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Josef Albers Museum/Quadrat Bottrop and its excellent publications program.

I have visited this museum 5 times in a period of over 15 years and on every occasion i was impressed with the excellent publications they have for sale. Their program is simple….. They publish with every exhibition one large poster, if possible an extremely well designed catalogue and if the artist cooperates they publish a special print in a signed , numbered and limited edition.  Because of this simple but effective publication program their publications are highly recognizable and are among the best in Germany/ Europe. I really like their publications…you must have guessed that…but what is more, i collected many of these beautiful posters and books over the years and bought extra copies to sell and these are now for sale at www.ftn-books.com

so please have a look at these below to get an impression and search on my site for Albers, Bottrop or Quadrat and you will get the complete overview of all available.

 

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Robert Mapplethorpe

Robert Mapplethorpe…this morning i was reminded of Mapplethorpe, because this evening there will be a documentary on him on dutch television. Mapplethorpe is certainly one of the most iconic photographers from the last 50 years, but for the dutch there were not many occasions one could see his works. There was a show at gallery Jurka in the early eighties and some of his photographs were shown in the Stedelijk Museum. Both i did not see. What is did see was a show in Dusseldorf which included his flower photographs which impressed me a lot. To prepare this blog i wanted to read something on Mapplethorpe. But the best information i found was an excellent biography on the site of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation ( http://www.mapplethorpe.org ). so here is the biography and for a complete picture of Mapplethorpe and its foundation visit their site please.

Robert Mapplethorpe was born in 1946 in Floral Park, Queens. Of his childhood he said, “I come from suburban America. It was a very safe environment and it was a good place to come from in that it was a good place to leave.”

In 1963, Mapplethorpe enrolled at Pratt Institute in nearby Brooklyn, where he studied drawing, painting, and sculpture. Influenced by artists such as Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp, he also experimented with various materials in mixed-media collages, including images cut from books and magazines. He acquired a Polaroid camera in 1970 and began producing his own photographs to incorporate into the collages, saying he felt “it was more honest.” That same year he and Patti Smith, whom he had met three years earlier, moved into the Chelsea Hotel.Mapplethorpe quickly found satisfaction taking Polaroid photographs in their own right and indeed few Polaroids actually appear in his mixed-media works. In 1973, the Light Gallery in New York City mounted his first solo gallery exhibition, “Polaroids.” Two years later he acquired a Hasselblad medium-format camera and began shooting his circle of friends and acquaintances—artists, musicians, socialites, pornographic film stars, and members of the S & M underground. He also worked on commercial projects, creating album cover art for Patti Smith and Television and a series of portraits and party pictures for Interview Magazine.

In the late 70s, Mapplethorpe grew increasingly interested in documenting the New York S & M scene. The resulting photographs are shocking for their content and remarkable for their technical and formal mastery. Mapplethorpe told ARTnews in late 1988, “I don’t like that particular word ‘shocking.’ I’m looking for the unexpected. I’m looking for things I’ve never seen before … I was in a position to take those pictures. I felt an obligation to do them.” Meanwhile his career continued to flourish. In 1977, he participated in Documenta 6 in Kassel, West Germany and in 1978, the Robert Miller Gallery in New York City became his exclusive dealer.

Mapplethorpe met Lisa Lyon, the first World Women’s Bodybuilding Champion, in 1980. Over the next several years they collaborated on a series of portraits and figure studies, a film, and the book, Lady, Lisa Lyon. Throughout the 80s, Mapplethorpe produced a bevy of images that simultaneously challenge and adhere to classical aesthetic standards: stylized compositions of male and female nudes, delicate flower still lifes, and studio portraits of artists and celebrities, to name a few of his preferred genres. He introduced and refined different techniques and formats, including color 20″ x 24″ Polaroids, photogravures, platinum prints on paper and linen, Cibachrome and dye transfer color prints. In 1986, he designed sets for Lucinda Childs’ dance performance, Portraits in Reflection, created a photogravure series for Arthur Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell, and was commissioned by curator Richard Marshall to take portraits of New York artists for the series and book, 50 New York Artists.

That same year, in 1986, he was diagnosed with AIDS. Despite his illness, he accelerated his creative efforts, broadened the scope of his photographic inquiry, and accepted increasingly challenging commissions. The Whitney Museum of American Art mounted his first major American museum retrospective in 1988, one year before his death in 1989.

His vast, provocative, and powerful body of work has established him as one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. Today Mapplethorpe is represented by galleries in North and South America and Europe and his work can be found in the collections of major museums around the world. Beyond the art historical and social significance of his work, his legacy lives on through the work of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. He established the Foundation in 1988 to promote photography, support museums that exhibit photographic art, and to fund medical research in the fight against AIDS and HIV-related infection.

PS. there are of course some nice publications available at http://www.ftn-books.com

 

 

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Karel Appel and the original litho covers

No….this is not a title for a classic Roald Dahl story, but this is reality. Some museums, but specially the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, had a policy to make affordable catalogues for their visitors to accompany their exhibitions in the 50’s and 60’s.

Designed by the best in the business ( Willem Sandberg and Wim Crouwel ) they had the task to produce these catalogues at a low price without being cheap looking. They experimented with low cost papers, small editions, number of pages between 24  and 48, most of the time stapled and a scarce use of color. Only one exception was made ….in some cases an original lithograph by the artist was used as a cover. This is why some of these beautiful catalogues are even more desirable…all because of the original lithograph.

Karel Appel was one of those artist who had his peak in the sixties and was able to demand the best possible catalogues with his exhibitions and Sandberg granted this. The Appel catalogues which were published in the late 50’s and early sixties are among the best from the catalogue series of the Stedelijk and should be present in every serious Karel Appel collection.

Just look at this foldout cover and be convinced yourself that this is special.

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For the readers of this blog…i have two of the above 1965 catalogues available at

www.ftn-books.com

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Willem Sandberg exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (until the 8th of January 2017)

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Last Sunday we visited the Stedelijk Museum for the Tinguely exhibition ( see blog in a few days) and the Willem Sandberg exhibition. Sandberg was not only the director for over 2 decades at the Stedelijk ( 1945-1963), but also took care of almost all the design and typography for the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, which was made during his years as a director. 5 rooms are filled with a multitude of publications. Mostly for the Stedelijk and some for the Israel museum in Tel Aviv.

What struck me most is that his designs are timeless and still belong to the very best designs that were made in last century. The 3rd room was filled with Stedelijk Museum publications and i was proud to find that 100% of the book publications shown in that room was available at www.ftn-books.com.

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This is an exhibition you have to visit when you are a Sandberg admirer and study the publications on show. Beautiful, in many cases handcrafted typography and designs and among the Sandberg designs the very best that were made. It was good to see that so many of these publications still are timeless and of the highest quality and never looked old fashioned. For me Willem Sandberg is still one of the very “greats” in design and typography from the 20th century.

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Mark Brusse a dutch artist and world famous in….France

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Mark Brusse has been living in Paris/France now for a very long time , but he originated from the Netherlands, where he started his career as an artist in the 60’s. He is described as a “poetic” artist and works with a multitude of materials. Painting, drawing, etching and making sculptures….. a multi talented artist who was far less appreciated in his home country than in France, where has has lived now for most of his life. This is the reason why many more publications in French can be found on this artist than there are in dutch. The strength of Brusse is his simplicity. Whith a few lines, a small drawing or some well chosen colors he draws your attention into the work and because this poetic simplicity he persuades you to like and admire it. In recent months i myself experienced on at least 2 occasions the strength of his works. The first time was at auction at the Venduehuis where the BLUE SHACK was sold.

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…. a powerful painting and one i would have loved to have for my collection and the second time was a week ago where some Brusse prints were sold at Bubb Kuyper. These i was lucky enough to buy at a reasonable price and at least 2 of them will be for sale shortly at www.ftn-books.com

….but if you can’t wait for more information look at www.ftn-books.com to find many more publications on Mark Brusse.

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Hannie Bal and Verve

Hannie Bal was married to Willem Schrofer. Schrofer was one of the founding members of VERVE and together with her husband they both were VERVE members during its existence. Both Hannie Bal and Schrofer were later recognized as highly influential in the Dutch art scene ( Schrofer taught at the Koninklijke Academie) and both were important for the  NIEUWE HAAGSE SCHOOL. A group of artists, all living in the The Hague area, and working close together in the 50’s and 60’s , meeting regularly in the Haagse Kunstkring and the Bodega DE POSTHOORN.

Hannie Bal was one of the few female artist in those days, but her work has nothing feminine. It was inspired by great artists like Cezanne and the later Neo Impressionists like Seurat and Signac

…..and she even had a very productive period at the end of the sixties/early seventies in which she made Constructivist paintings.

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Why this short story on Hannie Bal and Verve. Verve because there are some extremely nice early publications on Verve and its artists at www.ftn-books.com available and secondly. ….Today i started 2 auctions with work by Hannie Bal on Catawiki. Both starting at only euro 1,– which make these very nice works a possible win for all. Take a look at them and start bidding on this Black Friday weekend………

here are the links for the Hannie Bal auctions:

https://veiling.catawiki.nl/kavels/8902465-hannie-bal-schuin-vierkant

https://veiling.catawiki.nl/kavels/8932619-hannie-bal-station-met-trein-tuin

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Roger Raveel (1921-2013)

I am not the greatest fan of Roger Raveel, but occasionally i can appreciate his works. Specially the Beervelde project in the cellar corridors together with his friends from the Nieuwe Figuratie is a highlight. From his early days he has held exhibitions in the Netherlands and therefore a nice set of publications was published in the 60’s and 70’s by galerie Espace, who represented Raveel during these decades. Raveel is one of the great artists in Belgium, but beyond the Belgian borders his works are scarce. There are some in the Stedelijk Museum and van Abbemuseum, but those are the only ones i know of. Given the fact that he is not very well known outside Belgium and the Netherlands, i was surprised to find the number of publications i managed to collect over the years and which are now in my inventory. So if you are looking for Raveel publications please visit www.ftn-books.com

and complete your collection.

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Daniel Buren

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For this day’s blog i thought of something more colorful. This to compensate for the rather sombre previous ones and i immediately thought about Daniel Buren, who has done some tremendous beautiful projects with light and color. The latest i have seen of him was 1,5 years ago in Strasbourg where he altered the ceiling with colored panes of glas. I have put together some examples of his projects below, so you can see yourself the impact it has on the space.

One of his projects was during the seventies in the Stedelijk Museum, on which occasion a catalogue was published titles “HIER”.

Is this minimal art?…..possibly, but it is highly recognizable and what is more ….the effect on the space where the colored stripes are applied is extremely large.So i agree with what Wikipedia says about him that he is more a conceptual artist. Many of his art can be seen in public places in France , but the largest collection of Buren’s work is still in French museums like the Centre Georges Pompidou.

Some very nice items by Buren are available at www.ftn-books.com

and yes….the one on the left are expresso cups by illy

 

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Maeght edition…Derriere le Miroir

Starting in 1946 ( December) and ending in 1982 with number 250. This publication was published by Maeght on an almost regular basis of 5 publications each year. Many great artists have made contributions to this famous magazine and what is best, these contributions were in almost all cases original works of art.

Original lithographs were publiohed on one or 2 pages  in each publications and in most of the sases there were more than 2 lithographs included. Thre is even a famous publications on Miro with over 20 originals within.

What made it affordable is the edition size which were far more than regular art editions by Maeght, but because these lithographs were not signed they were “original’ cheap works of art. ~Many great artists like Chagall, Chillida, Giacometti and Miro made special editions within the series.

My personal favorit…Wifredo Lam

 

This series is collectable and affordable and whenever you see a copy in which you are interested make sure that it is complete, because many of the editions did not survive as complete copies because these were torn down and sold separately.

Look for some nice ones

at www.ftn-books.com and search for “Derriere”

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Poster by Richard Paul Lohse

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Just a single item to blog about this day. Not an ordinary one , but a very special poster. The original silkscreen print was used as the exhibition poster for the Richard Paul Lohse exhibition in the van Abbemuseum in 1971.

One of the secrets of the  dutch publications which were published in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s is that in some cases  a special printing method ( lino/silkscreen/woodblock) was used for the publicity and exhibition publications….result a true piece of art. This Lohse poster is such a special production. A very large screenprint , printed by Hoffman and a special design by Richard Paul Lohse makes this a highly collectable Lohse item. A large screenprint with an impressive composition by Lohse. It is not a cheap poster, but once framed it shows its true quality and will impress all. A special item and a true piece of art of which i think it is probably the only one available on the market at this moment.

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There are only 7 R.P. Lohse’s in dutch collections but these are excellent ones ( see above).

The poster on offer can be compared to these beautiful paintings because it is from the same period.

available at www.ftn-books.com