Thomas Schütte (1954)… Two reasons to love.

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For me there are two personal reasons to love the works by Thomas Schütte. The first reason for me is his architectural art. Always trying to find a different approach to architecture makes his works interesting and in the same category as the architectural works by John Hejduk.

Secondly there is his publications. Meticulously designed books. Published by the best publishers, printed by the best printers and from start to finish typical Thomas Schütte productions. These books are among the best art books published in the last 50 years and i am proud to have some of them in my inventory of www.ftn-books.com

Review Gemeentemuseum Den Haag visit 11/12/2017….. CHAOS!

I think i have a right to speak when i say that yesterdays visit at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag for me personally was “complete Chaos” . Yes, it was a busy Sunday afternoon and there must have been well over 1500 visitors that day, making it hard to find a quiet spot within in the museum. But beside that, the collections and all special exhibitions were filled with too many objects and what is even more important there was hardly any connection between the subjects of the exhibitions. First we re-visited the Heyboer exhibition which was during the last visit a real eye opener and with this second visit confirmed its importance, but after that….when you climb the stairs…. there is an Art Deco exhibition. An exhibition which has some great elements and objects but is so crowded with objects and far too many costumes that the important art is lost among all other items. For instance in the first room there is an extremely important Brancusi sculpture and one of the most beautiful Kees van Dongen paintings ( this was new to me) which are lost because there are too many objects in the room. It would have been so much better just to present the photograph with the Brancusi sculpture, the sculpture and the Salome painting by van Dongen and the room would have been perfect.

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Now room after room is filled with too many objects and it is the same with the Steltman special exhibition. Too little space and too many objects and more important, it clashes with the Ceramic exhibition of the Ceramics by Hans de Jong ( a nice selection but again no space enough). The 3 screens with Uta Eisenreich are lost in between the two exhibition parts on the 1st floor in the Projectenzaal are not fascinating enough to stay any longer period in the room than 1 minute or so. There is no cohesion between the presentations and it makes a visit tiring and not interesting enough. But ….there are 2 exceptions  . First there is the mentioned Heyboer exhibition which is a must see and a great chance to discover Heyboer as a painter and certainly one of the most fascinating exhibitions i have seen last year…… It is the Marthe Wery / works on paper exhibition in the Berlage room.

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Over many years, Wéry was inspired by paper to create a variety of unique forms of artistic expression, in which the visual experience is always paramount. She used Indian ink to inscribe serene straight lines on handmade paper, the various types and sizes of which contribute to the expressive power of the work. It may be smooth, formal and rational in appearance or, on the contrary, lumpy, tactile and sensually appealing. Wéry used folds in the paper to accentuate or interrupt the drawn lines or, in other works, soaked the paper in acrylic paint and carefully controlled the resulting colour gradient. She frequently created works on two, three or even more panels, installing them in such a way as to create a rhythmic harmony with the surrounding architectural space.

Around 1980, the lines gave way to letters or text. Wéry took texts by people like French artist Henri Matisse or American author Gertrude Stein as the points of departure for what she called her écritures. She also produced aquatints featuring compositions in which coloured geometrical planes interact with the white of the paper. When she began to stack drawings, placing them in bundles on a shelf, hanging them on the wall or standing them on the floor, they functioned as three-dimensional works. (Wery text by Gemeentemuseum Den Haag)

www.ftn-books.com has the very important Marthe Wery catalogue from 1986 available.

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Rozenburg porcelain ( 1883-1916) ….dutch Art Nouveau

I consider the products by the Rozenburg porcelain factory from The Hague to be the best examples of Dutch Art nouveau ever. Of course many would consider the “Slaolie” poster by Jan Toorop to be the best example of Dutch Art Nouveau, but for me it is all bundled within the eggshell porcelain product by the Rozenburg factory. Hand painted with the most delicate patterns and illustrations these belong to the absolute top in Art Nouveau design, Take a look at these examples .

They are all of the utmost quality and show the best  in design and painting. In the early 80’s  the ultimate book on Rozenburg porcelain was published. Written and curated by Marjan Boot, who later would become head of the design department at the Stedelijk Museum AMsterdam. The reason whhy this book is still the best on the subject is because it contains a special chapter filled with stamps and autographs of the Rozenburg master painters. I am fortunate to have this title available at www.ftn-books.com

 

Betty Woodman (1930)

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If there is one ceramist who has had an international career and exhibited all over the world it must be Betty Woodman. On several occasions she exhibited her works in the Netherlands in Museums and Galleries and i remember her exhibition from 1996 in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. With this exhibition an excellent catalogue was published, which is available at www.ftn-books.com

The reason why she had such an interesting and world wide career must be found in the accessibility of her art. Bright, primary colors and abundant shapes of her ceramics make her work stand out and are very appealing for many and because of this many museums and collectors around the globe added her works to their collections. Betty Woodman ceramics can be found in ao.:

  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
  • Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  • Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris
  • Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
  • National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
  • Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Illy …. cups to collect

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About 20 years ago Illy, the Italian coffee producing company started with their Illy collection. A prestigious collection of (espresso) cups, produced in limited editions in which they invited contemporary artists to paint and decorate their Matteo Thun designed illy cup. Since , over 100 editions have appeared in their series of art designed cups. Great names in Modern art, Fashion and design contributed to the series. Koons, Rauschenberg, Penck, Thun, Pistoletto, Bourgeois, Fabre and many others have made their appearance in the series of espresso and cappuccino cups. For those who started their collection around 2000 some great names were there to be picked up and the editions from that period belong to the highlights in many Illy collection. www.ftn-books.com still has some nice series available with their original boxes and of course never used. The illy coffee can was in most cases removed, because it was well passed its expiration date , but the cups are timeless and will grace any collection.

 

Jan van der Vaart and the Wim Crouwel catalogue ( and of course Eva Besnyo).

 

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The picture by Eva Besnyo above, i encountered in a Museum Bulletin from 1999 in which Marjan Boot wrote an article on Potst and sculptures. Van der Vaart is a highly original ceramic artist who’s quality is the shapes he created his ceramics in. Forms and shapes which were never before used as a ceramic form, but van der Vaart invented them and made them into real ceramic objects.

The pictures tell a far better story than i can, but there are some remarks to be be made about this blog and the life and exhibitions by van der Vaart. First there is this great photograph of van der Vaart working which was made by Eva Besnyo and secondly one of the most beautiful catalogues Wim Crouwel ever designed was the van der Vaart catalogue from 1975.

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There are of course some other books available at www.ftn-books.com

, but this catalogue is very very impressive and in perfect condition.

Arja van den Berg (1947), master of the ordinary life.

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It is over 35 years now that i know Arja van den Berg and followed her progress in art. She stayed true to all subjects close to her. Kitchen, fruits, dogs, cats and the occasional portraits complete her oeuvre. Painting, graphics and ceramics make her work diversified as much as possible, but subjects are always found “close by” in her daily life and studio. The books and prints that www.ftn-books.com has available of her show this on every page. Somewhat romantic, very skill full and highly accessible works, make her art timeless.