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Flowers and Art…it is springtime

This morning after visiting a local flowershop, setup every year near a field where these are grown, i realized that we always have a lot of flowers at home. The owner cut the flowers from the field while i was there. It is a wide variety of sorts that is now available  and they all give color and atmosphere to the house.

The moment he came to me with the 2 freshly cut bundles of wild and cultivated flowers i knew the subject for todays blog, because at this moment the realization occurred to me ,that flowers are important in art too. Many artists have used the subject of flowers in their works. From very realistic. like Erik Andriesse to more abstract like Leo van Gestel ( from both www.ftn-books.com has publications available).

But for many these will not be very well known or familiar names, but there are many more…… How about Monet? a flower painter “pur sang” and Vincent van Gogh.

Just look at all the great names in art, even the almost abstract painters, They all draw inspiration from flowers. Perhaps the most beautiful ones come from Georgia Ao’Keeffe. Realistic, dreamlike and mystic these are perhaps the very best flower paintings in the world.

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Arthur Spronken (1930- 2018)

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A few weeks ago Arthur Spronken died, Famous in the South of the Netherlands with his horse sculptures. He has become each decade of more importance for the dutch sculpture scene. His statues are widely spread in public spaces in Limburg and because of their size in most cases outside.

What do i think of Spronken as a sculptor and his sculptures. To me they look like classic sculptures , influenced by the “classic” Chinese Tang hors ceramic horses. Their legs in most cases missing , leaving a muscular torso of the horse and in most cases there is “action and mouvement ” in the torso.

A little like the technique the futurists used to use within their paintings, suggesting a mouvement. After his initial fame in Limburg, his sculptures spread over the Netherlands. Making sculptures in public places in towns like Amsterdam, Haarlem and Zwolle. I respect his craftsmanship but his sculptures never fascinated me enough to buy a small one for my collection,. They come up for auction regularly and their prices are still on the verge of affordable. His sculptures are nice to look at and they draw your attention immediately when you encounter them, but for me the do not intrigue long enough to collect them.

Arthur Spronken has had some important exhibitions in the Netherlands. Among them Beelden Aan Zee and the Frans Hals Museum and www.ftn-books.com has some nice titles on the sculptor Arthur Spronken. What i personally like about Spronken is the catalogue which was made for the van Bohemen/Spronken Stedelijk Museum exhibition in 1968. A designed catalogue by Wim Crouwel.

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Martin Visser ( 1922-2009 )

Famous for his dutch designs. Especially his Martin Visser couch is a design classic, but Visser was so much more than a designer. Martin Visser build one of the most important private art collections in the world. Specializing in die Neue Wilden and Minimal art, his collection was after his death on the wish list of all the major and  important museums in the Netherlands. He was one of the first to collect Cobra, He recognized the importance of Keith Haring and was one of the first to collect Kiefer at a large scale. Visser’s life was art and the House Visser was designed by Gerrit Rietveld and the adjustments to the house done by Aldo van Eyck.

What is more to say about him.., He worked together with the greats in dutch design like Kho Liang Ie and Wim Crouwel. He knew all the great german painters from the eighties and conceptual art and land art had no mysteries to him. Visser was a force in the dutch art world and the Kroller Muller MUseum can show why he was such an important collector because they received the gift of 400 works from the Martin Visser collection. www.ftn-books.com has some nice publications on the Martin Visser collection.

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Olle Baertling (1911-1981), in search of the Open Form

Baertling is hardly known outside Scandinavia. He had the occasional exhibition in Switzerland at the von Barth gallery ( catalogue available at www.ftn-books.com) but that’s it, but look at auction results from the last decade of Baertling paintings and you will notice that prices are on the rise and not only because there is a raised interest in his works from Sweden. After the large Retrospective exhibition in the Moderna Museet, people began to notice his works and appreciate them.

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They recognized in them the link between Modern constructivist art and architecture. This is what i noticed myself when i first encountered a book on Baertling 2 years ago. This is not an artist for the masses, but see one of his paintings or sculptures and you certainly will be impressed. This is constructivist art in “optima forma” with a highly personal approach. Impressive and his sculptures of thin materials seems to vanish in the air. Not being there, but at the same time present.

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In memory of 
Olle Bærtling
There is one Swedish artist who has made an entirely original contribution to the art of our time, comparable with the foremost masters of modern art history, and that is Olle Bærtling. It is all too easy to use presumptuous words on a matter like this. And yet, I wish to maintain that Bærtling, with his ‘open form’ and his ‘two-dimensional sculptures’, is the only Swede-besides Viking Eggeling, whose achievement came to a stop at its very beginning-who has added something unique to the store of forms available to art. His work of the last three decades has an innovative quality and an international range which may be compared – mutatis mutandis – with the finest achievements of scholarly research. It is not by chance that his works have found a place in many universities around the world.
 
Gunnar Berefelt 
Doctor of Philosophy, Professor emeritus of the History of Art at the University of Stockholm
Here is what Baertling had to say on his approach of OPEN FORM
“Invisible wealth is to be found in open form. 

It radiates a compressed concentration of highly-charged power that is transformed with suggestive radiant force into infinite space in strong dynamics and unknown dimensions. Art at its most sublime is a hymn of praise to creation, an invisible but ever-present force. 
A sense of the infinite, a flight to an invisible destination. 
A positive change of man’s inner life, a realization of his world of ideas. An intellectualization, a visualization of the positive source of creative power, a visualization of its ethereal beauty.”

Olle Bærtling

baertling

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Agnes Martin …the Islands (2004)

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Yesterday i spoke about the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop and their excellent poster publications. Today i will present the very best of them. It is the magnificent Agnes Martin poster for the “the ISLANDS’ exhibition. Executed as an original silkscreen this poster is a true work of art.

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Publisher: Quadrat /Josef Albers Museum, 2011 Measurements: 31.4 x 24 inches Condition: mint-

This is a highly collectable and important poster> not only because the exhibition was important, but because of the printing technique this is a masterpiece.

Poster and exhibition catalogue are both available through www.ftn-books.com

catalogue design by Walter Nikkels

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Tomitaro Nachi (1924-2007)

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Tomitaro Nachi was one of the first japanese artist ever to have an exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum. Wim Crouwel designed the catalogue for his exhibition and what makes it extra special is that the catalogue included a rare and beautiful multiple. There is wonderful short movie about this artist which was made at the time of his exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in 1974.

The catalogue shines. It is like a minimal artist book and reflects the spirit of “Zero” and Kinetic art and was forgotten by most until recently it was sold at a local book auction and fetched a steep price of euro 120,– because it had the original multiple included. www.ftn-books.com has both copies available. The one with and the one without the multiple. Both are worth collecting, but as lng as it is there i would chose the one with the multiple included.

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Eli Content (1943)

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Eli Content …Born in Switzerland , but living for most of his life in Amsterdam, has become somehow a local known artist. He is world famous in Amsterdam. His art is rooted within the Jewish fate, but apart from that you can look at it without knowing that background and what is left is “pure” abstract painting. His commissions are in many cases religion related . For instance he decorated the Portugese Synagoge in Amsterdam and the titles of his work reflect in many cases his Jewish background.

Eli Content is represented by galerie Onrust in Amsterdam and www.ftn-books.com has one title on Content available.

content joods

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Henry van de Velde ( 1863-1957)

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What is possibly not known to many is that they have visited one of the masterpieces by Henry van de Velde in the past. The architecture of the Museum Kroller Muller was done by van de Velde after the family Kroller Muller turned down the sketches and plans by both Mies van der Rohe and Berlage. The new building was necessary for them to present their extremely large collection of van Gogh paintings. Later this collection has become the fundament of their collection which included highlights by many other contemporary artist, but the van Gogh’s are in most cases the reason why visitors from all over the world visit this museum in the forests of Park de Hoge Veluwe.

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van de Velde designed a beautiful building with spectacular views on the surrounding forests and sculpture park. Later Wim Quist designed the necessary annex building , because the collection had grown too large for the old building alone and the museum was in need of an extra exhibition space for large objects.

Beside architecture van de Velde was a multi talent who designed everything. From wall papers to kitchen were all was executed with an exquisite taste.

www.ftn-books.com has some books available on Henry van de Velde

velde henry

 

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Karl Gerstner and some typographic designs from the 60s

A Book market visit yesterday….. and some lucky finds. There is of course the very rare Karl Gerstner: Typographisches Memorandum which i found in very good condition. The copy will be available from today at www.ftn-books.com

I believe that this is the only copy currently on the market

Here are the pictures of this excellent and rare publication by Karl Gerstner.

The other books were perhaps less spectacular and not as rare as the Gerstner book, but it struck me that some great typographical designs were made by the end of sixties and in the early seventies and these are no exception. Please take a look at the photograph and see the covers by some lesser known designers like Philip Luidl, Wim Strijbosch, Hans Barvelink, Louis Emmerik and Siegfried Odermatt. Not the household names you encounter frequently in this blog and not as rare as the Gerstner publications i now have in stock, but great quality designers who made some outstanding covers/books.

design 60s

Until the end of the month there is a special discount on the Gerstner publications i have in stock. Use GERSTNER10 to receive a 10% discount on the Gerstner publications. Valid until the 31st of March.

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Classic catalogues part 1 …..Picasso

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The second day for the extra focus on the classics within the inventory of www.ftn-books.com

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This time it is Picasso. Although i personally am not a great fan of Picasso, there are so many others that admire this Spanish artist and for them …take notice that this is the last day that the discount code is valid. Not only the many publicatons on Picasso are sold with a discount of 10%, but all publications and specials within the inventory go with a discount.

use : CLASSIC10 at your checkout and receive the discount.