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Ernest Utermark (1967)

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A blog on an artist who deserves a larger platform of admirers in the Netherlands and beyond. I have known Ernest since he first entered the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, but to be honest i had forgotten about him since i stopped coming daily to the museum, but every time i entered the museum through the corridor i was reminded of him because of his” cut out birds” that prevented the birds flying against the glass windows.

Last december i visited Ap Gewald at the museum and i saw Ernest in the corner of my eye and we greeted each other. A few days later I started to rearrange some books and found this wonderful book by Ernest which i once bought at the museumshop. In this book you can find a “collectors alphabet” by Ernest Utermark.  I loved the book when i bought it and after nine years it is still a delight to leaf through. Is it available at www.ftn-books.com?…. i am sorry it is NOT but i can strongly recommend it and urge you to start looking for this delightful publication from 2010.

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Jet Nijkamp…Verdrongen Landschap

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The reason to write this blog is the book i recently purchased by Jet Nijkamp. Filled with nature drawings of wood, trunks and landscapes and enhanced with text by Tsead Bruinja. Thsi titel “Verdrongen Landschap” was published in a small edition and is now available at http://www.ftn-books.com.

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An excellent title with drawings by Nijkamp , which remind me of the early drawings by Frank van Hemert influenced by Anselm Kiefer. but……visiting her site i noticed that she had published a complete series of Donald Trump dressed in Womans Clothing. A “funny” series of pastel drawings on international newspapers. It is not funny only , but it shows some criticism towards Donald Trump and his presidency. Trump takes poses like the great states man he think he is, however…..the drawings make fun of him and puts his presidency into perspective. The best one is the Obama meeting. Obama is the statesman and Trump the one with a dress on. I can not vote for any US president , but i wish i could and i  would not have any doubt who to vote for.

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Yoshitoshi, two sides of the same medal

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There are literally two sides of Yoshitoshi as an artist . There is the dreamlike artist with a poetic flute player and on the other side there is the violent artist who depicts horror scenes.

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What is present in both these prints from the same artists is the beautiful technique of his prints. Mouvement, use of color and composition are all of the highest quality. I personally prefer Yoshitoshi’s art above all other Japanese print makers. Of course Utamaro has depicted the most beautiful women and Hokusai’s landscapes are beyond compare, but with Yoshitoshi his prints it is something special for me. There is mouvement and action in these prints and put these prints one after the other, a story emerges, just like a modern graphic novel. The RIJKSMUSEUM has published a great series on Japanese Prints and http://www.ftn-books.com has recently acquired the Volume V in the series totslly dedicated to Yoahitoshi and his fellow artists from that age… THE AGE OF YOSHITOSHI is an absolute must for his admirers.

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John Wesley (1928)

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John Wesley is considered to be a Pop Art artist, however, I am in doubt because many of his qualities are timeless and are much more graphic than the 100% pop art paintings. I knew Wesly from his retrospective at the Stedelijk Museum in 1993, but what I did not realise was that many of his works have an erotic contents. I did a Google search and found many examples of nudity that were presented in great graphic paintings and prints. I am not the only person who thinks about his works in such a way.

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John Wesley is a contemporary American painter. Characterized by his uniquely graphic, flattened Pop paintings, Wesley’s work addresses themes of sexuality and erotica through stylized and symmetrically composed images. Rendered in distinctive pink and blue pastel hues, Wesley repeats the same graphic symbolic images in tessellation-like patterns on his large canvases, and regularly employs leitmotifs like pornography and avian fowl—often to humorous effect—throughout his oeuvre. Though his paintings are reminiscent of his contemporary Tom Wesselmann, his personal associations were with peers Dan Flavin and Donald Judd, and he was inspired by both the Minimalist and Surrealist movements. That being said, “I didn’t go out and try to be a Surrealist,” Wesley explained of his ambiguous imagery. “It was just fun doing what I was doing.” Born on November 25, 1928 in Los Angeles, CA, he was a self-taught artist who worked for several years an illustrator for the avian industry. His work has been critically acclaimed throughout his career, and he has been the subject of several retrospectives, notably including at the PS1 Contemporary Art Center in New York in 2000.

The following publications are available at http://www.ftn-books.com

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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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Thierry van Hasselt (1969)

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By chance and because i am always keen on comic art i found a delightful little book by Thierry van Hasselt which is now available at www.ftn-books.com

Thierry Van Hasselt was born in 1969. Founding member of the publishing house Fréon and later of Frémok, he is a publisher, set designer, installation artist and graphic designer. His first book Gloria Lopez, an obsessive study of a certain “virtuous Justine”, attracted considerable critical acclaim.

Seduced by the atmosphere and subject matter of his images, Karine Ponties invited him to participate in a joint creation resulting in a book and a dance performance. For his second collaboration with Ponties, Holeulone, Van Hasselt produced an animated film to integrate with the performance and the dancers’ movements.

The work of Van Hasselt rejoices in the material: ground up, rubbed, diluted, whether it be the velvety blackness of the aquarelle pencil, the black ink of monotype, or the colourful acidity of oil paint in his project: La petite main.

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This van Hasselt publication is signed and numbered 129/500

 

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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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Hergé (1907-1983)

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Hergé is Georges Prsoper Remi and deserves a well earned place among the greatest of artists from the last century. His Kuifje/Tintin albums have been translated in over 40 languages and have sold hundreds of millions all over the world. It is still a true delight to read once in a while these great adventure stories and after reading these i realize that the amount of detail which is drawn on every page of the story is tremendous,

making these not only great stories but also travel journals in which everyday life from a certain decade in an exotic country was depicted. Since i admire Hergé very much and i think together with Franquin and Swarte this is the best comic art can present i have collected a number of albums and Hergé collectibles of which some are available at www.ftn-books.com. The latest addition is an official bag by ther Moulinsart Museum.

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Keiichi Tanaami (1936)

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My first impression when i encountered this set of Tanaami posters was that these were original 60’s posters , but no….these are from ca. 2005 and strongly rooted in the Japanese culture of making prints and heavily inspired by Psychedelic Sixties posters

Born in 1936 in Tokyo, Japan, Keiichi Tanaami is an influential pop artist of postwar Japan. Tanaami took a keen interest in drawing at a very young age and often spent time in cartoonist Kazushi Hara’s studio. He studied at Musashino Art University, earning a Special Selection recognition with a major design and illustration group. Since the mid 1960s, he became increasingly interested in psychedelic culture, Acid Music, and Pop Art, in particular Andy Warhol’s work. In 1968, his award-winning antiwar poster “No More War” and his album artwork for the Monkees and Jefferson Airplane became a major impetus for the movement of psychedelic and pop art in Japan. In 1975, he became the first Art Director of Playboy (Japanese Edition), and in 1991 he started to teach at Kyoto University of Art and Design, where he is currently a chairperson of a Faculty of Information Design.
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There is a wonderful site on this artist which reads like a comic book and some outstanding graphic quality and yes i have 2 of his posters now available at http://www.ftn-books.com

for the site go here: https://mangadejapan.com/articles/detail/1356

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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