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Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985)

It was early February that we visited Paris and ended our 3 day’s in this city with a visit of the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Situated next door to the Louvre it is much less known, but the reason to visit was the Bauhaus exhibition which was held over there.  However , it was not the Bauhaus exhibition , but de exquisite Dubuffet collection which won me over. Because www.ftn-books.com has a large inventory of Dubuffet publications ( 24 available items) i searched for this blog the internet and found a great short synopsis on this Art Brut artist.

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Jean Dubuffet disliked authority from a very early age. He left home at 17, failed to complete his art education, and wavered for many years between painting and working in his father’s wine business. He would later be a successful propagandist, gaining notoriety for his attacks on conformism and mainstream culture, which he described as “asphyxiating.” He was attracted to the art of children and the mentally ill, and did much to promote their work, collecting it and promulgating the notion of Art Brut. His early work was influenced by that of outsiders, but it was also shaped by the interests in materiality that preoccupied many post-war French artists associated with the Art Informel movement. In the early 1960s, he developed a radically new, graphic style, which he called “Hourloupe,” and would deploy it on many important public commissions, but he remains best known for the thick textured and gritty surfaces of his pictures from the 1940s and ’50s.

Key Ideas

Dubuffet was launched to success with a series of exhibitions that opposed the prevailing mood of post-war Paris and consequently sparked enormous scandal. While the public looked for a redemptive art and a restoration of old values, Dubuffet confronted them with childlike images that satirized the conventional genres of high art. And while the public looked for beauty, he gave them pictures with coarse textures and drab colors, which critics likened to dirt and excrement.
The emphasis on texture and materiality in Dubuffet’s paintings might be read as an insistence on the real. In the aftermath of the war, it represented an appeal to acknowledge humanity’s failings and begin again from the ground – literally the soil – up.
Dubuffet’s Hourloupe style developed from a chance doodle while he was on the telephone. The basis of it was a tangle of clean black lines that forms cells, which are sometimes filled with unmixed color. He believed the style evoked the manner in which objects appear in the mind. This contrast between physical and mental representation later encouraged him to use the approach to create sculpture.
http://www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr/francais/musees/musee-des-arts-decoratifs/parcours/galeries-thematiques/galerie-jean-dubuffet/
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King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima into Zero art ( Staudt and Leblanc)

HRH King of the Netherlands, Koning Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima collect Zero art. It was yesterday evening that there was a 90 minute interview with King Willem-Alexander on the occasion of his 50th birthday on prime time television.  An open and honest interview in which i learned to appreciate more the person Willem-Alexander is. I am still opposed to a King or Queen as head of state, but this was the first time i admired this King and learned that he and his wife Maxima appreciate Zero art. At the beginning of the interview , where Wilfried de Jong ( interviewer) was received in the entrance hall of the kings home, villa Eikenhorst. Willem- Alexander showed 2 of the works from his collection, the first was a work by Klaus Staudt ( he referred to it as being from a german artist) and the other was not mentioned at all , but i am for 99% sure it was a TORSIONS painting by Walter Leblanc.

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Both great works of art and it makes me curious about the other works in their collection. To celebrate the Kings birthday there will be a 10% discount today on the entire inventory of www.ftn-books.com and an invitation to the King to look at the great books i have in my collection on ZERO art.

We live nearby and it will be an honor to show you some nice ZERO publications.

discount code only the 27th and the 28th of april: Koningsdag2017

 

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Piet Stockmans (1940)

We were only 3 in Den Haag who offered the small studio ceramics by Piet Stockmans and now only one is left ( Toegepaste Kunst/ Valkenbosplein, Den Haag). The shop in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Toegepaste Kunst and Studio 40 sold these little ceramic art objects. White or pale blue they made an everlasting impression when you first see them. Stockmans started his career at Koninklijke Mosa in Maastricht where he worked from 1966 until 1989. After that period he worked for himself and his studio became world famous among ceramic art collectors all over the world and many of them visited his studio in Genk. Stockmans has become a very successful ceramic artist who’s works are sold all over the world, which makes him not only as an artist successful, but also commercially his products are a huge success. One aspect of his designs deserve special attention. He has designed and made porcelain for many of the great chefs in Europe.

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Of course www.ftn-books.com has some nice examples of his publications . Browse through them and you will notice that beside his commercial porcelain there are some very nice and breath taken ceramic unique works.

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MAGNUM photography

There are many publications of Magnum associated photographers to be found at www.ftn-books.com, but there is one very special one which i would like to emphasize in this blog. There is the publication from 1963. One of the last to be designed by Willem Sandberg and a catalogue for the first of the many MAGNUM exhibitions to be held in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. The SM has a long history with Magnum photography, but this was one of the first to be held in a major museum and because of its design and simplicity it has become a highly desirable and collectable catalogue. The Stedelijk Museum continued to present the Magnum photographers throughout the decades to come , resulting in the 2008 exhibition to commemorate the 60 years of the Magnum agency, but the 1963 is the first and most important one within the series of publications on Magnum and the Stedelijk Museum. Next year the agency will celebrate its 70 years of existence, perhaps a new exhibition in the Stedelijk………..?

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Co Westerik (1924)

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One of the last grand “old” masters of the dutch Art scene. Of course C ( Jacobus) Westerik has had his exhibitions abroad, but beside the Netherlands, germany and Belgium his name is not that well known. I met Westerik at the time he was making the portrait of Theo van Velzen. One of the former directors of the Haags Gemeentemuseum. The portrait was presented as a farewell present when van Velzen resigned to be hung in a gallery with portraits of other former directors. A small portrait which he managed to squeeze in and complete it in between 2 other paintings. His canvasses are not too big , but they are scarce because Westerik has a very small production yearly. I really do not know if he still is active as a painter, but at the time the van Velzen portrait was made , his production was 3 paintings a year. All were sold up front to collectors and museums. Among them Frits Becht (1930-2006) .He was the private collector with the largest Westerik collection .

He who was a personal friend for his entire life and followed his career through the years and bought many works. beside a painter Westerik was also known for his graphics in which he excelled. His production as a graphic artist was much much larger and there are almost a thousand different prints known by him. Westerik is a very important artist for dutch art and because i followed him over the years www.ftn-books.com has many publications on Westerik available.

A short documentary on Westerik can be found at this address: http://hollandsemeesters.info/posts/show/7738

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Asger Jorn ( 1914-1973)

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I appreciate all the COBRA mouvement artists, but if i had to chose one…it would be Asger Jorn. His paintings have a mysterious quality and within their abstraction one can always recognize a realistic element. Wether its a face, a human figure, an animal they are there …hidden within the picture, brightly colored and sometimes outlined with black. Before COBRA, Jorn was painting realistic scenes, and was an assistant to Le Corbusier, but after he met Appel, Constant and Corneille, with whom he founded COBRA and travelled to France, his style became completely abstract and strongly influenced by child drawings. He discussed this frequently with Christian Dotremont , because they both were ill with tuberculoses and treated within the same hospital in Silkeborg. In this same city, nearby his birth town an Asger Jorn museum was founded and financed by Jorn. http://www.museumjorn.dk/da/

This museum has become one of the most important ones in Denmark.

Jorn is now a classic among modern art lovers and will become more important every decade to come. www.ftn-books.com has some great Asger Jorn titles available in its inventory.

 

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Eva Besnyö (1910-2003)

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Eva Besnyö has reached a very high age and stayed active in photography for almost her entire life. It was not until her children had left the house, she took up photography again and started to make a name for herself with photographing the feminist movement of ” DOLLE MINA” in the early seventies. This made her quit famous in the Netherlands and with this recognition her older photographs of portraits and architecture were appreciated again too. Since she has had multiple exhibitions in the Netherlands and abroad and is now considered with Oorthuys, Andriesse, Diepraam and van der Elsken to be the photographers that photographed the Netherlands and its society after WWII.

There are some Eva Besnyö publications available at www.ftn-books.com 

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Bořek Šípek (1949-2016)

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Architect, designer and glass artist. Bořek Šípek sipek was  one of the leading artist in the eighties and influenced many young artist . Named the father of Neo Baroque and  together with the designers of Memphis Bořek Šípek he first became famous for his glass designs. He was presented in the Netherlands by galerie Steltman and it was at one of the first exhibitions held in the gallery that i met the artist. The interior furniture in the Steltman gallery , (Spuistraat location), was specially commissioned by Steltman and some of those were produced in a very small limited editions. This  was the start of the exhibitions by Steltman resulting in many more exhibitions and over 200 signed and numbered editions. On more than one occasion Sipek worked together with Erwin Olaf who at that time started to make a name as a photographer and this friendship resulted in some remarkable books.

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Some of the books on Sipek are available at www.ftn-books.com. For some very special Sipek/signed items contact me, because  i have some glass works and the very special Kronos set for sale.

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Antoni Tapies (1923-2012)

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It must have been some 12 years ago that i first visited Barcelona and found myself amazed and surprised by this city full of Gaudi and other modernista marvels, but the best find for me was the discovery and first visit of the Fundacio Antoni Tapies.

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The building itself is already worth visiting and the inside is even more spectacular. An old facade houses a very modern museum inside which houses the works donated by Antoni and Theresa Tapies. I loved its collection and it proved to me that Tapies his art is timeless, very spanish and cosmopolitan at the same time. Tapies is possibly , next to Picasso and Dali , the most important spanish name in Modern Art. He often uses large canvasses and on them paints with “earth” colors impressive abstract compositions and uses  matter in them.

In these matter paintings , the materials used are no longer simple media used to express an idea; they are the idea itself. That process produces a complete identification between material and form, between concept and language. Those works become opaque surfaces, walls on which the artist writes his graffiti and attaches the forms of objects or people. His identification with the work through his surname (in Catalan Tàpies means “walls”) expresses a more profound desire to break with Western dualism and blend with the material in a continuous formlessness.
Over the post-war years there was a general interest among artists on both sides of the Atlantic in material. Awareness of the atomic bomb and the new scientific discoveries aroused a strong curiosity in science, the new ideas about space-time and substance, while inventions such as the electronic microscope provided a new view of nature.
At the same time, Tàpies had developed an interest in Eastern philosophy, because of its emphasis on material, the identity between man and nature and its denial of the dualism of our society.

There are some excellent Tapies publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)

Today a celebration and many congratulations to my wife who has been married for 12,5 years to me. For our honeymoon we travelled to Mexico together with our son Lucas. So for that reason i chose to make a blog on Frida Kahlo, the most famous Mexican artist.

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During the time i was working at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag we had a show on Frida Kahlo in the Museum Paleis Lange Voorhout in 1993. It was by far the best show, with the highest number of visitors, this little museum has ever had. The show lasted only about 70 days but was extended twice because of the high number of visitors. Mainly women attended the exhibitions and i found out that for them Kahlo was a liberated woman who has been a role model for many. What struck me most in her works were the very personal sometimes even surrealist elements in her paintings and where i had imagined large paintings and works of art , these were in many cases small paintings. Still….a terrific exhibition and the last one to have been organized in the Netherlands in the last 25 years. What remains is the catalogue which is a classic among Kahlo collectors and available at www.ftn-books.com. Last but not least…congratulations to my wife Linda. These were 12,5 years filled with love, travels, fun and health…may the next 12,5 years give the same to us….    Schermafbeelding 2017-04-16 om 09.41.37 Schermafbeelding 2017-04-16 om 10.01.23