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the Drawings of Roy Lichtenstein (1987)

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I like this title. It was published at the end of the EIghties which finally recognized the historical importance of Pop Art in art. before , in th early Sixties pop art exhibitions were held all over the world including many impotant ones exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Among them a highly important Lichtenstein exhibition, but the difference with the 1987 exhibition at the MOMA museum is that in 1967 in Amsterdam it was NEW and MODERN and in 1987 in New York is was “established” art. A difference of 20 years and now another 33 years later . The quality of the works by Roy Lichtenstein is once again underlined with this exquiste catalogue on his drawings. It shows the metaculous preparation in drawing for all larger works he would create after.

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Ørnulf Ranheimsæter (1909-2007)

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Ørnulf Ranheimsæter was a Norwegian illustrator, graphical artist and essayist.

He was born in Skien, and educated at the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry, where he also later worked as instructor and eventually professor. He is known for his many book designs, and received the Bokkunstprisen award in 1967 and 1987. He was awarded the Fritt Ord Honorary Award in 1998.

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Why this rather obscure , lesser know Norwegian artist?.

The best reason is he illustrated DEN HELIGE NATTEN by Hjalmar Gullberg.  A short story on the Holy Night ( containing 4 original prints). The most appropriate story for today. ( the book is available at www.ftn-books.com)

Merry Christmas!

wilfried

 

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Carroll Dunham (1949)

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Perhaps Carroll Dunham is best known as the father of Lena Dunham, but one look at his works and you will think the same as I did when I first saw his work…..” this is a great artist”

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I love the comic aspects in his works in a way i also like the Al Copley paintings.

 

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He was Initially inspired by Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism, and Surrealism, at the very beginnings of his career, Carroll Dunham painted abstract geometric compositions on a wooden surface. His characteristic was the using of exotic veneers, such was elm, oak, rosewood or pin. Respecting the natural pattern of the surface, he was creating vibrant compositions. Spurred on by the revival of interest in Surrealism in the 1970s, Dunham began to make abstract, biomorphic paintings reminiscent of the work of Arshile Gorky and André Masson, executed with a comic twist enhanced by lurid colours and the suggestion of contemporary psychedelia. Recognizable cartoonish details from his early artistic beginnings turned into the larger formats of bodily shapes resembling lips or teeth recently became more figurative, displaying striking male and female caricatures placed in familiar, but at the same time fictional surroundings.

http://www.ftn-books.com has the catalogue raisonne of his prints available.

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TYPEX = Raymond Koot (1962)

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Typex is known for his many illustrations he ahs made for dutch publications like VPRO gids, OOR, Zone 5300, Vrij Nederland, Intermediair, NRC, Volkskrant en De Filmkrant. But lately he received the Stroschapsprijs for his biography on Andy Warhol. Over 500 pages with Warhol history illustrated in the typical Typex style.

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A few months ago he published in the Volkskrant, a double page illustration on the history and problems of the Heard vs Depp marriage. The illustration says all and is now for sale at http://www.ftn-books.com.

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Theo Schepens (1961)

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A key element in the works by Theo Schepens is “balance”. A physical balance but also a spiritual balance between man and women. The result sculptures of male and female figurines interacting with each other taking poses in which they try to find and hold their balance. It all starts with the smallest and extremely speedy sketches he makes and then uses these as a starting point for his sculptures.

These sculptures have a rare quality. These do not take any effort to understand the meaning of the artist and the world he has created with them is highly recognizable. since his figurines have not changed for over 30 years. The males and females in his sculptures still look the same as 30 years ago, but what has remained is the timeless quality of his sculptures. This is he kind of art that children will interact with when they see it for the first time and remember it because of the shiny quality and the highly understandable action they are in. Kissing on horses, on a wire and even love making . all these actions come along . Schepens has created a “shiny” world in aluminium to love.

 

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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