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Andries Dirk Copier (1901-1991)

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If there is one glas artist you will probably know the name of, or at least who’s work you encountered once in your life time, it must be A.D. Copier. After studying as an apprentice at the workshops of his father at the Leerdam Glas factory and the vakschool voor Typografie in Utrecht, he became practically the sole designer for the factory for a period of almost 40 years. In these years he made many glas related designs, but one stands out…it is the Gilde glas series which is still being made and copied all over the world.

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The glas has excellent drinking and tasting qualities holds extremely well in you hand and is one of the icons in dutch design. Since he left the Leerdam factory in  1971 he made unica and glas objects after his own designs .

Andries Dirk Copier is considered as one of the great true talented artists in the world of glas, the difference between him and for example Lino Tagliapietra is that Copier always has the usability and the aesthetics of the object in mind, where as others loose themselves in experiments. www.ftn-books.com has some nice books on Copier in its inventory.

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Dutch art …Klaas Gubbels (1934)

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Many Many people in the Netherlands know the art by Klaas Gubbels. Because his art is abstract in its execution, but realistic in its subject. Coffee and Tea pots and of course chairs are in 99% percent his subjects. Because of this popularity his works and sculptures can be found all over the Netherlands. Even in my hometown of Leidschendam, one of these blue coffee pots is executed as a large blue sculpture.

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Do i like his art….no….do i consider Gubbels one of the great artists in the Netherlands…YES, because Gubbels has developed an art language of his own. Popular, recognizable and accessible. www.ftn-books.com has some nice books on Gubbbels and a very special table with a still life of wooden apples.

 

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Lawrence Weiner (1942)

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Lawrence Weiner is one the the leading artists within  Conceptual Art .

The first time i daily encountered a work by Lawrence Weiner was when curator Flip Bool of the Gemeentemuseum had bought a magnificent large one for the entrance hall. I noticed the forms and strong meaning of the sentences used and learned to appreciate it.

Since, i have been collecting books on Weiner in every possible way . Other museum publications, abroad art locations, galleries and auctions all had some in them, so over the years a small collection was formed and some are available at www.ftn-books.com

Later i realized that so many publications were published in the Netherlands, because he frequently stayed over here and made contributions to many other museums in the Netherlands. Notably tothe van Abbemuseum and the Stedelijk Museum have. Both have several works by Weiner in their collections.

The last time i encountered a work by Weiner (unexpectedly) was in Ljubljana, where at the facade of the Modern Art Museum a large Weiner was fixed. It gave me the same feeling as the one in the Gemeentemuseum. It changes the way you look at something and makes you think about its text…..it is great art.

 

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Joost Swarte / VPRO and the Holland Animation Festival 2017

 

Because many of the readers live outside the Netherlands i can not withhold you the cover Joost Swarte made for the broadcasting association VPRO. Swarte is one of the house designers of the printed publicity outings of the Holland Animation festival and this 2017 edition is a very special one. The complete cover of the TV guide is published with a specially designed publicity drawing. Enjoy it and keep in mind that there are more nice Swarte items available at www.ftn-books.com

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Erik Andriesse (1957-1993)

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Exceptional talent, a great dutch artist and one of the greats in Dutch Modern Art. Andriesse died at the age of 35 in 1993 and left us some very impressive works of art. His most important themes were flowers and skulls. The equivalent for him of life and death. Admirer of Salvador  Dali, educated at the Ateliers 63, he soon became one of the most talented young artists in the Netherlands. He did not want to paint abstract paintings and chose for realism instead. Flowers and skulls being the centre of his works but also, lobsters, shells and apes. All his subjects were related to nature around us and he made wonderful paintings out of them. A large archive can be found on the internet at http://www.erikandriesse.nl

One of his techniques was to paint animals and use dead models to paint/draw them as accurately as possible. There is a nice video on YouTube  in which Marc Mulders and Erik Andriesse discuss this technique and some footage is shown while Erik is at work. A tremendous artist of whom some books are available at www.ftn-books.com

On the Andriesse site there is a nice text by Marlene Dumas in which she describes the works by Andriesse and concludes that not all of his works are naturalistic:

Nightmares of Beauty

Once upon a time there lived a boy called Erik Andriesse, who distinguished himself from the passionless people around him by glowing in the dark. Now the country he lived in was a quite dark. Artists however would talk about the extraordinary light in that country.

During the 80’s all the artists were interested in the artificiality of life. A picture of a flower was much more interesting than the flower itself. Very few people still believed that everything that existed was part of nature itself. People lived in cities. Artists lived in their studios. Places filled with books, bottles and talk about art and artists and what was relevant and what was not.

And they forgot to love…

But Erik was aware of the fire that eats at the heart, while the clock ticks at night. The shortage of time, the repetitive movements of desire, the energy of the body watched by death. Flowers larger than life, dreams larger than life.

Nightmares of beauty.

He was ignored by the calculators, whose blood did not rise, when they saw his exotic death-dances on paper, but he continued on his own impatient way. Erik is not a conceptual artist. Erik is not an associative artist. He is not interested in displaying the cultural-historical aspects of his subject-matter. But Erik is also not the naturalist he seems to be. He even shows similarities (at times) to Spiderman, the comic-strip hero. Erik is not a cultural barbarian or a primitive. He reflects on the good, the bad and the ugly of the artworld and the synthetic problems of painting.

MARLENE DUMAS, 1986

 

 

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the prints of Frank Stella (1936)

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Two reasons to devote a blog to Frank Stella. First there is an acquisition by the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag which i do not understand. For me it is a “stand alone” work of art with no relation with other works within the collection and at the time i saw it , i recognized it as a Stella, but was not very impressed by it. I would have thought the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam would have bought a work by Stella, because it fits in….but at the Gemeentemuseum it looks to be “a stranger at our midst”. Still Frank Stella is a great print maker and one of the reasons for this blog is to point out a very fine publication the Stedelijk Museum has published in 1970. The design was done by Wim Crouwel, but the best is there is a highly original “blind print” used as cover for this great catalogue.

It is one of the most spectacular catalogues from the 70’s with its embossed cover. A special artist cover which relates to one of the first “shaped canvases” use of multiple papers and ink colors. Typical Crouwel design. Book measures 10.8 x 8.2 inches, contains 78 pages plus cover. text in dutch and english.

Frank Stella is an important artist, has made some great works of art, but especially his minimal early works are for me among his best, including this great 1970 catalogue.

The Wim Crouwel / Stella catalogue from 1970 and other Frank Stella publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)

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Arguably the greatest architect of all time is Frank Lloyd Wright and the villa Fallingwater in Pennsylviania is one of the “must see” buildings i still have on my wish list. The Guggenheim Museum in NY i already visited but Fallingwater not.

FLW was a visionary architect. His designs were the very first modernist designs in architecture and very much based on constructivist principles. I just learned that as a child he build buildngs with FROBEL blocks and these wooden blocks must have been an endless source of inspiration. FLW was an architect whose designs were practically all executed in the USA, but that does not mean that one can not find FLW inspired buildings elsewhere. For instance, in the Netherlands his designs were admired by the DE STIJL mouvement and Dudok and van ‘t Hoff made buildings inspired by FLW.

A great architect and fortunately we had in the past decades several large exhibitions on his architecture and projects . One of the first was the exhibition in the Boymans van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam in 1952. What makes it even more special is that it was one of the first designs Benno Wissing made for the Boymans museum.

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Wissing since 1952 has had a tremendous career and is, together with Sandberg and Crouwel one of the absolute great designers from the last century. So visit www.ftn-books.com and search for Frank Lloyd Wright or Benno Wissing and discover the many beautiful books both these great artist have made over the years.

 

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Christian Boltanski (1944)

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Christian Boltanski participtaed in over 150 exhibitions world wide and his works are in the collections of the DE PONT museum and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. 2 reasons to devote this blog to Bo;latnski. Firts is that i acquired and important publication by Boltanski  which he designed and contributed. Published by Agnes B, there is a complete series of regularly published magazines titles Points d’Ironie. Boltanski was one of the founders of this highly collectable series and because of this acquisition i remembered the very impressive installation at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao….”HUMANS”

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This is what the Guggenheim says on the installation HUMANS by Christian Boltanski

At once personal and universal in reference, Humans is one of several large-scale works by Boltanski that serve as monuments to the dead, hinting at the Holocaust without naming it explicitly. Through its size and tone, the work evokes the contemplative atmosphere of a small theater or a space for religious observance. The installation consists of more than 1,100 images that the artist rephotographed from sources he had previously used: school portraits, family photographs, newspaper pictures, and police registries. Simultaneously illuminated and obfuscated by dangling lightbulbs, the snapshots provide no context with which to identify or connect the unnamed individuals, or to distinguish the living from the dead or victims from criminals. Each of these traces of human life has been reduced to a uniform size to obscure distinguishing features and to suggest the equality of the photographs’ subjects. The collection of images is installed at random, thereby prohibiting the imposition of a single narrative. Within this haunting environment, Boltanski intermingles emotion and history, juxtaposing innocence and guilt, truth and deception, sentimentality and profundity.

Point d’Ironie and other Boltanski publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Robert Combas (1957)

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For me Robert Combas is a fun artist. Painting large canvasses with “comic” like figures , thick outlines resulting in a complete style of his own . It is worth visiting his personal site at www.combas.com and what i learned from it, is that Combas makes music too. I did not know this before . He is in  a group called LES SANS PATTES and i checked it out at Spotify. A little ambient, a little chansons and some poetry makes this highly original too. This fascinating and versatile artist was a little forgotten outside France, until he had a greatest hits exhibition in the MAC in Lyon in 2012. His paintings can be grouped according to themes, but they all have in common their highly original and recognizable Combas style. If you do not have anything tot do this weekend, visit his personal site and listen to Les Sans Pattes , view them on Youtube and order some great Robert Comas books at www.ftn-books.com

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Oskar Schlemmer (1888-1943) and Alchimia

 

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Oskar Schlemmer and the BAUHAUS is the first combination that springs into my mind when i think of this German artist. But Schlemmer is much much more. Cubism, murals and stage design are among the other qualities of Schlemmer. It was in 1987 that the Stedelijk Museum recognized these qualities of Schlemmer and devoted a large exhibition on the artist in which all his qualities were presented in an excellent exhibition. Since this exhibition, many other museum have devoted solo exhibitions to Schlemmer, but the one from the Stedelijk Museum remains one of the very best. One of the second reasons why i devote this blog to Schlemmer, is that for me he was one of the first post-modern artist from the last century. Compare his designs with Alchemia and Memphis designs and you can see for your self the similarities between the two of them. over 60 years apart from each other they look alike and are  drawing from the same design ideas. Books are available at www.ftn-books.com

 

Wim Crouwel designed the Schlemmer catalogue for the Stedelijk Museum and it is one of the very best from the eighties.