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Vitra…das Original

 

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There is a very close realtionship between the heirs of Charles Eames an the heirs of VITRA company. This relation has developed and resulted in one of the most well known and respected furniture companies in Europe. VITRA stands for truly original designs, classic furniture and the best quality money can buy. This philosophy comes back in every printed outing the VITRA company does. Their publications are truely innovative and designed by he best graphic designers in the business. I have seen many books and commercial publications, but the one below is one of the best i have ever seen. Its size, print quality and design are all outstanding. It is a leporello kind of fold out but stapled within there are 3 separate books. making this 4 publications in one package. Photography, paper design and layout…..all AAA.  Short stories on Eames, Jongerius and Morrison included, what else do you want in a small publication. This is highly collectable and now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Arranz Bravo and Rafael Bartolozzi stand for italian Pop Art.

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Every country in the world was at some time during the Sixties and Seventies influenced by the american Masters of Pop Art. In the Netherlands there were Woody van Amen and Tajiri. In France there were Monory and Raysse. Germany has Dieter Hesserer and Italy they had Arranz Barvo and Rafael Bartolozzi. They worked together and made some great paintings at that time, but now….many of these artists are almost forgotten. This does not mean that their works are of no importance, but at the moment these are not “In VOGUE”. It is a litlle like it was some 30 year ago. Zero/Nul and Kinetic were thought of no importance, but now….every collector in the world wants its share of the ZERO art and not much is available at reasonable prices anymore. I predict that it will be the same with…. first POP ART from outside the US and later after the art market has devided all good Pop Art…. it will be time for Minimal Art. These are my tips for the future if you want to build a collection that gathers value over the years to come. www.ftn-books.com has some great books on Pop art and Minimal Art available but also the Bravo/Bartolozzi catalogue including the invitation they made for one of their first exhibitions at IL FAUNO in Torino.

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L wig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969)qΩ“Ω~ |’| §

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When i think about Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, three of his designs i remember instantly. The first …a chair by Mies van der Rohe, One i always wanted to own and when i finally had one i did not think it was comfortable enough so i sold it. The chair… a Barcelona chair.

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The one he designed for the Barcelona Pavillion. It was designed for the World exhibition from 1929 and after the exhibition it was demolished, but a group of spanish architects recognized its importance and had it rebuild in the Eighties from last century. I finally had a chance to see it for myself when i visited Barcelona for the first time around 2005. We walked over there since it is only a 10 minutes walk from the Fundacio Joan Miro.

The last one is the Seagram building which is one of the skyscrapers i admired when i first visited New York together with my father. A building i remembered well and of which i recognized style elements when i visited the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin some 30 years later. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is a force in design and has made his mark on many of last centuries greatest designs. Some of his classic publications are availabel at www.ftn-books.com

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Hermanus Berserik (1921-2002)

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I just thought about Berserik, because i lay my hands on one of the most intimate publications by an artist . It is the facsimile published BLADVULLING book by Hermanus Berserik full of sketches by this artist. He painted daily life scenes and was very fond of his sailing boat, which he depicted numerous times together with other nautic themes.

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You can still encounter his works at reasonable prices at auctions and his etchings can even be called CHEAP. If you do not know anything about the artist just visit:

Hermanus Berserik | De wereld onder een stolp

where a Berserik exhibition was held until the 18th of January. It gives some excellent in formation. The other way to get informed i to look for publications on the artist. www.ftn-books.com has several Berserik titles available.

BTW. I just learned at the MORE site that Berserik was an ex cellent photographer too.

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JESS Collins ( 1923-2004 )

I became interested in this artist because i recently i acquired one of Jess his first publications, which is available at www.ftn-books.com An artist on the cross roads of  Modern Art, collage and comics

For more information on the artist you must visit jesscollins.org where i found the following text:

JESS was born in 1923 in Long Beach, California, the younger son of a civil engineer and a homemaker. Originally named Burgess Franklin Collins, he later broke with his family and changed his name to “Jess.” In childhood, Jess read the L. Frank Baum Oz books, Poe and Proust; listened to the music of Beethoven, Mahler, Sibelius and Brahms; and made scrapbooks with a great-aunt, which he credited as one origin of his later collage work.

In 1942, Jess began studying chemistry at the California Institute of Technology but was drafted into the Army Corps of Engineers in 1943. In a very junior role, he worked until 1946 at the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on the production of plutonium for the atomic bomb. Following the war, he completed his degree at Cal Tech with honors in radiochemistry and went to work at the Hanford Atomic Energy Project in Washington.

During his time at Hanford, Jess began to study painting in adult education classes, while at the same time growing concerned about the nature of his participation in atomic energy work: “I was involved with nuclear energy, the direction it was going seemed questionable, nightmarish in many ways.” In 1948, he was visited by a terrifying dream that foretold the destruction of the world in 1975. Within months, he had left his job, decided to pursue art full-time, moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and found his way first to the University of California at Berkeley and soon to the California School of Fine Arts, now the San Francisco Art Institute.

At CSFA, he studied with Elmer Bischoff, Edward Corbett, David Park, Hassel Smith and Clyfford Still. Taking inspiration from Clifford Still’s aesthetic breadth and tolerance, Jess explored both abstraction and figuration, learning from Still “a poetics of materials.” As he said later to Michael Auping, “I personally didn’t see any reason to make a dichotomy between abstraction and representation… It was all paint.” His interest lay in the redemptive powers of imagination and myth, which he regarded as one with the materials: “I don’t see that much difference between the spiritual and the material. All matter is energy, and all matter and energy are infused with spirit.”

Jess & Robert Duncan Biography

When Jess met poet Robert Duncan in 1950, they soon discovered their shared love of Baum’s Oz books and James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, and the future of their lifelong romantic relationship, domestic household, and artistic collaboration was established. The 2013-14 exhibition and catalogue, An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan and their Circle, documented the brilliant artistic fecundity of their bond and its importance to San Francisco artistic and literary communities. Their idea of the “household,” a place of domestic love but also of spirited, generative collaboration, became central to the development of their art and poetry.

Throughout the fifties, Jess experimented with technique in still lifes, portraits, and landscapes, paintings that shimmer with narrative potential. Jess described some of these works as “mythic landscapes, in the sense that a certain abstract chaos is slowly coming to order. All of the creation myths depict some kind of chaos transforming into order or image. I sometimes thought of these early landscapes as vaguely analogous to a creation myth.”

Inspired in part by a gift from Duncan of Max Ernst’s surrealist collage book Une semaine de bonté  (1934), Jess also began making collages, or in his term, “paste-ups,” in the early fifties, combining text and image fragments of engravings, photographs, comic strips, and jigsaw puzzle pieces. These works, becoming ever more complex over time until they were comprised of hundreds or even thousands of distinct elements, led critic Jed Perl to compare Jess and Joseph Cornell as “….American originals, highly sophisticated artists who weren’t afraid to be seen as outliers or cranks.”

The thirty-two works in Jess’s important Translation series, begun in 1959, are painted, enlarged reproductions of found images including photographs, children’s book illustrations, post cards, pages from old Scientific American magazines, Krazy Kat cartoons, and illustrations of art, science and math subjects. Every image is combined, either within the painted surface or on the backs of the canvases, with literary texts from a wide variety of sources including Wordsworth, Blake, Gertrude Stein, Plato, Aztec and Mayan poems, scientific texts, Kandinsky, Gaelic songs and Edward Lear.

Jess biography

Thickly painted, the surfaces are highly textured, sometimes rough, and occasionally billowing. Describing the colors, Jess explained, “I want to get the level of light that was in the original. My colors are absolutely imaginary, not realistic. At my best, I want to pay homage to the original and a completely imaginary complex of color that is my translation of that original.” Of the Translations, Michael Auping has said, “The mysterious irony of the ‘Translations’ is that they are highly reverent copies that are, in themselves, entirely original, which of course brings into question whether or not they are copies at all. The ‘Translations’ are not secondary to the ‘originals’ but are, in Jess’s words, ‘spiritually coexistent’ with them.”

For his later Salvages series, instead of copying, or “translating” a painting onto a canvas from a found object, Jess painted, or repainted, directly over his own earlier discarded canvases or paintings found in thrift shops. Leaving the thinner surface of the original painting bare in places, he built up a thicker layer of paint around fragments of the original images, adding texture and new images, encouraging unexpected meaning to develop. Like the Paste-Ups and Translations, the Salvages derive from images and texts found and saved, and add new beauty and mystery as the found materials are reinterpreted, expanding allegorical dimension in the process.

Jess on a beach near Pigeon Point biography

Narkissos, Jess’s most ambitious project, was begun in 1959 as a pencil drawing for a painting to be based on the myth of Narcissus but gradually evolved into a large scale mixed media work. It combines a monumental graphite rendering of the figure of Narcissus with pasted-up fragments of Jess’s own hand-drawn images as well as found sources of the Narcissus myth and its many iterations in literature, art and popular culture. The magnificent “unfinished” work is now in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Although it has often been written that Jess was a recluse who rarely left the house, in fact, though he did avoid crowds and large social gatherings, he was a domestic flaneur, a householder walking the streets of San Francisco to buy groceries, visit the post office, drop in on friends, lunch in his favorite Mission District eateries, and most importantly, to scavenge his way through the multitude of thrift and used book stores liberally sprinkled throughout the city in search of the materials that formed the foundation of nearly all his artwork. As he told Michael Auping when asked about the title of his Salvages painting series, “I’m always out shopping….Really all my work – Paste-Ups, Assemblies, Translations – comes from salvaging. I salvage loved images that for some reason have been discarded and I come across them…….I put forward a new layer of sentiment that, combined with the old, may hopefully allow the image to have a new life or at least a half-life.”

Jess 1994 biography

Aside from a period of travel with Duncan in the mid-fifties to Europe and Black Mountain College, Jess lived and worked in San Francisco for the remainder of his life. His large, Victorian home with Robert Duncan in the Mission District became a treasure house of art and literature, a household filled with artworks by Jess and their many friends, Robert Duncan’s vast library, their recorded music collection, and the many beautiful, rare and often slightly chipped or worn domestic objects salvaged from thrift shops with which they entertained their large but intimate circle of friends. In this home these two men, both passionately engaged with the world, created a world of imagination.

Jess’s first solo show was in 1950 at the Helvie Makela Gallery in San Francisco, soon followed by a show at the King Ubu Gallery, a small but important venue for alternative art founded in 1952 by Jess, Duncan and their close friend Harry Jacobus. Gradually Jess’s work became widely known through solo and group exhibitions in prestigious galleries and museums throughout the country. Works by Jess are now included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Musuem, The Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and numerous other major museums. Attention to his work continues to grow, most recently as a result of the touring exhibit, “An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle.” Acknowledging the mark of a painter whose work was nourished by a community of affection, art critic Peter Frank wrote, “He sought approval of his friends – as well he should, given their own poetic standards – but not of the art world; even so, his art paralleled and even anticipated so much of his time’s art.”

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Studio Dumbar and Memphis/ Artifort

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In 1985 the design studio of Gert Dumbar was consigned a series of posters for Artifort furniture. At that time it was a totally new idea ( and certainly inspired by the Memphis design mouvement ) to ” shape” the posters and use special printing techniques to make them stand out. Dumbar succeeded and since these series of posters for Artifort have become higly collectible poster art and are sought after by collectors worldwide. www.ftn-books.com has two of these iconic posters now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Lewin Alcopley (1910 – 1992)

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Do not make the mistake i originally made. Lewin Alcopley and Al Copley (cply) are 2 completely different artist where CPLY is rooted in the Pop Art scene. Alcopley is the more abstract artist and rooted in abstract expressionism.   I now have added one of the rarest of his publication to the inventory of www.ftn-books.com. It is a book published in a roman numbered edition by galerie Parnass in 1961 and one of only 65 roman numbered copies which contains, beside 32 prints in black on white paper, a beautiful and impressive lithograph used as special cover. Book in slipcase and signed by the artist and author. Numbered in inkt. This book is numberXXXIX from LXV This book is very special and an absolute must have for the serious Alcopley collector.

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the “Billy Rose sculpture garden” at the Israel Museum

I have never visted Jerusalem, but because of a recent acquisition for my inventory i want to share the experience of an actual visitor to the garden who truly enjoyed it. The catalogue of the sculpture garden is available at www.ftn-books.com

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It was a sunny Sunday morning, and I was strolling through a peaceful garden. This was the Billy Rose Art Garden, in the grounds of Jerusalem’s Israel Museum. The Museum has some impressive exhibits, including the Dead Sea Scrolls and extensive collections of art and archaeology. But the Scrolls would have to wait for another time: I was here for the sculpture.

Walking Through the Billy Rose Art Garden

I had the garden almost to myself. The sounds of birdsong and distant church bells competed for my attention. The paths were lined with fragrant plants. And there were sculptures everywhere, in perfect harmony with their surroundings.

Completed in 1965, the Billy Rose Art Garden was the work of Isamu Noguchi, an American sculptor. He followed the principles of Zen design, using a variety of different materials such as concrete, gravel and water, and featuring mostly native plants. The garden is set on a steep hillside, so that panoramic views of the city are incorporated into the landscape.

Sculptures Old and New

Some of the sculptures are by well known artists. As you enter the garden you are greeted by a statue of Adam by Auguste Rodin. Later on, a sculpture by Henry Moore poses against the city skyline. But others are more modern, often by contemporary Israeli sculptors. There is a giant stainless steel apple core, and the appropriately named “Turning the World Upside Down”, which reflects and inverts its surroundings.

The modern sculptures have not always been admired by everyone. It is said that Billy Rose, the American showman who founded and gave his name to the garden, commented that they should be “melted down for bullets”! Modern visitors might well disagree. For myself, I enjoyed the juxtaposition of old and new, and the pleasure of turning every corner to find something different.

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Swip Stolk (1944-2019)

 

Schermafbeelding 2019-03-12 om 11.13.44Swip Stolk is certainly one of the great names in dutch graphic design. He died last sunday at the age of 75 . There are some iconic designs by Stolk that are worldwide famous. Specially the peeing poster for the Serrano exhibition drew attention from all over the world. There was a typical Swip Stolk styke of design. He broke with the minimal designs of the sixties ( Crouwel and Wissing) and invented his own exuberant style of design which was soon to become the “house style” of the Groninger Museum for which museum he made for nearly two decades many important book and publication designs.

there are several important Swip Stolk designs availabel at www.ftn-books.com

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Peter Pontiac (1951-2015)….Infanticide

 

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This is the farewell exhibition of the Groninger Stripmuseum . It stops after this appealing exhibition in which comic artist show that beside their talents as comic artists they are in many cases also serious and very accomplished painters. Here is the painting that struck me most. It is INFANTICIDE by the late Peter Pontiac.

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I am an admirer of Peter Pontiac for a long time now and this painting shows in an excellent way that there is more to his art than his stand alone comics. www.ftn-books.com has some nice Peter Pontiac items and limited editions available.