Just a simple title for a blog on a painter who had a very short career, but build a strong following of admirers. It was 2008 that i visited New York and entered the CFM gallery and spoke the owner Neil Zukerman about our art collections. I learned that he had bought the very first Rao i had owned and had traded it in for the much larger IL MARINAIO CHE AVEVA ALL ‘UOVO E OLIO.
The one i originally had in my collection, was still one of the favorite paintings of Mr. Zukerman, but the encounter of this passionate collector and the story on this small Massimo Rao painting i once owned, made the world look so very small. If he still has it….i do not know….., but in the meantime the painting in our collection is depicted in 3 Massimo Rao books and was on show at the Panorama Museum in 2004.
Since it has been quiet around Rao, no special exhibitions….. but a growing following and a special site on the painter who unfortunately died much too young ( 1950-1996), but left us so many great works of art. http://www.massimorao.it/massimo-rao/
The books i have on Rao are growing more popular each year and it looks like most are exported to the US. So my guess is the important collectors are in the US and not in Europe.
Maybe it is an idea to organize a large retrospective in the US?
From the early eighties on i a am an admirer of the french comic book artist…. Jacques de Loustal, better known as Loustal. He invented a comic book art form which is based on illustrations in which a complete scene/story is drawn within one drawing and with these illustrations he tells a complete story and challenges your imagination. Now his books are published all over the world. In the Netherlands they are mainly published by Oog & Blik, but in his early days his books and prints were almost all published in his native country France. One of the books that really stands out is WHAT HE EXPECTED OF HER. an adult view on marriage and relations. A highly recommended title of this fascinating artist. Available at www.ftn-books.com
Yesterday i wrote a blog on the Rietveld Schroderhuis in Utrecht. One of the persons who was inspired by this architectural masterpiece ( and DE STIJL in general) was Ko Verzuu, who had at that time his own program to help his patients with activities during the day. He made wooden toys and in this series of wooden toys he developed a wooden bank inspired by the Rietveld building he admired so much. A square 3d wooden hollow block divided with a horizontal yellow rectangular piece. Bottom was screwed on so you could open and empty the bank. Simple and effective and one of those items which is worth collecting and admiring. The ADO manufacturers/SWZ made a special reedition of this blue/yellow bank in 1999 and used it as a promotional item to show their customers the quality of their work. Nowadays it is a collectible and still available at www.ftn-books.com
Prins Hendriklaan 50, 3583 EP Utrecht, the Netherlands
Yes, you still can see and visit this iconic architectural masterpiece which was designed by Gerrit Rietveld at the time he was a “de Stijl” member. Together with Piet Mondriaan and Theo van Doesburg he was was one of the founders of the DE STIJL mouvement in the Netherlands.
Soon Theo van Doesburg dropped out of this mouvement because he found himself restricted by the horizontal and vertical lines the mouvement prescribed. He wanted to use the Diagonal line too, but Rietveld believed in these horizontal and vertical lines and used them together with the primary colors he loved so much and draw with them one of the most beautiful small buildings from the last century. When you visit Utrecht, visit the Schroderhuis too. BTW. the house got its name from the first inhabitant of the house. She commissioned Rietveld to build it for her. Truus Schröder-Schräder lived in it for her entire life.
www.ftn-books.com has some nice books on the Rietveld husi and a kit from which you can rebuild the house yourself in a much smaller scale.
A few month ago i contacted Eja Siepman van den Berg and inquired after a small statue she had made in an edition. The first contact resulted in an invitation to come and visit her in her studio in Beetsterzwaag, but because of circumstances it was impossible for us to make an appointment to visit.
Time passes and circumstances change so we finally had a chance to take some days off and decided to go to Friesland and yes …there is also the studio of Eja. We contacted each other again and found a time to visit on the 10th of august. I really looked forward to visit this fascinating artist because i never visited a real sculptors studio.
The morning of the 10th it was raining again and we run towards the entrance where we were met by Eja Siepman van den Berg. Turned to the left and walked right into the studio gallery where there was a special exhibition by a Chinese artist Xinjian Lu ( blog in a few days ), together with the statues by Eja. The abstraction of the large paintings by Xinjiang with the bronzes by Eja worked extremely well. Each showed its qualities together with the works by the other and nowhere a work dominated . I took some pictures which show just what i mean. This was a perfect setting for both artists.
After showing us the gallery and the works which were on show we soon chose our favorites and it appeared that the more abstraction was within the sculpture the more we admired it. Not that the full body sculptures were not appealing, but we thought that the sculptures with the focus on a specific body part were more abstract and had more strength
The next room, where we drank coffee, was the artist studio. Decorated with a magnificent photograph by Eja on the wall together with a work by JCJ van der Heijden.
I never knew she was a gifted photographer as well , but she explained that she made photographs during the time she had a shoulder injury and it was almost impossible for her to sculpt. The Large JCJ van der Heijden was the remainder of an exhibition which was one time held in the gallery. An extremely organized studio, with a special spot with mirrors to make the sculptures. The one that she was busy with was modelled after a photograph and in most cases Eja uses photographs to model after. Eja explained that the editions of the sculptures is protected by french law in which is stated that the maximum number of sculptures which is allowed to be made from one cast is eight. Above this number one speaks of an edition which of course can be limited too.
It takes an extremely lot of work before the final result can be shown in the gallery or museum and one can only admire the patience any sculptor must have before the final result can be shown. Sculptors must be a different kind of artist breed and one can only have the greatest respect for the path they have chosen to show their art to us…. their public.
The story is known to every book collector. Some 10 years ago Benedikt Taschen had the idea to publish the largest and heaviest book on Helmut Newton ever published. Asked Philippe Starck to design a stand for the book , set the edition size……. and sold all books over some years. Now and then these books surface and draw lots of interest. Antiquarian booksellers are trying to sell these for USD. 10.000 or even more. Taschen produced 3 years ago a much smaller reedition of the book for euro 99.00 with the same photographs within this title, but because of the much better price they could sell it again and i predict that the same title will be presented in a few years within a bargain edition ( printed in China ;-)). What makes this so special…..i really do not know . I consider Taschen as one of the best art publishers in the world , but with such large editions they are hardly interesting for the serious collector. I love the photography of Helmut Newton, but would only use the Taschen books to get an excellent overview of his works. If you are a book collector it is better to focus on the gallery and museum publications from which the Repertinum/ Salzburg one is maybe the best from the last decade.
A week ago i found in a small bookstore a remainder of this excellent book on the works by Auke de Vries. A book i must share with you, because it not only is the largest, but also by far the best publication on Auke de Vries. In over 400 pages you will see the best of over 5 decades of this artist.
For all Auke de Vries fans, this is not to be missed and i have only 2 copies available at:
Maurits Cornelis Escher was one of the most gifted pupils of Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita (1868-1944). His teacher died at the end of WWII in a Nazi concentration camp and was commemorated by Escher in a text which was published in a catalogue on the art of Jessurun de Mesquita and Mendes da Costa ( 1863-1939) who had an exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam right after the war to honor them both.
This is believed to be the first printed text by Escher. The catalogue with this text is still available at www.ftn-books.com
and is one of the first to be published by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam after WWII. Since, Escher has had many other publications with text and of course prints , but the text on his former teacher is special and touching. The design of the book is done by Willem Sandberg himself and all these ingredients put together in one publication makes it very special indeed. I very much like the works by Jessurun de Mesquita and admire the artist he was. His woodcuts are fabulous and when you admire the Escher prints, do not forget that perhaps his teacher Jessurun de Mesquita was even a greater artist, but unfortunately has not become as famous as his pupil. ( later this month a blog on Jessurun de Mesquita with a special offer).
The second time i met Günter Tuzina was with his exhibition in 1992 in The Haags Gemeentemuseum and noticed that he still followed his own artistic path. Making variations on his windows with crossed lines in color schemes which were very recognizable and typical for the works by Tuzina. At the time Tuzina executed a walldrawing for one of the staircases in the Gemeentmuseum which is beside the LeWitt, Toroni and Forg staircase drawings still on show. I think Tuzina is one of those artists you can see work of and immediately know it is by Tuzina. A few years ago i was impressed by a work which was for sale at Christie’s but unfortunately it was out of my budget and sold for twice+ the estimation, but one can get lucky too, because a little before that i noticed these 2 beautiful drawings on the local book market, which were made in a series of 55 for the Bebert publishing house. Both are signed and numbered and all the drawing on each of them is done by hand and all have a different background color. These are from the same edition of 55 copies but the background colors vary and therefore these are unique and…..these beauties are now for sale at
Gerrit Benner…. his native country is Friesland in the Netherlands. Benner has become famous for use of bold colors in an abstract setting but somehow he managed to combine these colors into landscapes . I had the chance to take some photographs from very close up and noticed, when seen on a distance of only a few inches, that it is pure abstraction. Further away you can see skies and meadows and the abstraction becomes a landscape. Benner is a master in combining these brushstrokes and blend them into a (little) recognizable subject.
Museum Belvedere is worth a visit. Not only because of its collection, but also for its location. A dark, low museum building within a landscape of water , meadows and skies….. a little bit like a Benner landscape.
Artist/ Author: Oliver Boberg
Title : Memorial
Publisher: Oliver Boberg
Measurements: Frame measures 51 x 42 cm. original C print is 35 x 25 cm.
signed by Oliver Boberg in pen and numbered 14/20 from an edition of 20