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Paul Poiret (1879-1944)

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Because i recently purchased the book on Paul Poiret whci was published on the occasion of the exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and the Metropolitan in New York i looked at the articel published by the Metropolitan and the information is perfect, so here it is :

Every decade has its seer or sybil of style, a designer who, above all others, is able to divine and define the desires of women. In the 1910s, this oracle of the mode was Paul Poiret, known in America as “The King of Fashion.” In Paris, he was simply Le Magnifique, after 

, a suitable soubriquet for a couturier who, alongside the all-pervasive influence of Sergei Diaghilev’s 

, employed the language of Orientalism to develop the romantic and theatrical possibilities of clothing. Like his artistic confrere Léon Bakst, Poiret’s exoticized tendencies were expressed through his use of vivid color coordinations and enigmatic silhouettes such as his iconic “lampshade” tunic and his “harem” trousers, or pantaloons. However, these 

 fantasies (or, rather, fantasies of the Orient) have served to detract from Poiret’s more enduring innovations, namely his technical and marketing achievements. Poiret effectively established the canon of modern dress and developed the blueprint of the modern fashion industry. Such was his vision that Poiret not only changed the course of costume history but also steered it in the direction of 

 history.

Poiret’s route into 

 followed the common practice of shopping around one’s drawings of original fashion designs. His efforts were rewarded in 1898, when the couturière Madeleine Chéruit bought twelve of his designs. In the same year, he began working for Jacques Doucet, one of the most prominent couturiers in Paris. According to Poiret’s memoirs, My First Fifty Years (1931)—also published as The King of Fashion—the first design he created for the house was a red wool cloak with gray crepe de chine lining and revers, which sold 400 copies. But it was a mantle he made for the actress Réjane in a play called Zaza that would secure his fame. Using the stage as a runway was to become a typical strategy of Poiret’s marketing practices, enabling him to present his most avant-garde creations. The mantle was of black tulle over a black taffeta that had been painted by Billotey, then a famous fan painter, with large white and mauve irises. In Poiret’s words, “All the sadness of a romantic dénouement, all the bitterness of a fourth act, were in this so-expressive cloak, and when they saw it appear, the audience foresaw the end of the play . . . Thenceforth, I was established, chez Doucet and in all of Paris.” By the time he left Doucet in 1900 to fulfill his military service, Poiret had risen to become head of the tailoring department.

In 1901, Poiret joined the House of Worth, where he was asked to create what Gaston Worth (the son of 

, the eponymous founder) called “fried potatoes,” simple, practical garments that were side dishes to Worth’s main course of “truffles,” opulent 

 and reception gowns. One of his “fried potatoes,” a cloak made from black wool and cut along straight lines like the 

, proved too simple for one of Worth’s royal clients, the Russian princess Bariatinsky, who on seeing it cried, “What horror; with us, when there are low fellows who run after our sledges and annoy us, we have their heads cut off, and we put them in sacks just like that.” Her reaction, however, prompted Poiret to found his own maison de couture in 1903 at 5 rue Auber. Later, in 1906, he moved his atelier to 37 rue Pasquier, and then, in 1909, to 9 avenue d’Antin. Two years later, he established a perfume and cosmetics company named after his eldest daughter, Rosine, and a decorative arts company named after his second daughter, Martine, both located at 107 Faubourg Saint-Honoré. In so doing, he was the first couturier to align fashion with interior design and promote the concept of a “total lifestyle.”

While Poiret learned his craft at two of the oldest and most revered couture houses, he spent his first decade as an independent couturier not only breaking with established conventions of dressmaking, but subverting and eventually destroying their underlying presumptions. He began with the body, liberating it first from the 

 in 1903 and then from the 

 in 1906. Although constantly shifting in its placement, the corseted waistline, which had persisted almost without interruption since the Renaissance, divided the female form into two distinct masses. By 1900, it promoted an S-curve silhouette with large, forward-projecting breasts and equally large backward-protruding bottom. In promoting an uncorseted silhouette, Poiret presented an integrated and intelligible corporeality. He was not alone in this vision of dress reform. Lucile (also known as Lady Duff Gordon) and Madeleine Vionnet also advanced an uncorseted silhouette, but it was Poiret, largely owing to his acumen for publicity, who became most widely associated with the new look.

In freeing women from corsets and dissolving the fortified grandeur of the obdurate, hyperbolic silhouette, Poiret effected a concomitant revolution in dressmaking, one that shifted the emphasis away from the skills of tailoring to those based on the skills of draping. It was a radical departure from the couture traditions of the nineteenth century, which, like menswear (to which they were indebted), relied on pattern pieces, or more specifically the precision of pattern making, for their efficacy. Looking to both 

 and regional dress types, most notably to the Greek 

, the 

, and the North African and Middle Eastern caftan, Poiret advocated fashions cut along straight lines and constructed of rectangles. Such an emphasis on flatness and planarity required a complete reversal of the optical effects of fashion. The cylindrical wardrobe replaced the statuesque, turning, three-dimensional representation into two-dimensional abstraction. It was a strategy that dethroned the primacy and destabilized the paradigm of Western fashion.

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Poiret’s process of design through draping is the source of fashion’s modern forms. It introduced clothing that hung from the shoulders and facilitated a multiplicity of possibilities. Poiret exploited its fullest potential by launching, in quick succession, a series of designs that were startling in their simplicity and originality. From 1906 to 1911, he presented garments that promoted an etiolated, high-waisted Directoire Revival silhouette. Different versions appeared in two limited-edition albums, Paul Iribe’s Les robes de Paul Poiret(1908) and Georges Lepape’s Les choses de Paul Poiret (1911), early examples of Poiret’s attempts to cement the relationship between art and fashion (later expressed in collaborations with Erté and Raoul Dufy, among others). Both albums relied on the stenciling technique known as pochoir, resulting in brilliantly saturated areas of color (

). It was an approach that not only reflected the novelty of Poiret’s designs but also his unique palette. Indeed, although the 

 depicted in the pochoirs referenced 

, their acidic colors and 

 accessorization, most notably turbans wrapped à la Madame de Staël, were more an expression of Orientalism (as were several cocoon or kimono coats for which Poiret was known throughout his career).

Spurred on by the success of the Ballets Russes production of Schéhérazade in 1910, Poiret gave full vent to his 

 sensibilities, launching a sequence of fantastical confections, including “harem” pantaloons in 1911 and “lampshade” tunics in 1913 (earlier, in 1910, Poiret had introduced hobble skirts, which also can be interpreted as an expression of his Orientalism). As well as hosting a lavish fancy-dress party in 1911 called “The Thousand and Second Night,” in which the fashions and the scenography reflected a phantasmagoric mythical East, he also designed costumes for several theatrical productions with Orientalist themes, most notably Jacques Richepin’s Le Minaret, which premiered in Paris in 1913 and presented the couturier with a platform on which to promote his “lampshade” silhouette. Even when Poiret reopened his fashion business after World War I, during which he served as a military tailor, Orientalism continued to exercise a powerful influence over his creativity. By this time, however, its fashionability had been overshadowed by modernism. Utility, function, and rationality supplanted luxury, ornament, and sensuality. Poiret could not reconcile the ideals and aesthetics of modernism with those of his own artistic vision, a fact that contributed not only to his diminished popularity in the 1920s but also, ultimately, to the closure of his business in 1929.

It is ironic that Poiret rejected modernism, given that his technical and commercial innovations were fundamental to its emergence and development. But although Poiret’s Orientalism was at odds with modernism, both ideologically and aesthetically, it served as the principal expression of his modernity, enabling him to radically transform the couture traditions of the 

. While Poiret may have been fashion’s last great Orientalist, he was also its first great modernist.

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

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Michael Kirkham (1971)

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Michael Kirkham is one of the younger British artists that implressed me immediately when i saw his first paintings at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.

Often highly regarded for their uncompromising nature, Michael Kirkham’s paintings give a delicate insight into the dark corners of human existence. Painted mostly from the mind, mixing fantasy and reality, Kirkham depicts his subjects in uncomfortable or awkward positions, (half) undressed, engaging in acts of sexual nature, being in love, daydreaming, or showing their genitals. While doing so, the characters in Kirkham’s paintings often appear distant, as if disconnected or sunken into the emptiness of their subconsciousness. In addition to the apathetic character of his subjects, most of Kirkham’s paintings appear covered in an apt layer of misery and ambiguity.

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As much as these scenes of the despicable bring about a sense of discomfort or voyeurism to the spectator, they are equally intriguing and touching as they display a deep sense of empathy for all aspects of the human condition. This is Kirkham’s power: rather than depicting scenes that exist only in Kirkham’s own artistic universe, his works show those parts of life that, no matter our attempts to disregard or overlook them, are a core part of contemporary life. They show us the alienated or estranged individuals who are no match for the complexities of the world they themselves have helped to build.

It is in this commentary on the contemporary that any sense of melancholy, irony, or even voyeurism so often related to the Kirkham’s paintings disappears. The power and beauty of his work are inseparable from the discomfort it brings about when it confronts the viewer with the bleakness of humanity. Therefore, any form of sadness, irony, voyeurism, or discomfort felt in Kirkham’s paintings can only be a sign of confrontation, recognition or even emotion of the spectator, pointing out to us what essentially makes us human throughout the complexities of today.

Michael Kirkham (Blackpool, UK, 1971) lives and works in Berlin, Germany. He completed his education at the Glasgow School of Art and De Ateliers, Amsterdam. His work has been exhibited, among many other locations, at Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (NL), Centraal Museum, Utrecht (NL), and Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf (DE), and is part of collections such as the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (NL), Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (NL), Centraal Museum, Utrecht (NL), Sammlung Ritter Sport, Stuttgart (DE), Collection Olbricht (DE), Sollection SØR Rusche, De Nederlandsche Bank, Amsterdam (NL), and of private collections in The Netherlands, Germany and the United States, among others.

ftn-art has the limited edition of THE STORY OF THE GLOVE. a controversial “comic” in prints available. Please inquire.

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Ton Mars (1950)

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I looked for Ton Mars information and found this. It . is in dutch but for my dutch readers it is an absolute must:

Mijn hoofd is in de wereld 

de wereld is in mijn hoofd

In de wereld
noem ik continenten en sferen,
duid ik windstreken en sterren,
ken ik landen en volken,
tel ik woorden en talen,
zie ik contrasten en overeenkomsten,
ervaar ik kleuren en vormen,
duizel ik in veelvoud en verscheidenheid,
kan ik blijven en reizen.

In het hoofd
orden ik veelvoud en verscheidenheid,
maak ik contrasten en overeenkomsten,
ontwikkel ik continenten en sferen,
speel ik met richting en ritme,
droom ik landen en volken,
vind ik woorden en taal,
kan ik blijven en reizen.

In het werk
kies ik
voor verf en linnen
voor potlood en papier
voor lijn en kleur,
voor vlak en volume,
voor licht en schaduw,
voor deel en onderdeel,

refereer ik
aan boek en teken,
aan code en regel,
aan woord en getal,
aan systeem en verbeelding,

verbind ik
getal en plek,
kennis en spel,
complexiteit en helderheid,
eenvoud en mysterie
zwaarte en lichtheid,
feit en fictie.

Met het werk
eigen ik me de wereld toe,
leef ik mijn droom,
ben ik 
dag en nacht.

www.ftn-books.com has some Ton Mars publications available

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Ad Dekkers , Tekeningen 1971/9174

 

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This is the title of one of the most important artists books in dutch art.  Yes, of course tghis is my personal opinion, but look at it and you will undoubtedly agrre with me.

The publication was neglegted for over 3 decades, but now that the art of Dekkers is discovered again, the interest in his publications rises too. ……and, this is one of the nicest and best of his publications . Just some details. designed by Baer Cornet, printed by one of the best in the business, Rosbeek, who were up to the extreme printing qualities of the drawings that had to be reproduced in this 1977 publication. Oblong shaped, cahier stitching and a very small print run makes this a highly desirable and collectable artist book and available at www.ftn-books.com

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Holland zonder Haast / 7 volumes

“Holland zonder Haast” is a series of photo books by famous dutch photographers who documented the Netherlands in the Fifties and Sixties and published by Uitgeverij VOETNOOT. The title in dutch means ” The Netherlands without rush”.

Time passed more slowly in those decades and there was more time available to simply enjoy family, friends and have some pleasure in your free time. No internet, not so many cars and less pressure on life made these times perhaps a better time to live in. The series is done by the best in dutch photography. There were 7 volumes done by Jan Blazer, Emmy Andriesse, Kees Scherer, Henk Jonker, Ad Windig,  Maria Austria and Sem Presser. All of them have been sold out since these books were almost published 20 years ago, but fortunately i have some titles available at www.ftn-books.com

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Uwe Ommer (1943)

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The first book i acquired by Uwe Ommer was ” BLACK LADIES”. On the cover a beautiful photo of an even more beautiful young woman. Her face sparkles with joy. Later i realized that his subjects were mainly African woman, but what makes them for us from Europe so appealing is that these woman present themselves as confident, westernized woman of the world .

Make Up, Hair do , even their clothes are in many cases not typically African. With beautiful woman thes photobooks are real page turners and do not disappoint. Benedikt Taschen realized the qualities of Ommer and launched his photographs in his books on photography, making these photographs available to almost anybody. Their price at that time a low euro 9,90, but times have changed and these one time cheap books are now searched and collected worldwide and at a much higher price level. www.ftn-books.com

has some Ommer titles available.

 

 

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Piet Dirkx weekly

Published as an artist book, this is probably one of the most important Piet Dirkx publications. Ine Veenstra did the interview.dirkx veenstra

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Paul-Armand Gette (1927)

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I always have considered Paul-Armand Gette because of his avant garde art of a much younger age, but it appears he is already 92 years of age.

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Like his contemporary Herman De Vries, Paul-Armand Gette studied science before dedicating himself to experimental poetry, art and the publishing of magazines and books. References to the insect world and a fascination for collecting botanical data are a constant in his poetic and visual practice. At the end of the 1940’s, Gette began to paint and ten years later he realises his first ‘sculptures’ ( ‘cristallisations verbales’). He also starts with ‘lettrist’ compositions on paper and canvas, for which he makes use of recuperated wood and lead type. In the mid-1960’s, Gette moves to Paris. In 1965, his book Pteres appears, with letter prints of discarded letters. It is the beginning of a work in which the artist’s book will play a central role. Also in 1965, Gette comes in contact with Paul De Vree. He publishes his poetic and artistic work in magazines such as Phases and OU-Cinquième Saison and is at that time working on the launch of the magazine ETER in Paris. But he does not limit himself to paper. In 1966, he experiments with an environment containing mobile sculptural elements. A year later, he organises a multimedia event in the Kunsthalle Lund, that he describes as poésie action / art total and which includes La Monte Young, Ben Vautier and Robert Filliou (all artists with an affiliation to Fluxus). www.ftn-books.com has 5 nice Gette pubications available.

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Piet Mondriaan….Molen bij Avond

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Two days ago i was so lucky to have a camera ( phone) at hand. We were planning to have a little boat ride in the evening, but…..suddenly it started to rain and we decided not to go. However, 10 minutes later it stopped raining and while we were having a cup of coffee we decided it was still worth it to go to Vlietlanden for a 2 hour trip. We left at 18.45 hr. and were returning at aprox 20.10 when we passed this windmill just near our home. I asked for my telephone and took this photograph. 5 seconds sooner and it would not have had the effect it has now. 5 seconds later and we would have been blinded by the light of the sun. But with this result i am so pleased. I have not done anything with the photograph, because i think it is 100% ok, but 24 hrs later Google send me the same photograph which they had worked over with some filters and this is the result they produced ( second photograph).

molen bij avond

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The moment i saw it it reminded me of the Mondrian. Molen bij Avond i know so well from the years i worked at the Gemeentemuseum. There is 100 years between them, but these pictures show that there is still a very scenic the Netherlands to be found near the largest cities of this country. I have many of Mondrian’s publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Charles Bézie (1934)

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In some way the french have a special approach to contructivist art. Their art is in many cases much “lighter” than their counterparts in Germany or the US. There are of course Francois Morellet and Aurelie Nemours and for me Charles Bezie is also one of the great ones in France.

Here is a short extract from an interview which can be found on the Charles Bézie site at www.charles-bezie.fr

Since 1974, I use straight, horizontal and vertical lines and two diagonal lines. 
In the beginning, I wanted to distinguish my work from that of our great elders Malevith and Mondrian by means of eradicating the geometry by a web of fines lines. I call this my graphic period. 
During the years that followed, my work passed through several phases where the line thickened becoming even a strip and resulted in a sign which i called the “Quadrille” . 
In 1995, I abandoned oblique lines. 
Since that date my work has become the research of rhythms obtained from numbers, irregular rhythms with “Gradations” where squares see their surface divided by strokes and regular rhythms with “Cadences” where rows of squares are only underlined on the top and bottom. 
The year 2003 annonces the beginning of the “Suite Fibonacci”. This XIII century Italian mathematician from whom we retain the recurrent series of numbers which constitute themselves by the simple addition of the two precedent numbers and also because the quotients between the two adjacent numbers all approach the number 1.618, the famous “golden number”. 
My actual project is to continue working from numbers for as long at it gives a sense to my pictorial conception.

C.B. 2007

www.ftn-books.com has some Bezie art for sale.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA