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Hervé Di Rosa (1959)

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Di Rosa is the artist from the LIBERATION LIBRE group who arguably has been influenced the most by the original comic art from the previous French decades in comics. He even published some comics on his own. A bit like Raymond Pettibon also publishes his own comics. In an interview he tells the following to the interviewer:

“The great names in comics have affected me every bit as much as the great painters I love.” Growing up in the 1960s, relatively isolated in Sète on the French Mediterranean coast, Hervé Di Rosa got his culture fix from reproductions of fine art in books and from comics. “I saw no difference between them in scale or validity.” Starting to exhibit his art in 1980, Di Rosa with his brother Richard and Robert Combas drew on their passions for both art and pop culture to pioneer the radical French ‘Figuration Libre’ movement in the 1980s. Unlike most earlier Pop artists, who were not necessarily raised on comics, Di Rosa explains, “I don’t cite comics in a superficial way, I incorporate their techniques into my work.”

Personally i think the works by Di Rosa are too much like comics. I prefer the Combas works with the heavy outlines around his subjects , making his works stand out and recognized instantly. Still the Groninger Museum liked Di Rosa his works so much that they devoted a nice exhibition on Di Roda and published ” LES AVENTURES DE HERVE ET RICHARD ” in 1986. This and other Di Rosa publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Figuration Libre

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This week several blogs on “Figuration Libre” . It is the french counterpart of the mouvement which was led by haring, Scharf and Basquiat in the US, b ut with a difference, because , in my opinion, The Europeans? French were influenced by comis art from the Sixties and Seventies. The US artist did not have this legacy but invented a kind of street art on their own. Artistically more important but in many cases less pleasing to the eye.

Figuration Libre (“Free Figuration”) is a French art movement which began in the 1980s. It is the French equivalent of Bad Painting and Neo-expressionism in America and Europe, Junge Wilde in Germany and Transvanguardia in Italy. Arists in the movement typically incorporate elements of comic book art and graffiti into their work. They use bright colors and exaggerated, caricature-like figures.

The group was formed in 1981 by Robert Combas, Remi Blanchard, François Boisrond and Hervé Di Rosa. The term ‘Figuration Libre’ was coined by Fluxus artist Ben Vautier. Other figures include Richard Di Rosa and Louis Jammes. Between 1982 and 1985, these artists exhibited alongside their American counterparts Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Kenny Scharf in New York City, London, Pittsburgh and Paris.

Figuration Libre (Free Figuration) can be translated as “Free Style”.

Of course there is a reason to devote these blogs to Figuration Libre. I have acquired a small collection of important books by these artists which is now for sale at www.ftn-books.com

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Donald Janssen (1943)

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on Donald Janssen

Exhibition design is a relatively young design discipline that in recent decades has been developing strongly. Graphic and industrial designer Donald Janssen has for fifty years been part of this development, first as an independent designer and then with his design office in The Hague. In the 1970s he started as a freelance designer at the Haags Gemeentemuseum. Gradually several museums in the Netherlands and abroad followed, from which frequently long-term working relations emerged. He is a passionate designer who is constantly looking for new ways and sustainable solutions within the framework of a clear design concept.

This is an excerpt from an excellent series of blogs on great Dutch graphic designers. And Donald is certainly one of them. You can find the complete article on Donald Janssen at https://www.dutchgraphicroots.nl/?p=1757

and of course www.ftn-books.com has some very nice Donald Janssen designed books in its inventory

 

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Josephine Sloet (continued)

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Yesterday i visited the studio of Josephine Sloet to talk about the last couple of months and the future. She has had a very productive period while staying in France during last summer and i took the opportunity to photograph 2 of the completed 9 paintings and beside the already finished series of paintings, she told me that she has plans to make a series of smaller drawings in the coming months. I will make another appointment in the near future to photograph the other paintings made during last summer, but the 2 i have already photographed will be presented in the next couple of weeks. here is the first one:

title: Meeting of Leaves

size: 101 x 81 cm.

technique: acrylic on canvas

 

sloet leaves 2019 a

an impressive painting in a handy size.

for more information inquire at wvdelshout@ziggo.nl

 

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Two different Malevitch titles

On a recent book market visit i found 2 totally different publications on the same artist. Malevich being the subject it occurred to me that there was a great difference between both publications. One rather modern with the emphasize on his early works proved that the interest in his early works was not there from the early beginning. The other being earlier…. a Louisiana / Denmark Museum publication from 1959. Shows the influence of Willem Sandberg in its catalogue design and its approach is totally different. Only a few early works are depicted and the focus is on his Suprematist works, which were being discovered as highly important in those days. The ultimate “BLACK SQUARE” being the final result of his search in constructivist painting.

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These and other great Malevitch publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Charlotte Salomon (1917-1943)….Leben oder Theater

I remember it well. Together with a huge publicicty campaign the Book by Charlotte SALOMON, Leven of Theater? / Life or Theater? was published on a worldwide scale. In the Netherlands it was pub lished by Meulenhoff and in the US by Viking press. My estimate is that there were several 100K book printed and published, but it is remarkable that this title is a rare find nowadays. The one i finally have in my inventory is a 1st printing by the original publisher of the work GARY SCHWARZ. Book is in english and a highly collectable item. here is the blog from some years ago i wrote on Charlotte Salomon

The Joods Historisch Museum in Amsterdam shows the complete set of “LEBEN ODER THEATER” the magnificent works by Charlotte Salomon . It is the equivalent of a written diary of her life in Auschwitz before she was murdered. The complete original set is now on show at the Joods Historisch Museum until the 25th of March 2018, but…. not only the complete set is on show, there is another way of viewing the set…..for those who are interested and live to far away you can view the complete set at :

https://charlotte.jck.nl/section

This is what makes the internet worthwhile, so visit this site and convince yourself why this is not only a historical important work, but also a great work of art by a gifted artist.

www.ftn-books.com has the very rare first dutch publication on Charlotte Salomon availablle at www.ftn-books.com

charlotte salomon schwartz

 

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Günther Förg – Moskau / Moscow. 1995

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For many among us Günther Förg is the painter of lead surfaced paintings and one great print maker, but there is another quality in which he excels. Förg was a great photographer and made some high quality photo books on the almost forgotten ( Bauhaus )architecture of Tel Aviv and Moscow. The book on Tel Aviv i have sold a very long time ago, but was fortunate to find a Moscow copy with his photographs on a recent book market. This is a truly outstanding publication. Large sized , printed and published by Snoeck and of the highest print quality. The book shows the excellence of his photographs and makes you wonder why art lovers all over the world are not familiar with this part of Förg’s work.. The photographs look like still lives and do not only have an artistic quality but a historic quality too. Where the Tel Aviv book is of the highest quality, this Moscow book even looks better. It is a publication of a rare quality and a highly collectable photography/art book.

 

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Cesar Manrique (1919-1992)

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Because i encountered a nice publication on this obscure painter , i decided to write a blog on the artist. The main part of this text comes fromT the Cesar Manrique devoted site. They did an excellent job in making more information available on Manrique

César Manrique Cabrera was born on April 24,1919 in Puerto Naos, Arrecife (Lanzarote), the son of Francisca y Gumersindo. His father was a food merchant and his grandfather a notary public. César preceded his twin sister Amparo by just a few minutes. He had another sister and brother all of whom are alive today. Don Gumersindo came from Fuerteventura of good family background and emigrated to Lanzarote.

The Manriques constituted a typical middle class family, without financial burdens. In 1934, his father bought a lot in Caleta de Famara and built a house next to the ocean. This house left a visible impression that lasted his lifetime, he remembered with joy:” My greatest happiness is to recall a happy childhood,five month summer vacationsin the Caleta and the Famara beach, with its eight kilometers of clean and fine sand framed by cliffs of more than four hundred meters high that reflected on the beach like in a mirror. That image has been engraved in my soul as something of extraordinary beauty that I will never forget in all of my life.”

He participated as a volunteer in the Spanish Civil War on Franco’s side. His experience of the war was atrocious and he refused to talk about it. In the summer of 1939, once the war was over, César returned to Arrecife. He returned still wearing his military uniform. After greeting his mother and siblings, he went up on the flat roof, took off his clothes, agrily stepped over them, sprayed them with petroleun and burned them.

At the end of the Spanish Civil War, he entered the La Laguna University to study Technical Architecture, which he would abandon after two years. In 1945 he travels to Madrid and enters with a scholarship, to the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, where he would graduate as Art Professor and painter.

In the Fall of 1964, following the advise of his cousin Manuel Manrique, a New York Psychoanalyst and writer, Cesar traveled to that city where he stayed until the summer of 1966. He was the guest of Waldo Diaz-Balart, a Cuban painter, who lived in the Lower East Side, at the time, a neighborhood of artists, journalists, writers, and bohemians. Later he was able to obtain through his cousin Manuel’s friendship with the Director of the Institute of International Education, which was sponsored by Nelson Rockefeller. a generous grant which allowed him to rent his own studio and produce a number of paintings which he exhibited with success in the prestigious New York gallery “Catherine Viviano” .
While in New York, he would write his friend Pepe Dámaso “(…) more than ever I feel true nostalgia for the real meaning of things. For the pureness of the people. For the bareness of my landscape, and for my friends (…) My last conclusion is that MAN in N.Y. is like a rat. Man was not created for this artificiality. There is an imperative need to go back to the soil. Feel it, smell it. That’s what I feel.” He began to feel nostalgia for Lanzarote.

” When I returned from New York, I came with the intention of turning my native island into one of the more beautiful places in the planet, due to the endless possibilities that Lanzarote had to offer. ” .

And this is the present reality: It is impossible to imagine Lanzarote as it stands today without César Manrique. He was a painter, sculptor, architect, ecologist, monument preserver, construction advisor, planner of urban developments, outliner of landscapes and gardens.

Those who knew Manrique only superficially ignored the load of puritanism that ruled his conduct. Manrique was really a frugal man, he didn’t drink, didn’t smoke and didn’t allow others to smoke next to him, he regularly went to bed very early and got up at dawn, and began work in his studio very early.

He died at the age of 73 in a tragic car accident, on the 25 of September 1992, next to the Fundacion, near Arrecife. The irony of fate had it that he would encounter death in a car accident, as he loathed the massive amount of vehicles

www.ftn-books.com has the best publication on Cesar Manrique now available.

 

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A great Museum Alphabet book / 1995

 

museum alphabet.jpgIn the very long period that i am now active  as a bookseller and collector i have seen many Alphabet books published and sold by the most famous of museums. Arguably one of the best, and certainly a personal best was the one designed by Gracia Lebbink. ( i only have a personal copy in my collection) but recently i bought another MUSEUM ALPHABET book which is nice and adventurous. It is the book published by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The museum published a 30 page hard paged book with details of some of the highlights within the collection, making the very youthful in a playful way familiar with the Museums collection. The book was designed and “written” by Gisela Voss and published in 1995 and is well worth collecting.  There is nothing to be found on the internet on the author, but this book is one of a series of other books she made for the Boston Museum .This book is now available at www.ftn-books.com

museum alphabet b

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John Baldessari dies at the age of 88

A curious thing happened. This morning i received in my mailbox an article by “Mutual Art”.  I could really understnad why it is important for some to know the development “money wise” of an artist, but it would have been so much more graceful to have remembered Baldessari for the excellent conceptual artist he was:

In Numbers: John Baldessari

The art world lost one of its most beloved characters last week, when John Baldessari passed away on January 2nd at the age of 88. Baldessari can be described in a great many ways— versatile, funny, iconoclastic, influential, pioneering— and his artistic career, which stretched over some six decades, saw some unforgettable moments, such as his Cremation Project (1970), in which he burnt all the paintings he made between 1953 and 1966, subsequently baking the ashes into cookies.

But beneath his humorous surface— he himself said that humor was not his aim— lay great depth and strength of character. It is doubtful whether conceptual art and photography would enjoy their same status as modes of art today without Baldessari. He endured much criticism in the beginning of his career, when abstract art still reigned supreme, but he embraced that criticism to push Conceptualism even further. Time and progress were on his side, however, and questions he posed about meaning and authorship ring as true today, as they did in the ’60s. His death is greatly mourned by the entirety of the art world. 

Change in Total Sales, # of Lots Offered and Sold: John Baldessari

Taking a look at Baldessari’s auction performance, it is likely that his career in the secondary market is only in its beginnings. To date, 2014 was his outstanding year, during which his personal record lot Commissioned Painting: A Painting By Edgar Transue, 1969 sold for 2,517,000 USD at Sotheby’s New York. A drop in offered lots in subsequent years (except 2019 when he sold 72 lots, 7 more than in 2014) didn’t see him approach the 2014 total high of 9,106,891 USD again. Many of his highest grossing works sold in what is now the decade before the last (the 2000s).

Comparison of Artwork Prices Across Price Points: John Baldessari

The lion’s share of his lots appearing at auction, 58.12%, belong to the bottom tier of below $10K, while most of the value which make up his total sales value stems from works valued between $100K – $500K, 69.31%.  Whether we will see some of Baldessari’s works appear at auction to outdo his performance to date or not is irrelevant, however, as his contribution to art will remain much more valuable than can be expressed in monetary terms.

Change in Total Sales, # of Lots Offered and Sold: John Baldessari

Taking a look at Baldessari’s auction performance, it is likely that his career in the secondary market is only in its beginnings. To date, 2014 was his outstanding year, during which his personal record lot Commissioned Painting: A Painting By Edgar Transue, 1969 sold for 2,517,000 USD at Sotheby’s New York. A drop in offered lots in subsequent years (except 2019 when he sold 72 lots, 7 more than in 2014) didn’t see him approach the 2014 total high of 9,106,891 USD again. Many of his highest grossing works sold in what is now the decade before the last (the 2000s).

Comparison of Artwork Prices Across Price Points: John Baldessari

The lion’s share of his lots appearing at auction, 58.12%, belong to the bottom tier of below $10K, while most of the value which make up his total sales value stems from works valued between $100K – $500K, 69.31%.  Whether we will see some of Baldessari’s works appear at auction to outdo his performance to date or not is irrelevant, however, as his contribution to art will remain much more valuable than can be expressed in monetary terms.

 

instead, read the article which was

published a few days ago in the New York Times, much better and certainly more graceful to remember this great artist.

www.ftn-books.com has some very importnat Baldessari publications available