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Klee / Kupka and music

 

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Two totally different painters with a complete different background. Both rose to fame in the Interbellum and booth were very much inspired by music and the rhythm of it.

In a time that exhibitions were developed around a theme. btw. the Spiritual in Art was such an exhibition, one of the most iconic exhibitions of the Eighties was presented in Germany. its name VOM KLANG DER BILDER. An exhibition in which the relation between music , sounds and rhythm and the influence they had on paintings was tried to be explained. It is for certain that music has been of influence to artists and both Klee and Kupka were the artist who made paintings in relation to music . Kupka is perhaps the artist who has been influenced by Music the most, but certainly Paul Klee has become known for his music inspired paintings and drawings.

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Klee perceived a clear visual connection to the structural articulations found in music. Focusing on polyphony and counterpoint, Klee produced his watercolor Fugue in Red in 1921.

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This early attempt to achieve a synthesis between music and art exposes a number of floating forms, either figurative or as abstract derivations. Overlapping shapes float over a two-dimensional surface, with the temporal aspect graphically represented by a gradual shift in color. Moving from the dark background to maximum transparency, the visualized counterpoint combines in a cosmic harmony that reaches towards a new sense of spirituality. Although essentially structural in approach, this painting embodies Klee’s believe in “harmony, autonomy, and universality in humankind.” As a musician and a painter, Klee essentially created a harmonious arrangement that echoes a universal order. www.ftn-books.com has on both artists several publications available.

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Just a walk in PARIS 2009…. and Fluxus

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It was about 9 years ago that me and my wife Linda visited Paris. Dropped our son together with my sister in law, nephew and niece at the gates of Disneyland Paris and went to the city.

I know Paris well and took Linda for the first time to some “arrondissements” she had never visited before. There was the 16th where i had lived for almost a year and the Rue de Seine , the Modern art district .

At one of the galleries a FLUXUS exhibition was being held with art by BEN and Saito. To make this exhibition known to the outside world an extremely nice FLUXUS poster was published. Because i had a hunch that these posters would become important i asked if i could take 4 of them with me. NO problem….. and now 9 years later there is only one of these rare posters left and available at www.ftn-books.com and in time they have proven that i was right about them. They have proven to be important and highly collectable.

 

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BMW (Jeff Koons) and art cars

 

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I love cars and really appreciate when a car has a beautiful design and a futuristic technique, but if there is one car make that i personally truly detest it is BMW. It not the cars that i think are detestable but more the drivers who drive a BMW. The cars have a fairly good designed exterior and a beautiful “top in class” interior, but the drivers are arguably the worst there ar on the road. In general they think they are invincible and superior to any other driver, drive to fast and are rude in traffic. That said … there is an aspect to BMW i like instead. The BMW company has a large art collection and because they value art, famous artists are invited to decorate their cars. Because the car itself represents the design of an era , the invited artist can enhance such a design. In the Netherlands a BMW was decorated by Herman Brood, but the factory BMW art program is from another level.

The best modern artists are invited to make the most spectacular designs. Among them….the late Andy Warhol and more recently Jeff Koons who worked on several of the latest BMW cars.

There are other car manufacturers that have a comparable program, but the quality of the BWW art program stands out from the rest. There is a nice book on cars and art available at www.ftn-books.com

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Beuys published by Bebert

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Pablo van Dijk is an illustrious name in dutch publishing. van Dijk founded the publishing house Bebert ( named after the cat of Celine).

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This publisher took the initiative to publish many , now famous and widely collected, art publications. There were the Pandora boxes ( named after his former wife Pandora) containing a multiple of works by contemporary artists. Among them Mapplethorpe and Vautier, but there were also lesser prestigious publications commissioned by art institutions and one of them was EEN GESPREK. An interview with Joseph Beuys by longtime admirer and collector Frits Bless. The book was published on the occasion of the van Reekum exhibition in 1987. A typical Bebert publication, spiral bound with carton cover and with an original photograph on the cover by Caroline Tisdall.

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The edition….only 1000 copies so pick this up while there are still copies available. Two are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Ben Shahn (1898-1969)

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Ben Shahn  is one of the older Modern Painters emerging in the 40’s and 50’s from the American art scene. Jewish background and born in Russia. After his marriage to mrs Goldstein he travelled North Africa and the great museums in Europe and this shows, because from that date the influence of Klee and Picasso can be recognized in his works. Later he developed a style of his own in which color was an important aspect in his paintings.

Shahn mixed different genres of art. His body of art is distinctive for its lack of traditional landscapes, still lifes, and portraits. Shahn used both expressive and precise visual languages, which he united through the consistency of his authoritative line. His background in lithography contributed to his devotion to detail Shahn is also noted for his use of unique symbolism, which is often compared to the imagery in Paul Klee’s drawings. While Shahn’s “love for exactitude” is apparent in his graphics, so too is his creativity. In fact, many of his paintings are inventive adaptations of his photography and that is an aspect i did not know before. The Ben Shahn catalogue designed by Willem Sandberg for the Stedelijk Museum and available at www.ftn-books.com shows exactly why i think Shahn is one of the more important painters from last century.

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Martial Raysse (1936)

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Martial Raysse, 82 years of age and still going strong, but his works have definitely changed. They have become Mythological inspired and stand far from the Pop Art he made in the sixties when his works and art became known together with other beginning artists.

In October 1960 he founded together with Yves Klein, Arman, Spoerri, Tinguely and Villegle de artist group NOUVEAUX REALISTES . They tried to approach reality in a new and avant garde way and were seen as the french equivalent of the Pop Art mouvement. Martial Raysse worked like Warhol with silkscreens contrasting colors and added Neon to his paintings, making them instantly recognizable and appealing.

Another aspect of his art was that his paintings were not flat, but had in many cases a 3D addition. A rope, box or the mentioned neon gives the painting literally several layers. His 60’s adn early Seventies are among the best Pop Art paintings produced  and fetch extremely high prices at auction. recently one of his paintings fetched a staggering 4 Million.

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At a more affordable level the excellent Stedelijk Museum catalogue designed by Wim Crouwel is available at www.ftn-books.com . It has a special Raysse designed cover and even the use of colors ( out and inside ) is typical Raysse. Available at www.ftn-books.com

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Barbara Nanning (1957)..organic shapes in glass and ceramics.

Born in Den Haag, Barbara Nanning made herself an artist career in glass and ceramic objects. With one contant…. almost all her works look to be inspired by nature and organisms. Just take a look at this screenprint from Google and see for yourself what i mean. The objects look like corals, shells, plants and organs. These are heavily inspired by nature and the feeling i get from them differs. Some of them i wat to touch and caress and with others i feel unease. It is nice that these feelings are called on to you and it is a certwain quality of the art of Babara Nanning. The is one artist who gives me the same mixed feelings as Nanning does. Emil Schumacher has the same effect on me ( see the blog on Schumacher from a few years ago).

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There is an excellent book on Nanning for sale at www.,ftn-books.com

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Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)

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I have always thought that the large sculpture outside the Congresbouw / World forum( by Oud) in Den Haag was a sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, but just a few years ago i discovered that i was mistaken and that the sculpture was by Pevsner.

My mistake and when you really look more closely there is a large difference between the art of these two artists. The Hepworth sculptures are much more related to the sculptures by her fellow student and contemporary artist Henry Moore and her later husband Ben Nicholson. There are quite a few sculptures of her in the Netherlands because in the sixties several exhibitions were held at which occasions her works were sold.  Some of the best Hepworth catalogues are available at www.ftn-books.com

The Tate gallery has an excellent introductory text on Hepworth which they published on the 2015 Hepworth exhibition. Here is part of tghis text, but you can find the complete introduction at

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/dame-barbara-hepworth-1274/who-is-barbara-hepworth

Who is she? 

Barbara Hepworth was a British sculptor, who was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire in 1903. She was a leading figure in the international art scene throughout a career spanning five decades.

Who were her peers?

Hepworth studied at Leeds school of Art from 1920–1921 alongside fellow Yorkshire-born artist Henry Moore. Both students continued their studies in sculpture at the Royal College of Art in London. Both became leading practitioners of the avant-garde method of Direct Carving(working directly in to the chosen material) avoiding the more traditional process of making preparatory models and maquettes from which a craftsman would produce the finished work.

From 1924 Hepworth spent two years in Italy, and in 1925 married her first husband, the artist John Skeaping, in Florence; their marriage was to last until 1931. 

From 1932, she lived with the painter Ben Nicholson and, for a number of years, the two artists made work in close proximity to each other, developing a way of working that was almost like a collaboration. They spent periods of time travelling throughout Europe, and it was here that Hepworth met Georges Braque and Piet Mondrian, and visited the studios of PicassoConstantin Brancusi, and Jean Arp and Sophie Taueber-Arp. The experience was a hugely exciting one for Hepworth, for she not only found herself in the studios of some of Europe’s most influential artists, which helped her to approach her own career with renewed vigour and clarity, but also found there mutual respect. The School of Paris had a lasting effect on both Hepworth and Nicholson as they became key figures in an international network of abstract artists. 

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Piet van der Hem (1885-1961)

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It must have been some 20 years ago that i encountered at auction a beautiful and impressive painting of a night scene. At first i thought it to be a painting by Jan Sluyters, but when i read the description it appeared to be by Piet van der Hem. A painter of who i thought that he only made (ugly) portraits and illustrations. But this night scene was very very impressive. I forgot about van der Hem because i lost interest in all portraits by all painters. a few months ago i visited the bookmarket….and there it was again …a catalogue on van der Hem and on the cover the painting i had admired so much 2 decades earlier. I bought the catalogue and found out that the works by van der Hem can be divided into 2 parts. His early paintings in which his nightlife paintings show his best qualities and the later portraits which i do not like that much. Van der Hem is an excellent painter, but just focus on his early works which are tremendous and equal to Jan Sluyters or Isaac Israel ones.

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the Piet van de Hem catalogue by Stichting Kunst aan de Dijk is available at www.ftn-books.com

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