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Piet Dirkx cigarbox 093
No….this is not a title for a classic Roald Dahl story, but this is reality. Some museums, but specially the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, had a policy to make affordable catalogues for their visitors to accompany their exhibitions in the 50’s and 60’s.
Designed by the best in the business ( Willem Sandberg and Wim Crouwel ) they had the task to produce these catalogues at a low price without being cheap looking. They experimented with low cost papers, small editions, number of pages between 24 and 48, most of the time stapled and a scarce use of color. Only one exception was made ….in some cases an original lithograph by the artist was used as a cover. This is why some of these beautiful catalogues are even more desirable…all because of the original lithograph.
Karel Appel was one of those artist who had his peak in the sixties and was able to demand the best possible catalogues with his exhibitions and Sandberg granted this. The Appel catalogues which were published in the late 50’s and early sixties are among the best from the catalogue series of the Stedelijk and should be present in every serious Karel Appel collection.
Just look at this foldout cover and be convinced yourself that this is special.
For the readers of this blog…i have two of the above 1965 catalogues available at
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Last Sunday we visited the Stedelijk Museum for the Tinguely exhibition ( see blog in a few days) and the Willem Sandberg exhibition. Sandberg was not only the director for over 2 decades at the Stedelijk ( 1945-1963), but also took care of almost all the design and typography for the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, which was made during his years as a director. 5 rooms are filled with a multitude of publications. Mostly for the Stedelijk and some for the Israel museum in Tel Aviv.
What struck me most is that his designs are timeless and still belong to the very best designs that were made in last century. The 3rd room was filled with Stedelijk Museum publications and i was proud to find that 100% of the book publications shown in that room was available at www.ftn-books.com.
This is an exhibition you have to visit when you are a Sandberg admirer and study the publications on show. Beautiful, in many cases handcrafted typography and designs and among the Sandberg designs the very best that were made. It was good to see that so many of these publications still are timeless and of the highest quality and never looked old fashioned. For me Willem Sandberg is still one of the very “greats” in design and typography from the 20th century.
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Mark Brusse has been living in Paris/France now for a very long time , but he originated from the Netherlands, where he started his career as an artist in the 60’s. He is described as a “poetic” artist and works with a multitude of materials. Painting, drawing, etching and making sculptures….. a multi talented artist who was far less appreciated in his home country than in France, where has has lived now for most of his life. This is the reason why many more publications in French can be found on this artist than there are in dutch. The strength of Brusse is his simplicity. Whith a few lines, a small drawing or some well chosen colors he draws your attention into the work and because this poetic simplicity he persuades you to like and admire it. In recent months i myself experienced on at least 2 occasions the strength of his works. The first time was at auction at the Venduehuis where the BLUE SHACK was sold.
…. a powerful painting and one i would have loved to have for my collection and the second time was a week ago where some Brusse prints were sold at Bubb Kuyper. These i was lucky enough to buy at a reasonable price and at least 2 of them will be for sale shortly at www.ftn-books.com
….but if you can’t wait for more information look at www.ftn-books.com to find many more publications on Mark Brusse.
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The people who follow this blog, must know by now of my love for Konkrete Kunst and one of the people who is in the centre of this mouvement is Klaus Staudt. Born in 1931 he originally studied medicines , but after an initial study into the arts in 1957 , he started following classes at the Academy of Arts. Soon he began to experiment with forms and grids, a little like the Minimal artists in the US were doing at that time and from that moment on he began to develop his own style , using multi layers and perspex/plastics ao. as his materials to make his creations. Because of this multi layer aspect his works have a 3D quality which makes them very special and typical Staudt.
Staudt being one of the first Konkrete artists is becoming more and more important and has had some very nice retropektives in the last 2 decades. Some of his publications and multiples are availabe at www.ftn-books.com
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I can not make a better blog than the information which is given on the Saatchi site at:
but what i know from a personal point of view is that Mikhailove for me is arguably the best photographer from the last 3 decades. Raw and tender at the same time and a very personal point of view.
Here is the short Biography on Mikhailov :
Born in the former Soviet Union, Mikhailov lived and worked for several decades in his hometown of Kharkiv, Ukraine. He received an education as an engineer and started to teach himself photography. Today he is one of the most successful and well-known among the photographers who were already active in the Soviet era. His work combines conceptual art and social documentary photography.
Mikhailov had his first exhibition at the end of the 1960s. After the KGB found nude pictures of his wife he was laid off his job as an engineer and started to work full-time as a photographer. From 1968 to 1975 he shot several series documenting everyday scenes, the best known of them being the Red Series. In these photographs he mainly used the colour red, to picture people, groups and city-life. Red symbolized the October Revolution, political party and the social system of Soviet society. It is often said that within those works critical elements toward the existing political circumstances can be found.In Mikhailov’s Klebrigkeit (1982), he added explanatory notes, or diary-like text. In Case History, considered an important part of contemporary art, he examines the consequences of the breakdown of the Soviet Union for its people. He systematically took pictures of homeless people. It shows the situation of people who after the breakdown of the Soviet Union were not able to find their place in a secure social system. In a very direct way Mikhailov points out his critique against the “mask of beauty” of the emerging post-Soviet capitalistic way of life.
There were some classic Mikhailov books published during the last 20 years and some of them can be found at: