and longer cable release). If I am satisfied with the result I take eight photos on 6×9cm black and white film. Looking at the contact sheet, I decide which negative is the one to print. If not I start all over again.” This extensive process doesn’t stop there either. “I make three large black and white prints on fibre-based photographic paper, tone them to sepia, glue them on aluminium and start to colour them with transparent oil paint.”

The result of Teun’s perfectionism is a series of artworks that leave the viewer bewildered. Are they paintings? Are they photographs? The answer as the artist explains is both, and his ability to merge the mediums flawlessly is brilliantly baffling.

 

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Piet Dirkx weekly

Another beautiful Christmas/New Years card for 2008. In the bottom of the photograph are 4 drawings of Piet Dirkx ” flowers”

dirkx ny 2008

dirkx ny 2008 b