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El Lissitzky (1890-1941)

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Here is an artist who’s works were very well known from the very first beginning of his career. Suprematism being one of the key collection parts of the Stedelijk Museum, El Lissitzky soon became part of this great and important collection. Because of this large collection part, an interest in his works was aroused from the very first beginning resulting in some purchases by important collectors and acquiring works by museum for their collections. Among them; Stedelijk Museum, Haags Gemeentemuseum, Boymans van Beuningen and the van Abbemuseum.

There is so much to be told about El Lissitzky as an artist because he was a true multi talented artist. A Painter, sculptor , architect and designer all within the same person. One aspect of his career i would like to mention specially. His graphic design.

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El Lissitzky is the 9th person from the left

During his stay in Germany Lissitzky also developed his career as a graphic designer with some historically important works such as the books Dlia Golossa (For the Voice), a collection of poems from Vladimir Mayakovsky, and Die Kunstismen (The Artisms) together with Jean Arp. In Berlin he also met and befriended many other artists, most notably Kurt Schwitters, László Moholy-Nagy, and Theo van Doesburg. Together with Schwitters and van Doesburg, Lissitzky presented the idea of an international artistic movement under the guidelines of constructivism while also working with Kurt Schwitters on the issue Nasci (Nature) of the periodical Merz, and continuing to illustrate children’s books. The year after the publication of his first Proun series in Moscow in 1921, Schwitters introduced Lissitzky to the Hanover gallery kestnergesellschaft, where he held his first solo exhibition. The second Proun series, printed in Hanover in 1923, was a success, utilizing new printing techniquesLater on, he met Sophie Küppers, who was the widow of Paul Küppers, an art director of the kestnergesellschaft at which Lissitzky was showing, and whom he would marry in 1927.

There are some really nice El Lissitzky publications available at www.ftn-books.com.

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William T. Wiley ( 1937 )

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Two catalogues available at www.ftn-books.com and not many more that i know of, make William T. Wiley a rather obscure artist for me, but i realize that is the case only for me, because outside the Netherlands, specially in the US, his name is well known and growing with the year.

His art is typical for the West Coast of the US, but has also something of Jan Fabre and Gunter Brus in it. It has certainly much more humor and at the same time it is very typical for the art Wiley creates and not anything else.

Maybe the importance of Wiley is that he educated some of the great Contemporary artists like Bruce Nauman. Here is what Wikipedia says about it:

He was born in Bedford, Indiana. Raised in Indiana, Texas, and Richland, Washington, Wiley moved to San Francisco to study at the California School of Fine Arts where he earned his BFA in 1960 and his MFA two years later. In 1963, Wiley joined the faculty of the UC Davis art department with Bay Area Funk Movement artists Robert Arneson and Roy DeForest. During that time Wiley instructed students including Bruce Nauman, Deborah Butterfield, and Stephen Laub. According to Dan Graham, the literary, punning element of Nauman’s work came from Wiley. Wiley also acknowledges the effect Nauman had on his own work.

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Rudolf Steiner …. art & architecture

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Yesterday my wife an i visited the ‘ DE PARADE ” a cultural fair with music and performances. a great evening and great fun on the fairground and at the time we left it was still light enough to distinguish the buildings in the surroundings. We took a shortcut to the tramstop and ….there it was …. a great building used nowadays as a care home for older people. architecture by J.W.E. Buijs en J.B. Lursen from 1924, commissioned by the dutch anthroposophic society and heavily inspired by the architecture of Rudolf Steiner.

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This was a great building and for me a total surprise, because i never had seen it before nor heard about it. It brought back memories and i remembered the large inventory we had during the Spiritual in Art exhibition which was organized by the Haags Gemeentemuseum together with the Los Angeles County Museum which catalogues are still available at www.ftn-books.com. The exhibition showed the importance of the iedeas of rudolf Steiner and the influence these ideas had on the art and artist of the Interbellum and shortly after.

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Henk Visch (1950)

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The first time i read about Visch was in the Metropolis M magazine in the early Eighties and the first time i encountered his Art was at the van Abbemuseum  after i had visited the studio of Piet Dirkx. At that visit Piet and I spoke about the works we were going to see at the van Abbemuseum and i learned that Piet knew Henk Visch quit well and even had exhibited at one time in Eindhoven together with him. Since, the FTN collection on Henk Visch is growing steadily and some of them are available at www.ftn-books.com.

Henk Visch is one of the talents that gathered a loyal following. In Germany his name is still getting more important with every exhibitions organized with his works and because his importance for dutch art is undisputed , the Hollandsche Meesters series devoted a special on him:

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Sonsbeek…an exhibition park near Arnhem

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A City and its Exhibition

It was in 1948 that a councillor, a VVV tourism official and the mayor of Arnhem launched an initiative for a contemporary art exhibition on a scale unprecedented in Europe. Their aim was to give the city which had experienced so much destruction during the Second World War a totally new appeal.

Processing the traumatic wartime experience

Sonsbeek ’49 opened that following year with over two hundred works displayed along the paths in the park. Most of these were figurative sculptures created since the turn of the century. A recurring theme among the newer works was the processing of Holland’s traumatic wartime experience, such as Nel Klaassen’s monumental Honour the Woman which still stands in Arnhem.

Connected to the present

In subsequent editions of the exhibition, the idea was the same. Sculptures by internationally renowned artists were presented to Arnhem’s public: Auguste Rodin, Ossip Zadkine, Henri Moore, Pablo Picasso, John Rädecker and Hildo Krop. After each edition the Arnhem council selected some of the exhibited works for permanent display in the city. Often, these were works that referred to the war, such as Ossip Zadkine’s Phoenix which found a permanent place in front of the town hall. Since the beginning, SONSBEEK has always been closely concerned with contemporary issues and current affairs.

Selected by a curator based on a specific theme

After the first four editions, one every three years and each similarly presented, SONSBEEK seemed to have become a tradition. Until in 1971 SONSBEEK broke with that tradition and quite literally went off the beaten track with a show compiled for the first time by a curator and expressing a specific theme. Sonsbeek Buiten de Perken was assembled by Wim Beeren, then chief curator at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum. The exhibits abandoned their pedestals, some even left the city and the country. Prominent conceptual artists such as Claes Oldenburg, Wim T. Schippers, Robert Smithson and Nam June Paik turned the exhibition into a milestone for avant-garde art. SONSBEEK became synonymous with progressive and experimental, thematic art shows.

SONSBEEK has constantly played a pioneering role through its novel presentations of art in public space. In collaboration with the curatorial collective ruangrupa, SONSBEEK once again brought art to the public in 2016. SONSBEEK ’16: transACTION marked the start of a quadrennial, the 12th edition will take place in 2020.

www.ftn-books.com has some of the Sonsbeel catalogues still available

 

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Piet Warffemius (1956)

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It took me 2 decades to finally appreciate Piet Warffemius his works. Personally i was not that much convinced by his early graphic works , but from the moment he depicted branches and leaves in his paintings and translated them into cortensteel “outside” sculptures, i was convinced of their quality and now we have almost 7 years now our own Warffemius sculpture ” van een naar twee” in our garden.

It is not unique, it comes from an edition of 5 copies but that does not matter. For us it was our first and until now our only outside sculpture. The most beautiful aspect is that the sculpture present itself differnntly with the change of the seasons. Cortensteel is not a evry friendly material but corrosion gives it a beautful reddisch browm patine which blends perfect with flowers and plants.

Since i have been collecting Warffemius books and found some extra ones which are now for sale at www.ftn-books

 

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Otto Hamer (1938)…The Killing of Desire

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Never heard of the artist before, but what a great find this is. People following the blog know that concrete and constructivist artists are among my favorites. Last week i visited the bookmarket and found an intriguing title ” OTTO HAMER : Mijnheer I.KAA EN DE KUNST” leafing through the book i noticed immediately why his art fascinates me personally . The repetitions of form(s), the use of bright colors and the feel for composition “hit” me. The book itself was a surprise too. Beautiful lay-out, excellent print quality . Designed by Otto Hamer himself together with Aernout Tas this is a highly  accomplished book. To give an impression of Hamer’s work here is the Youtube video i found:

There is not much info to be found on the artist, but i found an article in dutch:

Otto Hamer

and some photo material of his studio and works. In the coming months i will try to find more information, but for the meantime you can start with the sites supplied.

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Margriet Smulders (1955) … intrigues

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I know the work of Margriet Smulders from the time she had her first exhibition at gallery Nouvelles Images in Den Haag and from this very start it intrigued me . I was not the kind of admirer of her work who wanted to buy a work for my collection, but still i admired her craftsmanship and excellent feel for composition. She mainly depicts and arranges flowers , which gives a very classic feel almost like you are looking at a 17th century painting, however these are not paintings but highly detailed photographs using glass and mirror surfaces to arrange the flowers which gives the perfect reflection.

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She has developed this technique into perfection and now has made herself a name outside the Netherlands too. Her compositions are printed on extremely large sizes. Making them at first glans from a distance completely abstract, but study them in detail and they reveal the objects that form together the composition. They still intrigue every time i encounter them. Galleries, Art fairs …no exception, they are recognizable and executed with great knowledge of material and composition, but for me they are too artificial and that is why i’m holding back and will not one to my colection. But this is personal and i can really understand why others want these colorful works by Margriet Smulders. For more information visit her website at www.margrietsmulders.nl and www.ftn-books.com for some publications on her works.

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Donald Judd at the van Abbemuseum

Rudi Fuchs was the admirer and curator who convinced Donald Judd to have a large retrospective at the van Abbemuseum. Judd had his entrance into the dutch Museum scene with Enno Develing who had organized, with all important minimal art artists, exhibitions at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in the Sixties . Judd was one of them and since the popularity of Minimal Art in the Netherlands grew steadily. The van Abbemuseum made an exhibition with Judd in 1987, after which exhibitions another one with Judd, Fuchs and Jitta was held on the prints by Donald Judd at the Gemeentemuseum. It was one of the last exhibitions Rudi Fuchs curated for the van Abbemuseum before he switched to the Gemeentemuseum as a director and made this print exhibition. Fuchs was a great fan, because together with the print exhibition he ordered furniture, desks and even a complete parquet floor all done by Judd of which only the floor remains at the Escher Museum at the Paleis Lange Voorhout location. The rest “disappeared” , was damaged,  or was sold during the last 2 decades.

The blog is to point out that this is an important catalogue which is now available at www.ftn-books.com together with some other publications. As mentioned …Enno Develing wast the first European curator who presented the Minimal Art movement and his artists at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. Here is the extremely important catalogue of this exhibition which i gladly make available for my readers. Click the MINIMAL ART link below and read the PDF version of this rare and very important catalogue.

MINIMAL ART

 

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Aart Klein (1909-2001) …typically dutch?

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No definitely not!….Klein is of the most important dutch photographers from the last century and recorded daily life in the Netherlands , but that does not mean that his photographs are typically dutch. Their subject is in many cases dutch, but their appeal is more international than one would imagine. I have sold Klein publications all over the world , including some to Japan. Aart Klein is for me one of the greats from the last century . His black and white photography has a graphic quality, which is rarely seen among his contemporaries.

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The Stedelijk Museum devoted a special exhibition to his photographs, but beside this special show he contributed to many other exhibitions with his quality photographs. Aart Klein publications are available at www.ftn-books.com