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Lucien Clergue (1934-2014)

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Here is a classic photographer who made his name with the Corrida, Picasso and the southern French nudes. There is a story on Clergue and myself. In the early Seventies there was a gallery in the Kazernestraat in Den Haag called Arta. In the gallery graphic art was sold to members at really affordable prices and i, as a young student, could afford me some graphic works by young artists who sold their works for as little as 20 guilders. A small sum to be paid for an original work of art by mainly dutch artist, but there were exceptions which were also on offer, some sets with multiple etchings and the occasional photograph…one of them an original photograph by Lucien Clergue. A nude in the sea, sand around her torso , no face…just a body….but such an impressive photograph i had to have it.

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I took a loan with my parents and bought it and since , it has been in my collection. Later i learned the photograph came from one of the most famous series Lucien Clergue has ever made on THE SEA, shot in the Camargue in France in 1972 and resulting in one of the most iconic nude photo series any photographer has made . The photograph has now become for sale at FTN art.  This is a classic Clergue photograph in a small edition , stamped ,signed and numbered by Lucien Clergue and in immaculate condition.

For more publications on Lucien Clergue, please visit www.ftn-books.com

 

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Jean-Michel Basquiat and Fashion

 

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This blog is how i experience books and art and what i read about them and this is certainly an article i want to share with you. The guardian did an excellent article on Basquiat and his Fahion style/ A style which looks random , but was a well thought out way of dressing… Hooray for the Guardian. Here is the article and do not forget that www.ftn-books.com has some nice titles on Jean-Michel Basquiat.

There’s an image of Jean-Michel Basquiat on the cover of the New York Times magazine from 1985. The photo is by Lizzie Himmel; the headline New Art, New Money. The artist, wearing a dark Giorgio Armani suit, white shirt and tie, leans back in a chair, one bare foot on the floor, the other up on a chair. The combination of the suit and the bare feet is typical of the way Basquiat defined his own image; always with an unconventional bent.

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I’ve obsessed over his style when standing in front of Hollywood Africans, a 1983 work from a series where the images relate to stereotypes of African Americans in the entertainment business. It is a banger of a painting and will form part of Basquiat: Boom for Real, a retrospective opening at the Barbican in London this month.

I have a longstanding interest in the way artists dress, from Picasso to Hockney, Georgia O’Keeffe to Robert Rauschenberg, and I think their wardrobes exert as powerful an influence on mainstream fashion as those of any rock or Hollywood stars. These artists carved out instantly recognisable uniforms: clothes that symbolise the same singular point of view as their greatest works, usually with the sense of complete ease that is the holy grail of true style.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled 1982, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. On show at the Barbican in London in 2017.
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 Jean-Michel Basquiat, Untitled 1982, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. On show at the Barbican in London in 2017. Photograph: Jean-Michel Basquiat/Barbican

Basquiat’s wardrobe was distinctive, whether he was in mismatched blazer and trousers with striped shirt and clashing tie, or patterned shirt with a leather jacket pushed off his shoulders. He was perhaps most recognisable in his paint-splattered Armani suits. “I loved the fact that he chose to wear Armani. And loved even more that he painted in my suits,” Giorgio Armani says. “I design clothes to be worn, for people to live in, and he certainly did!”

In many ways, this bricolage approach to clothing is akin to the way he created his art. “His work was a mysterious combination of elements – text and colour, historical reference, abstraction and figurative techniques,” Armani says. “In his life, he also mashed up creative activities – he was a graffiti artist, a musician, an actor, a maker of great artworks. This eclecticism made him a mysterious and unconventional man. That mix made him stand out.”

Born in Brooklyn, Basquiat and classmate Al Diaz graffitied statements across New York as SAMO© in the late 70s, before he went on to become one of the biggest stars of the 80s art scene with his unique and brilliantly chaotic paintings. He died in 1988 at just 27, but is still regarded as one of the most influential painters of his generation. A painting from 1982, Untitled, sold this year for £85m, putting him in a unique club alongside the likes of Picasso in terms of record-breaking sales.

“He was an incredibly stylish artist,” says Barbican curator Eleanor Nairne. “He was very playful about the performative aspects of identity.” He was also aware of the “renewed fixation on celebrity” that coincided with the art boom of the 80s, particularly in New York. He famously appeared in Blondie’s Rapture video, dated Madonna and befriended Andy Warhol.

Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, September 1985.
 Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, September 1985. Photograph: Richard Drew/AP

Cathleen McGuigan, who wrote that 1985 New York Times feature, recounts Basquiat at the hip Manhattan hangout Mr Chow’s, drinking kir royal and chatting to Keith Haring while Warhol dined with Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran nearby. “He attracted the attention of Warhol and Bowie, so was endorsed by those who had already achieved that rare style-icon status,” Armani says. “And he had a very unique look – he had hair as distinctive as Warhol’s and wore suits in a way as stylish and relaxed as Bowie.”

Basquiat’s interest in clothing was not just something he explored or exploited at the height of his fame. In Basquiat: A Quick Killing In Art, by Phoebe Hoban, clothes are an important part of his life story. His mother had at one point designed them, while one of his teachers noted he had pencils sticking out of his hair from an early age. Soon after he killed off SAMO© he was painting sweatshirts, lab coats and jumpsuits for Patricia Field, who gave him one of his first shows at her East Eighth Street boutique. Descriptions of his stirring appearance include this by American curator Diego Cortez: “I remember on the dancefloor seeing this black kid with a blond Mohawk. He had nothing to do with black culture. He was this Kraftwerkian technocreature … He looked like a Bowery bum and a fashion model at the same time.”

Basquiat went on to model in a 1987 Comme des Garçons show wearing a pale blue suit, black buckle sandals, white shirt and white bow tie. Robert Johnston, style director at British GQ, describes Basquiat’s style as “a work of art in itself” and adds: “While meaning no disrespect to his talent, it is hard to imagine he would have taken New York so much by storm if he’d looked more like Francis Bacon.”

Basquiat’s influence on menswear is still felt today. While other icons have referenced his style – Kanye West sported a T-shirt bearing his portrait, Frank Ocean namechecked him in lyrics by Jay-Z, who dressed as him for a Halloween party – there is a more direct effect on fashion. There have been collaborations, via his estate, with the likes of Reebok and Supreme. There’s a photo of Basquiat wearing an Adidas T-shirt with a pinstripe suit which is a template for how the younger generation approach the idea of tailoring. At the S/S 18 shows in Milan, wonky ties with suiting at Marni made me jot down “Basquiat” in my notebook. And with the Barbican show his influence will spread. “The way Basquiat mixed classic tailoring with a downtown nonchalance fits the mood in menswear,” says Jason Hughes, fashion editor of Wallpaper*. “A refined suit worn with an unironed shirt, skewwhiff tie and beaten-up sneakers. The fact that he painted in those suits feels slightly anarchic and nonconformist. I want to wear a suit like that.”

This article appears in the autumn/winter 2017 edition of The Fashion, the Guardian and the Observer’s biannual fashion supplement

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Peter Geni (1908-1969)

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A lesser known name, but when i noticed an item at auction at one of the last auction viewings i visited recently , it struck me how timeless and impressive his abstract works are. Peter Geni only had one major exhibition a the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

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in 1970, right after he had died, but the small catalogue by Wim Crouwel shows the same qualities as the portfolio i encountered for aution. Unfortunately the price was too high to acquire it, but the SM catalogue is still available at www.ftn-books.com

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Monet’s “abstract” paintings

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Last week i mentioned an early Monet painting in the collection of the Haags Gemeentemuseum, the QUAI DU LOUVRE, but beside this painting they have a large sized painting BLAUWE REGEN which is almost like an abstract painting. Study it up close and there is nothing realistic in the subject nor in brushstrokes. It is pure and abstract, the same as the large Giverny paintings on show in the Orangerie ? PAris and the one in the Beyeler collection. They impress with their size , but for me there is more….they belnd with their surroundings ( Beyeler)

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and they show their enormous abstract strength when seen each one after each other in the Orangerie. The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag is planning a large overview of paintings from Monet’s Giverny period at the end of 2019, but my guess is the “Blauwe Regen” will be one of the largest one on show, because the others are hard to put on transport and have them insured in an affordable way. So whenever you visit Paris or Basel, pay a visit to the Beyeler or Orangerie and be amazed by these extremely large Monet “abstract” paintings.

For more books on Monet please visit www.ftn-books.com

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Gianfredo Camesi (1940)

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A Swiss born artist who had at the age of 30 a solo exhibition in 1970 in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Catalogue and poster were designed by Wim Crouwel.

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Camesi painter/sculptor who operates as an avant garde artist pur sang deserved at that time a presentation in the Stedelijk Museum. His works intrigue and it is a pity that he has not become as famous as some of the others from his generation. Still the catalogue published with the exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum is one of the very best designed one from the early Seventies and the art by Camesi within it is still fresh and contemporary and of course available at www.ftn-books.com

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Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985) an Iittala visionary.

Like Andries Copier in Netherlands, you probably have seen and perhaps are even using the designs by Tapio Wirkkala. Born in Finland his designs are certainly influenced by Scandinavia design. They are without any unnecessary details , clean and clear. Most of them have been published by Iittala and among them there are such iconic designs like the Thule and Tapio glass series .

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But he also had his free projects in which he developed beautiful ceramics. Wirkkala had a solo exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in 1976 for which Wim Crouwel designed the exquisite catalogue. The catalogue itself has become rare since there have been a worldwide recognition of Wirkkala as a truly original designer and artist, but www.ftn-books.com has this catalogue available together with other catalogues on Finnish designs and art.

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Joost Baljeu ( 1925-1991 )

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Here is a short text that you can find on Wikipedia on Baljeu:

Joost Baljeu was born in Middelburg on 1 November 1925. During World War II (1939–45) he began painting in an expressionist, realistic and semi-abstract idiom. After Cubism he evolved to constructivism. He made his first reliefs in 1954-55. From 1957 to 1972 he was a professor at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague in the Hague.[1] The Canadian artist Eli Bornstein began to make three-dimensional “structurist” reliefs during a sabbatical in Italy and the Netherlands in 1957.[ He met and was influenced by artists such as Jean Gorin, Joost Baljeu, Anthony Hill, Kenneth Martin, Mary Martin, Victor Pasmore and Georges Vantongerloo.

I truly began to appreciate his works just some 10 years ago at the time i first visited a gallery on dutch Modern Art. The art dealer had at that time 2 large wall sculptures by Baljeu, which were not only very impressive, but unfortunately much too expensive to acquire.

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Because i had seen these, i was spoiled and never wanted to focus at something much smaller. The admiration remained , but no additions were made to our collection of Modern Art. Still www.ftn-books.com has some excellent and highly collectable Baljeu publications for sale.

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Annely Juda Fine art in London 57 years of Modern art

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Annely Juda CBE (born Anneliese Emily Brauer; September 23, 1914 – August 13, 2006) was a German art dealer known for founding the Annely Juda Fine Arts gallery in London. Notable artists represented have included Anthony Caro, David Hockney and Leon Kossoff. Juda introduced several Japanese artists to the London art market.

Since i have become an art book dealer who specializes in art and museum publications i frequently encountered publications by the Annely Juda gallery. When you look at their histoy of gallery presentations you encounter many of the great names in Modern Art. Klee, Bellmer, Christo, Honnegger and many others. As with other galleries that started in the sixties, they have build a loyal following of visitors, collectors and admirers. Not only because their gallery presentations are among the very best, but also because of their publications which are published to accompagny their exhibitions. These publications are a “niche” in the art book collectors world, but hard to find and certainly well worth searching for becauzse they are among the best art publications from the last few decades. www.ftn-books.co has some of them available.

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Günther Förg…. a “mystery” edition

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Günther Förg, together with Sol LeWitt, this artist is one of the most promising artists for the future.

With Abstract painting, Graphic art and photographs, Günther Förg has made  a name for himself in the world of Art.

Because he was discovered in the late eighties by some dutch curators a.o Flip Bool, directors ( Rudi Fuchs) and Wim van Krimpen as a gallery owner, he received at an early stage of his career some important exhibitions in the Netherlands. Among them there was a gallery presentation in the van Krimpen gallery in Amsterdam. At that time Wim van Krimpen had some nice young artists who were presented in his gallery. Among them Piet Dirkx ( yes… from the Piet Dirkx daily) and Günther Förg, who had a chance to present some lead paintings and large photographs at the gallery. With this exhibition, an extremely nice set of  4 color lithographs was published in a small edition of only 25 copies. I loved and love the works by Gunther Forg and i am fortunate to have bought 2 of these sets at the time they were published. One litho from the set is depicted on the cover of Gunther Forg/ The complete editions 1974-1988 and within the book the set is spread over 2 pages (64 and 65) and illustrated. So far the history of the set which was published in 1987 by galerie van Krimpen.

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A leap in time brings us to ca. 2000 when i spoke Wim van Krimpen and told him we had met before at the time i bought the sets and he told me i was lucky , because about 15 sets were destroyed because his cellar at one time flooded and the sets could not be saved, leaving in total about 10 sets that were sold at the gallery and were among collectors.

Since his death in 2013 Günther Förg works are in high demand at auctions and with art dealers and i believe this demand will not end for a long long time. Günther Förg’s art is original and exquisite and this set which is now on offer is one of the best he ever has published . Look at the FTN art page for additional information.

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Josef Albers Museum / Quadrat Bottrop and its amazing poster publications.

It must have been in december some eight years ago that me, my wife and Ellis my sister in law decided to make a small detour to Bottrop after vsiting the Alsace region. When we arrived there were were impressed by the surroundings of the museum. a park and a sculpture garden next door to the museum building itself. Of coursse we came over there to see the Josef Albers paintings, but after the visit we started to see what wonderful items the bookshop was selling. Among them….posters, special prints and Josef Albers furniture.

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I bought the posters , because they were there for sale in all sorts of appearances. Specila prints, silks screened, signed and even limited editions and they were not exported or could not be ordered only bought on site. That is the reason why we returned one year later and i bought more of them. Making them a substantial part of my inventory. Most of them are sold out now, but i am fortunate to be able to offer them. These are among the very best exhibition poster sin the world by some of the grewatest names in Art today. The posters i bought are available at www.ftn-books.com…just search for Albers or Bottrop.

 

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A new look and feel for the daily FTN blog and FTN art.

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These pages with the daily blogs on “books and art” needed some changes. I had to give the “Piet Dirkx daily” a more prominent spot, the place it deserves and made a new and better focus on FTN art . I found a better template and layout and because of that the items which are for sale are far more easy to access. A search option for blog and art is now included in a much better place.

The new blog site will be changed and adjusted in the coming weeks. I have to find out what works best and how to make it better, but for the moment ….enjoy!

PS. I am sorry if i published some test versions and you were wrongly notified for the new blogs published.

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Picasso and Monet in the Gemeentemuseum

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About 30 years ago Rudi Fuchs became director of the Gemeentemuseum and one of the first things he notices was the limited amount of purchase power he had in building a new collection for the Gemeentemuseum. He wanted to expand the collection with some quintessential new works which showed the importance of the collection. At that time most of the dutch museum were all collecting the same dutch artists, because there were no funds to acquire works on the international market and thus build the same kind of collection in contemporary art. Fuchs developed an idea to sell 3 of the less important major works from the collection of the Gemeentemuseum.  Being 2 Picasso paintings and the early Monet /Quai du Louvre. All important , all very well known and probably priceless at auction. These highly important works would easily fetch over 50 million USD at that time and with the interest of that sum he would ten fold his budget for purchasing art. Politics thought different, because these works were not bought by the museum but bestowed to the museum.

This morning i remembered these paintings and realized that when they had been sold , they would have been lost for the Gemeentemuseum visitors, but even more important….with an interest rate of less than 1% , there would not have been sufficient funds to acquire anything important in todays art market. Conclusion for me that it is a good thing that they were not sold and can still be admired in the gorgeous Berlage building which houses the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.

For those that are interested in the collection of the Haags Gemeentemuseum…please take a look at www.ftn-books.com