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André François (1915-2005)

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Born Rumanian, but living for most of his life in France.  From the early Fifties on, France had a very lively comic art scene. This surely has been an influence since his cartoon-like drawings were strongly rooted in this kind of art in France BD / Bandes Dessinees) became increasingly popular and so did the art by André François. This was picked up by Willem Sandberg who curated an exhibition on André François in 1966. Catalogue design by Wim Crouwl makes this one of my personal favourite catalogues from the Sixties. the article below was published in the Guardian some years ago…..and of course www.ftn-books.com has the 1966 Stedelijk Museum catalogue available.

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André François born André Farkas in 1915 was an illustrator known for his satirical cartoons and comics. He was born in Romania and but eventually moved to Paris. He was a left-wing Jewish and during WWII he hid away from the Germans, and after the war moved to Grisy-les-Plâtres where he eventually passed away in 2005 after a long successful career.

Francois took his early inspiration from the Art Deco movement and the renowned illustrator A.M. Cassandre. When he moved to Paris he actually studied under Cassandre for some time.

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He worked in many satirical publications in France and also in American publications like the New Yorker, Vogue, Holiday and Sports Illustrated. Beyond magazines he also worked in the realm of children’s book illustration, adult content illustration and within the advertising industry (as many illustrators of the time did). In advertising he often created visual puns usually. This usually involved turning inanimate objects into human forms as well as the opposite.

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He became known in Paris for the sense of humour in his work, which he primarily completed in crude black and white ink drawings, with the occasional injection of vibrant colour. He became well-known and sought after by art directors in America after he published several anthologies of his cartoon work titled “The Penguin André François”, “The Tattooed Sailor and Other Cartoons From France” and “The Half-Naked Knight”. His obituary published in the New York Times describes his style perfectly: “François’ crude but sensual black-and-white brush drawings and starkly colored paintings, employing surreal and ironic juxtapositions, introduced serious whimsy to conservative commercial art. He also injected a comedic eroticism that broke various taboos.”

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At the age of 86, his house underwent a terrible house fire and he lost almost all of his work. His friends report that he wanted to create a completely new set of work to replace that which was lost. In 2005 he died from heart and kidney failure.

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What drew me to François’ work is the looseness and simplicity. It reminds me of another contemporary illustrator who I love named Manddy Wyckens. It also reminds me of the illustrations done by Jean-Jacques Sempé for the children’s comic Petit Nicolas. What I love about François’ work is that he doesn’t just create cute, or beautiful images, he is always saying something. While he aims to convey a message, he also doesn’t give the audience all of the puzzle pieces. Sometimes it takes a little longer to understand what the illustration means but when you understand it, it’s all the more rewarding.

I think part of the reason I’m attracted to his work is that I can relate to it as I feel that I am always trying to say something with my work, but often the results are crude drawings and paintings.

The looseness and simplicity is also something I love about his work. Being able to communicate a message with a style that seems effortless is commendable. Looseness and simplicity is something I would love to learn how to use in my own work so I will be sure to look to André François for future inspiration.

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Sources:
https://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/16/world/europe/obituary-andr-franois-illustrator-and-cartoonist.html

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Pieter Holstein (1934)

 

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Holstein works are on the border of comics and illustrations. They have a message to be told and within the picture one can discover a complete story even fantasize about the figures and what they are doing. It is a kind of art which is timeless and easy to admire. Figures and drawings are detailed without being realistic. As said a bit like comics are drawn and made.

The Stedelijk Museum recognized the qualities of these drawings in an early stage and made a beautiful catalogue together with the exhibition in 1970. The SIPKE & PIET boek is a typical Holstein production. Drawings and design ( WIm Crouwel), make this a highly collectable item.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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the 500 first Stedelijk Museum publications…A very important list

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Last Thursday i encountered finally one of the list I was hoping to find for a long time. The list is made in the beginning of the Eighties when interest rose in acquiring and collecting the Stedelijk Museum publications. Since the start in the Mid ’30s from last century, over 1100 publications have been published by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and this list contains the numbers and titles of the first 500 numbered publications. Willem Sandberg, Piet Zwart and Wim Crouwel, 3 of the greatest of Dutch designers all can be found on this list and i noticed of the 500 titles on it I have over 400 currently available at http://www.ftn-books.com

Beside the one on the list, there are of course many others published by the Stedelijk Museum FTN books has available. Take a look, save and share this very important document. the list is in PDF format and can be downloaded with the link below:

sm lijst 1 tm 500

 

 

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Helena van der Kraan (1940-2020)

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A few days ago i learned that Helena van der Kraan had died at the age of 80.

I have encountered Helena a number of times at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag where she had become friends with many of its staff. At many occasions these friendships grew into series of portraits and i remember at one time she made photographs of all the staff to be published in a little book which was presented to Theo van Velzen at his leaving the museum. A very kind woman she was and she will be surely remembered for her great photographs she made during her entire career.


On June 14th, on her 80th birthday, former participant and photographer Helena van der Kraan passed away. Born in Prague in 1940, she came to the Netherlands shortly after the uprising in former Czechoslovakya in 1968, for a two year residency at what was then known as ‘ateliers ’63’. There she met sculptor Axel van der Kraan, with whom she collaborated for many years on large-scale, wooden sculptures, until Helena’s artistic practice focussed more and more on photography. She is known for her restrained and tender portraits of artist friends. Her work is represented in the collections of the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum and Museum Boijmans-Van Beuningen. In Fotomuseum The Hague, her series of teddybear photographs is on view until November 1st, 2020.

https://www.fotomuseumdenhaag.nl/nl/tentoonstellingen/beer-teddy

 

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the final … Piet Dirkx weekly

This is the last of the “Piet Dirkx weekly” . After i had finished the cigarboxes 2 years ago and now the series publishing almost 80 Piet Dirkx weekly’s . This series has now come to an end.

Small, important, rare kinds of Piet Dirkx publications and collectibles have come along. Does this mean that there will no longer be any Piet Dirkx publications/ blogs anymore? Certainly not….. i will be preparing in the next months the material for another 60+ works by Piet Dirkx and will publish these in a “PIET DIRKX MONTHLY”.

For now i have decided this beautiful and cherished 2009 New Years wish by Piet Dirkx to conclude this series. It is a pencil and watercolor drawing. Signed  and colored by Piet.

measures 14 x 9 cm.

dirkx nieuwjaar mond

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Jaap Mooy (1915-1987)

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Jaap Mooy is a dutch artist who is increasingly recognized as being important for Modern Art in the Netherlands. He witnessed the development of abstract art and was in the last decade of his artistic life an abstract painter pur sang. There are many influences to be recognized within his art. There is a bit Lucebert, Karel Appel, Tajiri, Jean Arp and Tinguely, but also influences of Bauhaus in his collages.

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Still this kind of art is getting more important by the year, because it shows the way abstract painting was developing over the years in the Netherlands and Jaap Mooy was an important artist contributing to this development.

left Mooy and right Jean Arp

http://www.ftn-books.com has now the most important Jaap Mooy publication available.

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Francois Boisrond (1959)

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The lesser known artist for us in the Netherlands is Francois Boisrond. The Groninger Museum has some works in its collection, but according to my information this is the only public collection with works by Boisrond, but for the french he is very well known. also with a highly recognizable style he made himself a name in the FIGURATION LIBRE.

Inspired by comics his works developed in a period of 15 years in a complete other direction. His paintings lost their spontaneity and were much more painted in the classical tradition. Still Boisrond is important for Modern Art and the catalogues that http://www.ftn-books.com has now available show the quality of Boisrond his earliest works.

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Edmond Baudoin (1942)

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For me personally, Bauoin is one of my comic heroes. Of course there are Herge and Franquin and many others from the golden age of European Comics that deserve your admiration, but from the later generations there are only a few artists that will be historically important. Jean Giraud, Druillet and Tardi have all proven to be important, but for me there is another artist, a comic hero, who belongs in this row of great names. One that is lesser known but somebody who moves on the crossroads of comic and graphic novel.

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Edmond Baudoin is that artist. Left school at the age of 16 and has been drawing and writing comics since. The style….realistic…the stories poetic and taken from his personal life.

http://www.ftn-books has the LE PORTRAIT book by Baudoin now available.

baudoin portrait

 

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New Business Card FTN books & Art

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Some recent changes made it necessary to translate these changes into a new business card. The most important one being two new email addresses. One personal one and the other for the FTN books & Art contacts. So here is all the new business information to contact me and keep track of my activities, the daily blog and additions to my inventory.

Wilfried van den Elshout / FTN books

Veursestraatweg 106c

2265CG Leidschendam,  the Netherlands

www.ftn-books.com

www.ftn-blog.com

new email : wilfriedvandenelshout@gmail.com

new email : ftnbooksandart@gmail.com

 

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A great Museum Alphabet book / 1995

 

museum alphabet.jpgIn the very long period that i am now active  as a bookseller and collector i have seen many Alphabet books published and sold by the most famous of museums. Arguably one of the best, and certainly a personal best was the one designed by Gracia Lebbink. ( i only have a personal copy in my collection) but recently i bought another MUSEUM ALPHABET book which is nice and adventurous. It is the book published by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The museum published a 30 page hard paged book with details of some of the highlights within the collection, making the very youthful in a playful way familiar with the Museums collection. The book was designed and “written” by Gisela Voss and published in 1995 and is well worth collecting.  There is nothing to be found on the internet on the author, but this book is one of a series of other books she made for the Boston Museum .This book is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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