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Claes Oldenburg (1929)

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Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. They are a couple and the reason i mention this is that without Coosje van Bruggen , Oldenburg would never have become the great artist he now is. van Bruggen has written all monographs on Oldenburg and is mentioned in every publication. van Bruggen was his second wife, but undoubtedly the one who had the greatest influence on him and his works. It was about 15 years ago that i for the first time encountered in real life some other work by Oldenburg than the screw from the Boymans van Beuningen collection.

We visited the Guggenheim in Bilbao and there they were ( nowadays the space is occupied by the MATTER OF TIME by Serra) Immense sculptures made out of polyester and painted in bright colors in a Gehry surroundings. The ensemble of both reminded me of a Disneyland setting, but these sculptures were so impressive that i, for the first time, realized the importance of Oldenburg as a sculptor. It is still a rare occasion that i encounter a large Oldenburg but since the Bilbao sculptures i am looking with different eyes to all Oldenburg sculptures including the very familiar SCREW at the Boymans van Beuningen museum. www.ftn-books.com has some nice Oldenburg publications available including the Crouwel designed Stedelijk Museum catalogue from 1977 and the Crouwel designed poster for this exhibition.

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Gerard Garouste (1946)

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Garouste is now one of the grand “old”  mater painters in France, but that has not always been the case. From the mid Seventies until the early 80’s he was one of the angry young French wild painters who rose  to fame with (extremely) large paintings of which many were brought together in the Bordeaux CAPC museum in 1987.

Since his star rose in France and abroad and now he has the stature of one of the great 20th century painters…and deservedly so, because his paintings are one of a kind and you will not lightly forget a Garouste painting once you have seen one. Unfortunately these are far too large for any private collection and i am personally not the greatest fan of his smaller works. The best you can do is buy one of the great catalogues which is publiched in one of the last 3 decades and emerge in the world Garouste has created with his impressive paintings.

The CAPC catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Jim Dine (1935)

He is for certain one of the greatest Pop Art artists if ever there was one. One from the first generation of Pop Art artists who rose to fame in the early 60’s and who even had some great exhibitions in the years to follow at the Stedelijk Museum and the Boymans van Beuningen museum in the Netherlands in the 60’s and 70’s. Both museum have since some great paintings in their collections , (left Stedelijk / right Boymans van Beuningen)

but the Stedelijk Museum stands out for me , because beside multiple art works in their collection they published one of the first simple orange/red catalogues designed by Wim Crouwel. This one devoted specially to the drawings of Jim Dine and available at www.ftn-books.com and this is Wim Crouwel classic

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But of course there are other Jim DIne titles also available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Sara Blokland (1969)

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Willem van Zoetendaal made me look more careful at the photographs by Sara Blokland. It was at the time he  was invited by Hans Locher to curate the Fotokabinetten exhibitions at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. It was at that time that i began to realizxe and see that photography was a very interesting and highly personal search for the inner soul of the photographed. The persons depicted in the photograph were not ordinary models but their appearance reflected their inner soul. Koos Breukel was one of them and surely Sara Blokland was the other with whom i experienced this.

Sara Blokland (1969 NL) is a visual artist, independant researcher and curator of photography. She lives and works in Amsterdam. She studied at the Rietveld Academy (BA in photography) and graduated at the Sandberg Institute (MFA photography and video) in the Netherlands and a MA in Film and Photographic Studies from the Leiden University.

As a visual artist she is predominately working with photography. Her work reflects on the complicated role of this medium in relation to the histories of individuals, the concept of ‘family’ and culture heritage. Blokland’s films and photographic works have a strong focus on the portrait and landscape as part of identity and memory.   Internationally her work has been exhibited in venues such as Kumho Museum (Seoul, Korea) and Gallery Lmak-projects (New York) the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Museum of Modern Art (Arnhem, Netherlands) and Gemeentemuseum The Hague (Netherlands). Her work is part of several private and public collections, such as the ABN-AMRO Collection, the Rabobank Collection, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and Gemeentemuseum The Hague. She was also the photographer and editor of the book Van Waarde [Of Value] (2008) and the photographer of the publication The Surinam Police Band (2009).

Since 2009, she is the co-founder and co-director of UNFIXED Projects. The organization aims to create platforms for dialogue about photography, contemporary art and theory with a strong focus on cultural identity. In 2010 UNFIXED projects organized in cooperation with the Center for Contemporary Art Dordrecht in the Netherlands, the UNFIXED exhibition, artist-residency , workshop and symposium. Sara co-edited the publication: UNFIXED – photography and post colonial perspectives in contemporary art, which was co-published by Jap Sam Book in Spring 2012.

www.ftn-books.com has a very nice Sara Blokland publication available which was published by Willem van Zoetendaal.

blokland fam

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Mark Wallinger (1959)

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The first time i took notice of the works by Mark Wallinger was when i learned that this artist was presented at the Tate modern and that Saatchi took an interestb in the artist. The second occasion was when i actually owned a true signed Mark Wallinger. Nothing very special because it was a Christmas Momart edition but still an original work of art signed by the artist himself.

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From that time on i occasionally encountered works by him, but never in the Netherlands, because to my knowledge non of the larger museums have works by Wallinger in their collections. Still there must be an interest for this artist because when you compare the black and white eighties paintings by Armando there are quite some similarities to be found in use of color and composition

Nevertheless for more books and publications on WALLINGER and the late ARMANDO please visit www.ftn-books.com

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Gisela Andersch (1913-1987)

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Another rather obscure artist for us in the Netherlands was Gisela Andersch. An artsits presented by Willem Sandberg with a special exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in 1961.

The catalogue for the exhibition was in one word….”SPECTACULAR”. It was not a catalogue but more a piece of art. The art being the cover and within  the stapled pages with the exhibition works. Cover was silkscreened upon the typical raw carton like paper Willem Sandberg was so fond of. Many people did not recognize the quality of this catalogue. But now that more and more collectors all over the world of Typography and catalogue design are appreciating the Stedelijk Museum catalogues, its importance is growing. This one is not collected for the artist, but for the combination of Sandberg excellent design together with the Andersch original art.

www.ftn-boooks.com has this Gisela Andersch catalogue available together with the van Abbemuseum one.

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Felicien Rops (1833-1898)

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A true artist of the FIN DUS SIECLE. On a peer with Toulouse Lautrec and exercising his art on the edge of society. Where Toulouse Lautrec found his inspiration in cafes and brothels, Rops was more of an erotic caricaturist who was not a great fan of religion and the church. In many cases he offended the church in making drawings with a less pious christ,

but he was a master in drawing and made drawings that had two layers. The first was the masterful drawing, the second underlying layer was its erotic contents.

His drawings were forbidden for a very long time , but nowadays his drawings are recognized as true pieces of art and mainly in Belgium Rops has received many a retrospective exhibition of which some of the publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Pyke Koch (1901-1991)

 

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For me Pyke Koch stands for the paintings of Bertha van Antwerpen and de Schoorsteenveger, both paintings are in the collection of the Gemeentemuseum en are part of a very small oeuvre of around 120 paintings. This makes this artist one of the hardest to collect in the Netherlands and it is therefore that it is a true accomplishment by Dirk Scheringa that he collected so many of Koch’s paintings. Beside Scheringa, that Centraal Museum is known for his larger collection of Koch paintings.

Koch’s paintings of formidable women captured the public’s imagination: with Mercedes of Barcelona (1930), Bertha of Antwerp (1931) and The shooting gallery (1931), Koch gained a reputation as an artist who used his highly perfected technique to create an idiosyncratic fantasy world, both ominous and bitingly ironic. His Nocturne (1930) even caused a scandal: the small temple at night, surrounded by dimly lit façades on a city square, is, after all, a public urinal – and a notorious meeting spot for homosexuals.

In this exhibition, Koch’s work is displayed in the context of his contemporaries – not just of Dutch artists like Carel Willink, Raoul Hynckes and Charley Toorop, but also of Georg Grosz, Anton Räderscheidt and Christian Schad, as representatives of the German Neue Sachlichkeit (New Sobriety movement). In addition, short documentaries compiled by Ad van Liempt capture the mood of those years.

In this way, the exhibition seeks a deeper understanding of Koch’s artistic career and inspiration while exploring the political complexities of the Interbellum: the period in between the two world wars. It also aims to put Koch’s affiliation with fascism into perspective and thereby to add some nuance to the debate on ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ that has continued unabated since 1945. Now that rightist populism is on the rise all across Europe and an anti-democratic voice is becoming more strident, this re-examination of the Interbellum is highly relevant.

After the Second World War, Koch was condemned for his fascist sympathies and was banned from exhibiting his work for one year. But his friends and colleagues remained faithful to him. In 1950 he and a number of colleagues represented the Netherlands at the 25th Venice Biennale. And in 1955 he was offered a solo exhibition in Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum by its director and renowned member of the resistance, Willem Sandberg. By that time he was exploring new avenues in his work, painting a series of portraits and scenes with strong references to Piero della Francesca, one of the great masters of early Italian Renaissance work. He also revived his fondness for the so-called ‘naive’ art of Henri Rousseau. His Sleeping gypsy (1897) inspired Koch’s Resting somnambulist, of which he painted four versions between 1959 and 1971.

Koch continued to work as an artist until 1980. His last painting, The tightrope walker III (1980), can be interpreted as a metaphorical self-portrait in which Koch takes stock of his life and work. In a bare and shabby room with two doors leading to stairs going up and going down, a man balances on a rope, his head covered by a cloth. It is a desolate scene, and a poignant finale to an impressive oeuvre. www.ftn-books.com has some nice Pyke Koch publications available, including the 2 versions the Stedelijk Museum published of this Crouwel designed catalogue

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Guido Geelen (1961)

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Another artist born in the early sixties who i admire is Guido Geelen. Geelen was first introduced to me when we sold the RABO limited art editions some 20 years ago. In the series of Rabo art made available at affordable prices were works a.o. by Dolron, Diederix and ….Guido Geelen. There was a series of dutch tulips cast in bronze of which every “tulip” was different because the cast was used only once. Making this a unique piece of art. I remember we had about 10 tulips lined up to make our final choice and this work still graces our home.

It is a timeless and very powerful work born from a technique whic is classic and was used multiple times after we had bought our Tulip. The Noordbarabants Museum has several “flowers” created in this way by Geelen, but for us our TULIP is still the most beautiful. www.ftn-books.com has some Geelen publications available.

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James Bishop (1927)

It was i think our third visit to the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop when we encountered the works by James Bishop… and…they blew me away!

Large scaled paintings, extremely delicate colors combined in compositions which were part constructivist and familiar and other ways totally different because of the scale,  composition and impact.

I tried to find more on James Bishop , but beside the excellent gallery exhibitions at David Zwirner it is hard to find more on Bishop. Here is a short list of exhibitions in which he was presented.

  • 1963: Galerie Lucien Durand, Paris, France
  • 1966: Fischbach Gallery, New York, New York
  • 1993: Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland
  • 2008: Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich, Germany
  • 2014: David Zwirner, New York, New York

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This is an artist who grows on you. An artist who is one of a kind. For me he has the same qualities as many better known artists from his genaration, but is not the household name in modern art he should be. Try to see some of his works when you the chance , because this is an artist well worth discovering. www.ftn-books.com has a signed exhibition poster from this artist available.