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Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973)

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The importance of Lipchitz can not be underestimated, because he was was probably the first who worked out cubism in 3D. His cubist sculptures are highly recognizable and because the artist has a strong following in the Netherlands, where he had in the late 50’s some Stedelijk MUseum presentations curated by Willem Sandberg, his works can be found in most of the large museums in the Netherlands. Paris is where he studied and found soul mates .

It was there, in the artistic communities of Montmartre and Montparnasse, that he joined a group of artists that included Juan Gris and Pablo Picasso as well as where his friend, Amedeo Modigliani, painted Jacques and Berthe Lipchitz.

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Living in this environment, Lipchitz soon began to create Cubist sculpture. In 1912 he exhibited at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts and the Salon d’Automne with his first solo show held at Léonce Rosenberg‘s Galerie L’Effort Moderne in Paris in 1920. With artistic innovation at its height, in the 1920s he experimented with abstract forms he called transparent sculptures. Later he developed a more dynamic style, which he applied with telling effect to bronze compositions of figures and animals.

For more publications on cubism and Lipschitz please visit www. ftn-books.com

 

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La Grande Parade / Stedelijk Museum 1984

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Yesterday i stumbled upon a short note included in one of the catalogues that i have in my collection that the former owner wanted to see the exhibition La GRANDE PARADE in the Stedelijk Museum. I remembered visiting that exhibition and now almost 3 decades ago i realized that this was one of the first blockbuster exhibitions held in the Stedelijk . A great overview of Modern Art from the 20th century curated by Edy de Wilde who showed his special qualities as a collector with this exhibition and said goodbye to this collection as the director of the SM . It has probably the nicest Leger ever made in it and….Willem de Kooning….many many Willem de Kooning paintings ,who is still one of the key artists within te collection of the Stedelijk. Leafing through the catalogue one can only be amazed that so many great art was once in one place. There are not many of these exhibitions any more, because these are far too expensive to organize , but if there is one….go stand in line for a couple of hours and remember in 30 years the exhibition you visited. If it is as good as LE GRANDE PARADE it was well worth the wait. For the catalogues please visit www.ftn-books.com

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Eadward Muybridge (1830-1904)

The importance of Muybridge is not the artistic way he made his photographs, but because he recognized that he could catalogue motion and movement by placing photographs in sequence. This find was important because in detail one could study all movements. From athletes to birds….everything was photographed ,recorded and placed in sequence, making this in the 19th century the reference guide for all movement. The quality of his studies and photographs is shown in this excellent animation

Conclusion must be that not only serious art lovers, but also directors and animators are tributary to Eadward Muybridge.

And of course www.ftn-books.com has some nice books available on the subject.

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Total Design (1963-2000)

This text was taken from the site ” MEMORY OF THE NETHERLANDS ” and gives an excellent idea what TD was.

The corporation Associatie voor Total Design NV, Total Design for short, was established in 1963. Until then, practically all major design commissions from Dutch clients had been contracted out to foreign agencies. There were no large design agencies in the Netherlands at the time. Total Design was established with a view to filling this unsatisfactory gap.

Total Design’s board of management in 1963; from left to right: Friso Kramer, Dick Schwarz, Benno Wissing, Ben Bos, Paul Schwarz and Wim Crouwel (photography: Jan Versnel)

The founders were Wim Crouwel (graphic design), Friso Kramer (industrial design), Benno Wissing (graphic and spatial design) and Paul and Dick Schwarz (organization and finance). Before long, Ben Bos, an experienced copywriter and designer, joined the team.

This mixed group had such wide ranging experience that it was able to execute complex ‘total’ commissions from a variety of clients in industry, trade and transport, and the government and cultural sectors.

Years of success
The 1960s were the most successful period for Total Design: its staff size increased enormously and the agency managed to hold on to various clients for a long time. Some of them, like Randstad and the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum, ( of which many books are available at www.ftn-books.com) were extremely loyal to Total Design.

In those years, other important clients were Schiphol airport, De Bijenkorf, Steenkolen Handelsvereeniging (SHV), including its oil division PAM, Stichting Kunst en Handel (Arts And Business Foundation) and the Peter Stuyvesant Collection of paintings; a major commission dating back to that period was the design of the Dutch pavilion for the 1970 Osaka World’s Fair.

Poster ‘Holland Nestival Finale’ for the Holland Festival, 1978 (design by Anthon Beeke, Total Design)

Changes
In the 1970s, Total Design underwent great changes. The agency received mainly graphic commissions and created many house styles.

The composition of the staff changed as well. Some important designers from the very beginning decided to leave the agency. Friso Kramer had left already in 1967; in 1972, Benno Wissing, Anne Stienstra, Hartmut Kowalke and the Schwarz brothers followed. Wim Crouwel, Ben Bos and Hans Wierda became the managers.

The agency’s intricate and obscure management structure was replaced by semi-independent design teams. As a result, a new generation of designers, trained by the agency itself, got a chance to prove themselves.

A period of less cohesive views on design and style dawned. Designers like Jurriaan Schrofer, Anthon Beeke, Paul Mijksenaar and Andrew Fallon introduced a lively and fresh approach to design commissions. Loek van der Sande was taken on as office manager. Work for the Dutch Post Office PTT, the Amsterdam city transport company, the Holland Festival, the Globe Theatre as well as for other clients began in the 1970s.

Total Design experienced many further changes in the 1980s and 1990s. Jelle van der Toorn Vrijthoff joined the management team in 1982. He championed young talent and in particular new techniques. Sometimes his views were diametrically opposed to those of the old guard. Wim Crouwel left Total Design in 1985, Ben Bos followed in 1990. They were the last two designers who had been involved with Total Design from the very beginning.

New orientation
Much had changed, also in the field of design. Total Design no longer had the renown of the early years. Many more design agencies had sprung up in the Netherlands through the years.

In 1988, Hans Brandt began to develop the design agency into a strategic communication agency. In de 1990s, Total Designed shifted from being a classic design agency to becoming an organization that put the emphasis on identity development, corporate branding and reputation management. In 2000, the name Total Design was changed into Total Identity.

An excellent story in the history of Total Design, but to see the true meaning of the TD office you have to experience and see their designs. Beside the Stedelijk Museum publications there are some special Total Design books available at www.ftn-books.com

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Pieter Laurens Mol (1946) an artists artist

 

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Pieter Laurens Mol has had his exhibitions over the last 4 decades and is appreciated by many of his fellow conceptual artists, but is lesser known by the greater public and collectors alike. His works are a hard act to follow. The concept is always there, but with being there it is almost always impossible to truly like and enjoy the work because of its appearance. Mol has created his own dreamlike world in which he lives and which produces now and then some great imaginative art, but beside his strong circle of admirers he stays an artists artist.

http://www.pieterlaurensmol.com

This dreamlike world and control over his world, resulted in some great publications of which many of them are more or less complete artists books. Linnen bound , some numbered or signed make them highly collectable books and www.ftn-books.com has some of them available.  You never can fathom the depths of his works, but a nice way to start with his world is to learn something about it by reading these books.

 

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Breyten Breytenbach (1939) in the Netherlands

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Most people know Breytenbach as a South African poet, but less know him as a painter. Because of the language, dutch and South African are related to each other, Breytenbach had a large following of admirers over here and galeries in the past decades invited him, not only recite his poems , but also to exhibit his works of art. This is the reason why www.ftn-books.com, has some nice publications. Not many , but worth wile to check them out.

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Joel Peter Witkin (1939) and Erwin Olaf (1959)

 

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1983, well before the fame and celebrity status of Erwin Olaf, there was this photographer who was presented in an exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum…Joel Peter Witkin was his name and his photographs balanced between absurd realism and surrealism. The same kind of photographs Erwin Olaf made in one of his first series CHESSMAN (1988). This series must have been strongly inspired by Witkin, since it depicts the same kind of absurd subjects, props and even the tone/color and atmosphere in the photographs are the same.

This series by Olaf was the first to make his work known among collectors and since, he has developed a style of his own, with completely staged photographs with a typical sixties/seventies atmosphere, but if you think his first series CHESS MEN was original and typically Erwin Olaf, than first have a look at Joel Peter Witkin and than judge again. Both mentioned publications and others on Witkin and Olaf are available at www.ftn-books.com.

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André Kertész (1894-1985)… a leporello

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André Kertész is one of the most important and influential photographers from last century. Not only his works cover all important decades from the century, but also his innovative way in seeing and photographing subjects made him famous during his life. One of the special items i have in my inventory is a leporello on the studio of Piet Mondrian. A selection of photographs resembling the classci still lifes of the dutch painters from the golden age. Great photography which proves the quality of these photographs. This leporello is available with other great Kertesz titles at www.ftn-books.com

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Robert Smithson (1938-1973)

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Another iconic artist from the sixties, who has made a name for himself in the Netherlands is Robert Smithson, because of the project Broken circle/ Spiral hill from 1971 which he realized near Emmen.

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It is unfortunate that Smithson only reached the age of 35 , otherwise other beautiful projects would have been realized, of which a great deal in the Netherlands because Smitshon was possibly the first land art artist who became famous over here because of his land art project near Emmen. His “Spiral Jetty” is probably his best known project, but for these travellers who like to visit a classic land art work. The Broken Circle Spiral Hill at Emmen is an absolute must. There are 2 important Smithson publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Arman (1928-2005)

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Arman stand for Armand Pierre Fernandez, I encountered his name today and remembered our visit to the cemetery of Père-Lachaise, the place where so many frnech and foreign celebrities are buried and remembered. There was of course the “shrine” of Jim Morrisson, who died in Paris and is still remembered by many admirers. His grave is full with grafiti and names of them and at an another side of the place there was a beautiful poetic grave of Arman.

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The grave was covered with violins and made quite an impression on me. Arman was one of the founders of the group Nouveau Realisme and can be seen as the European part of the Pop Art mouvement. In France this group grew famous with works by Spoerri, Klein and Tinguely , but the works by Arman stand out by their own. Accumulations of objects arranged and repeated on canvasses were his trademark. Including many times the use of Violins. This combination of violins in his works and for his shrine was remarkable to me. Some of his books are available at www.ftn-books.com