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Tshibumba Kanda Matulu ( 1947 – 1981)

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Last weeks bookmarket brought a surprise. There was this catalogue published by KIT on the dramatic history of the Congo as painted by Tshibumba Kanda Matulu / TKM.

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This catalogue/book is now available at www.ftn-books.com

TKM was born in Élisabethville (modern-day Lubumbashi), in the south of the Belgian Congo, in 1947. TKM worked within the period of cultural authenticité in the 1970s.[2] TKM was one of the leading figures of “African genre painting” which had emerged in the Belgian Congo in the late 1950s and which integrated both European and Congolese styles and techniques.

TKM’s best-known paintings form part of a series of 107 works commissioned by the German anthropologist Johannes Fabian to illustrate Congolese history as it appeared in national collective memory. The series was produced between 1974 and 1976 and forms the body of TKM’s work and was used as the basis for an academic collaboration between the two.[2] The result, Remembering the Present: Paintings and popular history in Zaire, was published in 1996. TKM viewed the purpose of the book as presenting the history of his country to a child born in the country. by contrast, Fabian presents it as an anthropological work for Western study.

Among the scenes depicted by TKM was the Elisabethville Massacre of 1941, Patrice Lumumba’s independence speech of 30 June 1960, the introduction of culture obligatoire farming, and the trial of the religious leader Simon Kimbangu by the Belgian colonial authorities in 1921. All the paintings were made at the time of the Shaba Invasions during which TKM’s native province of Shaba witnessed widespread political instability.

The work is historically significant because of the interviews between Fabian and TKM included in the work. In those interviews, TKM subtly critiques the government of Mobutu Sese Seko, making statements such as “What Mobutu has in mind is true – or else it is a lie. But that’s something I keep to myself. What is true is that he started out with ideas that were correct. So he spoke and we all agreed; not a single thing was disputed.”

The work also emphasizes TKM’s admiration of Patrice Lumumba, particularly in the use of deliberate Christ imagery in the paintings of Lumumba, specifically mirroring Jesus’ wounds after the crucifixion. The parallel is so clear that Fabian names the section “The Passion of Patrice Lumumba,” a reference to “The Passion of the Christ.”

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102 of TKM’s paintings were purchased by the Tropenmuseum, an ethnographic museum in Amsterdam, in 2000

TKM disappeared in 1981 and is believed to have been killed in rioting.

So far the history of this African artist. Personally i think this is an important oeuvre although i have doubts about the artistic value. Still …ALL of the paintings have a strong power and presence and perhaps that is what great art always is.

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de Angst … Juni 1983

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If ever there was an obscure magazine in the Netherlands it was de Angst. Only a few volumes were published and the one depicted in this blog is one of them. It is from June 1983, was published in an edition size of only 100 copies. Printed/stencilled contents, hand bound signed in the plate by the authors Edzard Diderik, Martin Bril, Dirk van Weelden and Rob Scholte, who also made the original etching which was used as cover.

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The etchinh was colored by hand and the design was later used for one of his editions and a painting with the same name. In the magazine contributions a.o. by members of the ( Amsterdam) punk/avant garde scene which were finding their way into the multiple disciplines of Contemporary Art. There are contributions by Scholte, Maarten Ploeg and Peter Klashorst, who all made a serious art career. This rare magazine is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Robert Olaf Stoof (1945-1999)…and Real Free Press.

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Why this blog on a publisher? It is just plain simple…. Stoof is one of the most influential European publishers who paved the way for the alternative comic scene of which for instance , Joost Swarte, was one.

Robert Olaf Stoop was born in Amsterdam and grew up with his grandmother in Indonesia. He grew up to be a full-blooded anarchist, putting provocational pamphlets in the newspapers of non-suspecting travellers when he was working at the AKO in Schiphol Airport. He made posters for Provo magazine, and got involved with comics during the 1960s. In 1966, he self-published his comic ‘De Lotgevallen van Roza’, which can be considered the first European underground comic.

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He founded publishing house The Real Free Press in Amsterdam, “the lost connection for solid facts” which imported American underground comics and reprinted the work of long-forgotten geniuses such as George Herriman, Winsor McCay, Gustave Verbeck and George McManus. Stoop also published magazine De Real Free Press Illustratie, which featured many old and new comic artists, and ran from 1968 until 1974.

Olaf Stoop was one of the first to recognize the talent of Joost Swarte, and published his work in several forms, such as ‘De Papalagi’, which became famous world-wide, and Swarte’s first comic, ‘Modern Art’ (1980).

Stoop can be considered the founder of the Dutch alternative comics scene. An intriguing personality, he lived his whole life as an anarchist and a free mind. He died of a heart attack at the age of 52.

www.ftn-books.com has found of the Real Free Press papers with works by a.o Robert Crumb and has them for sale .

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Allen Jones (1938) is British Pop Art

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For me Allen Jones stands for his mannequin like sculptures. Possibly the best known is a woman kneeling on all fours with on her back a glas table surface. The sculpture acting like a salon table. This use of glass and mannequin sculptures is frequently done by Jones. He made several tables and even some chairs out of these mannequins.

This is possibly the most famous part from his oeuvre, but one must not forget his paintings. Highly original Pop Art paintings and well deserving their place among the best Pop Art in the world. Jones his images are influenced by Lindner but they also have some parts of the cheesecake poses of the ones Mel Ramos produced ( tomorrows blog).

www.ftn-books.com has some Jones items available

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Arie van Geest (1948)

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Without realizing i have collected a beautiful small collection with works by Arie van Geest. Born in Maasland he stayed in the region and had several studios in Rotterdam. The friendship with Pat Andrea shows in his early works which were a little surreal, but in the mid eighties he changed in the approach of his painting. His works became abstract with realistic elements and that is the time i met Arie and bought my first drawing. Together with Mariette Josephus Jitta, as the curator in charge, he made the Tableau Mourant exhibition in which 98 watercolors were shown. This series was later bought by the van Gogh Museum. For the exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum 2 editions were made. One “ordinary edition” designed by Paul Stoute and the other a linnen bound one, with a drawing/watercolor by van Geest.

The style changed dramatically and personally i prefer this “new” Arie van Geest above his more realistic style. He stayed loyal to this new found abstract style for almost 20 years and changed again to a more a realistic way of painting in 2002. All three periods are important, but when you look at the museums that bought Arie van Geest ( Gemeentemuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Boymans van Beuningen ) , They all made their acquisitions in the abstract period, except for the Athens Museum which made purchases from his most recent period. Arie van Geest was represented by Delta Gallery. He now has frequent shows with Livingstone gallery.  I have decided to sell part of my Arie van Geest works, so please have a look at FTN art and for the book related material visit www.ftn-books.com

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Woody van Amen (1936)… dutch Pop Art

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Ask me … who is the greatest Pop Art artist in the Netherlands….my answer would be Woody van Amen.

Woody van Amen (Eindhoven, 1936)* studied at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. His fascination for contemporary culture stemmed from the 2 year period he spent in New York from 1961 to 1963, where he met pioneers of the Pop Art movement such as Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg. Woody van Amen states himself on what he encountered there: ‘Pop Art is a purely American phenomenon, based on American advertising. I am concerned with figurativism and new realism. I make things about subjects that intrigue me… everything is usable because everything can become symbolic when taken out of its usual surroundings’.

His contact with artists and his discovery of artist’s cafes, jazz music, junk art and neon light gave him inspiration and informed the themes and methodology of his work. He started to incorporate the logo’s of big Dutch brands and used techniques such as assemblage, in this way developing his own new style.

Foreign countries and cultures have remained an important point of inspiration for Woody van Amen. In the Seventies a trip to South-East Asia lead to many new oriental influences in his work. In 2007 he produced a film, put together with footage he shot during his travels in Vietnam, Burma and Indonesia. Man, religion and the beauty of nature are important themes in this video piece and they recur once again in the exhibition SHAN 2013.

van Amen has won numerous prizes during his art career and his works are important parts of the permanent collection in many museum around the world. Since Pop Art has become important and main stream, the works by van Amen reappeared in presentations and i predict that in a few years his works will be on show permanently.

www. ftn-books.com has some important van Amen publications available.

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Sixties magazines TIQ versus PLEXUS

The sixties were the years of my teens. And with these years belong some dutch fan music magazines . There was Muziek Express and Tuney Tunes for the young fans, For the somewhat older teens there was HITWEEK( Which later became Aloha)

and then there was finally TIQ…. a a magazine focussing on art, music, fashion, photography and ….”sex”  making this a true Dutch Pop Art magazine .It was a groundbreaking magazine , years ahead of its time. Published as a glossy magazine , but with a contents that was solely focussing on the teens and twens from the sixties.

Unfortunately it was not popular and only 14 of these magazines were published in 1966 and 1967. It disappeared much to soon from the market ,leaving the youth only Hitweek, but in France it was totally different. Of course there were BD’s ( Bandes Dessinees/ Comics) with Pilote as the leading magazine. But is focusses on the very youthful , this was recognized by L.D. publisher who wanted something different and then there suddenly was PLEXUS. No glamour photography but artful photographs by renowned photographers. Paintings by Labisse and Leonor Fini . Painters and artists who did not look away from nudity. Nudity, erotic art, erotic cartoons and short stories were the main ingredienst. Focussing with this contents on a youthful audience. In France this was the equivalent for the TIQ magazine in the Netherlands. A pop Art magazine with only 40 volumes in its publication years. Both nostalgic collectables of which there are now 3 volumes available at www.ftn-books.com

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Robin Winters (1950)

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Robin Winters has had his exhibitions in the Netherlands. Both in museums and galleries he was presented in solo exhibitions during the 90’s. These days, Winters is represented by the Deweer gallery in Belgium, but in the Nineties there were several who thought this artist was interesting enough to develop special publications with Winters. One of these “specials” was produced by Bebert. It is a large cotton sheet printed with heads which are so typical for Winters his art.

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Here is the description as it appears at www.ftn-books.com where this large work is for sale.

Artist/ Author: Robin Winters Title : composition with figures on cotton tissue Published: 1986 Measurements: 150 x 130 cm for the cotton tissue. 16 x 12 cm for the paper print Condition: nm++/ Mint for the large cotton print extra information on this item: Highly collectable multiples by Winters . edition of only 169. Signed and dated with initials on the accompanying paper print.

Later today i will include this beautiful and impressive Robin Winters at www.ftn art too.

Beside this impressive multiple there are some very nice publications published in Europe which are also for sale at www.ftn-books.com

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Harunobu ( 1724-1770) and Utamaro (1753-1806)

Both are Japanese print masters and there is only a time difference 30 years between these two great Japanese artists, but the difference between them is as large as  a classical painting by Sir Alma Tadema and a Modern painting by Soulages.

Where Harunobu’s craftmanship is rooted in the tradition of Japanese print making , i find Utamaro’s prints being far more inventive. His lines are clean and do remind me a little of the  outlines used by Herge and Joost Swarte. Classic scenes, actors and geisha’s and even shunga prints, all is mastered by this great Japanse artist. These prints were “In Vogue” by the impressionist artists and that is one of the reasons why so many of them can be found in Western Europe. Monet had them, van Gogh collected them and even made some paintings after them and the Rijksmuseum has thousands of them in their collection from which a selection is now and then on show. These shows are accompanied by some great bilangual catalogues of which the Harunobu and Utamaro ones are for sale at www.ftn.books.com

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Stang Gubbels …. a dutch designer

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It was at the time Wim van Krimpen was the director for the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag that i met Stang Gubbels. Stang had worked with van Krimpen before on some projects he did with the KUNSTHAL/ Rotterdam. His style and designs are truly original , highly recognizable and together with the designs by Irma Boom and Gracia Lebbink, belons to the best dutch designs produced during the last 2 decades in the Netherlands.

Stang has an excellent internet site which can be reached at www.stang.nl and for those looking for his scarce publications…..www.ftn-boooks.com has two nice STANG titles available.