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Max Liebermann (1847-1935)

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There is a long history between the art of Max Liebermann and the Netherlands, because Liebermann used to work for long periods of time in this country.

From 1874 until 1914 he stayed during the summer period in Holland and painted together with his friend Isaac Israels in Laren, Scheveningen and Noordwijk. This is the reason why so many of great Liebermann paintings can be found in this country. These were given, trade or sold to collectors and friends , building this way the largest collection of Liebermann paintings outside Germany.

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It was therefore no problem for the Gemeentemuseum to organize some 40 years ago one of the first retrospektives on Liebermann ( catalogue available at www.ftn-books.com) and because it was so long ago the Gemeentemuseum organized this year another Libermann exhibition with the focus on the dutch paintings he made during the summers he stayed here.

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MAX LIEBERMANN

IMPRESSIONS OF SUMMER

Max Liebermann (1847-1935) enjoyed a special bond with the Netherlands. From the end of the 19th century the German artist would visit Holland every summer. The country inspired his paintings for many years and he established a number of close friendships with artists from the Hague School. Despite these ties, Liebermann’s work is rarely exhibited in the Netherlands, so it is high time for a change!

The Gemeentemuseum is organising a major exhibition on this famous German artist:Max Liebermann – Impressions of summer. Top items from Liebermann’s oeuvre will highlight how he developed from Realist tot Impressionist. The exhibition will also consider his important role in the European art world, and his extraordinary private life.

 

Between 1870 and 1914 Liebermann spent a number of summers in the Netherlands with his friend Jozef Israels. Together they painted the fashionable lifestyle emerging in that period: outdoor cafés teeming with patrons enjoying the sun, riders and bathers on the beach. By that time Liebermann was a celebrated artist both in his native Germany and abroad, famous for his paintings with ‘sunspots’. In 1920 he was even appointed director of the academy in Berlin, a position he would have to relinquish towards the end of his life, when Hitler came to power. Yet he continued to be a favourite with the public in Germany, even after his death.

Despite the political and social tensions, Liebermann remained a sunny Impressionist in his work, as you will see in this exhibition. Max Liebermann – Impressions of Summer is organised with partner the Liebermann-Villa am Wannsee museum, featuring highlights like Free Hour at the Amsterdam Orphanage (1881-1882) and The Parrot Man (1902), painted at Amsterdam’s Artis zoo. Special detail: Liebermann’s Free Hour at the Amsterdam Orphanage will for the first time be leaving Frankfurt since it gained a permanent home there at the city’s Städel Museum.

 

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Fiep Westendorp (1916-2004)

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Well, this one is on the border of true art… the illustrations of Fiep Westendorp are highly original and recognizable and they even sell nowadays at art prices, but first and foremost these are great quality book illustrations ( mainly for the ones written by Annie M.G. Schmidt) . Fiep Westendorp is a well established name in the dutch illustrator scene and because many of our generation have read the novels by Annie M.G. they also know the illustrations by Westendorp. Pluk en de Pettefelte, Jip en Janneke and other could not exist without the images created by Fiep Westendorp and she is now collected not only in the Netherlands, but all over the world. Great fun illustrations which deserve a large audience. Some Westendorp titles are available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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A new OSSIP addition from 2003.

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Ossip / JONGEN, 2003

Just take a look and see that i added this beautiful hypnotizing Ossip to FTN collection about 2 months ago at www.ftn-blog.com. It comes from the the Vescom collection . A collection which was created over the last 3 decades and was sold at auction in Amsterdam. I was lucky to buy this “JONGEN” by Ossip together with 2 works by Joris Geurts ( in another blog later). This “Jongen” is one of the more “static” works . It has the same qualities as the works he presented in his exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag . Most of the works i know of have moving parts but this late Nineties /early 2000 work was made when composition and image were the typical Ossip elements within a work of art. I know that there exists also a larger version of ” JONGEN” which is depicted in the Ossip monograph , but this version measures 112 x 89 cm. and is signed and dated Ossip, 23-11-2003 and now available at www.ftn.blog.com

at : https://ftn-blog.com/product/ossip-jongen-2003-112-x-89-cm-excellent-condition/

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Paul Cuvelier (1923-1978) and EPOXY

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For Paul Cuvelier comics were a necessary way to earn money. His true heart lay in painting and sculpting, especially nudes which showcased his passion for the beauty and anatomy of the human body. Cuvelier’s fine art was characterized by a sensuality which has been described as “slumbering eroticism”. The same can be said about some of his comics. Even the juvenile heroes in his ‘Corentin’ stories are scantily clothed most of the time. The friendship between Corentin and Kim can be interpreted in the same homo-erotic subtext as the companionship between Jacques Martin’s Alix and Enak. His final ‘Line’ story also featured a more sexy presentation of the heroine. The 1973 ‘Corentin’ story ‘Le Royaume des Eaux Noires’ featured much nudity and hinted at a sexual relationship between the protagonist and Zaïla. By then, Cuvelier and Van Hamme had already created their groundbreaking erotic graphic novel ‘Epoxy’ (1968).

Epoxy, by Cuvelier
Epoxy

‘Epoxy’ was created in the wave of adult-oriented comics, which found its breeding ground in the American underground comix movement. The first generation that grew up with the post-war comics continued to embrace the medium, which opened up new possibilities for creators. Free from the restrictions of working for the children’s press, authors could now aim their work at a mature audience. In Europe, magazines like Pilote and Hara-Kiri were at the vanguard of this new movement. Frenchman Jean-Claude Forest‘s sci-fi heroine ‘Barbarella’ (1962) was the first character that embodied the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

In Belgium, Guy Peellaert had pioneered the comics eroticism with his stories ‘Les Aventures de Jodelle’ (1966) and ‘Pravda, la survireuse’ (1967), while Guido Crepax heralded in the “sexties” in Italy with his ‘Valentina’ (1965). Dutch authors Thé Tjong-Khing and Lo Hartog van Banda released their pop-art inspired graphic novel with the sexy ‘Iris’ in 1968. Cuvelier and Van Hamme’s ‘Epoxy’ fully presented the artist’s qualities for sensual artwork, against a story inspired by Greek mythology. Created in 1967, the album was released by the Paris-based Belgian publisher Eric Losfeld in the revolutionary month of May 1968. It initially didn’t catch much attention, but in later years its historical importance was recognized for being one of the first independent and fully erotic Belgian comics. It has been re-issued in later years by Horus (1977), Marcus (1981), Clue Circle (1985), Éditions Lefrancq (1997) and Le Lombard (2003). German and Scandinavian translations of ‘Epoxy’ were however published without the knowledge and consent of the authors, who consequently never received royalties from these editions.

Paul Cuvelier spent the final years of his life in poverty, and in a constant search of artistic fulfillment. A final attempt to pick up ‘Corentin’ was made in cooperation with Jacques Martin, who wrote the script for ‘Corentin et l’Ogre Rouge’ (1973). Cuvelier abandoned the project after the first pages, which were published posthumously in the monography ‘Paul Cuvelier: Corentin et les chemins du merveilleux’ by Philippe Goddin in 1984. Martin later used the plot for the ‘Alix’ story ‘Les Proies du Volcan’ (1978). Jacques Martin also picked Cuvelier as his first choice to draw his historical comics series about French serial killer Gilles de Rais. Cuvelier was however not interested, and was revived by Martin and Jean Pleyers for the series ‘Xan’ (1978, later renamed to ‘Jhen’). Pleyers was Cuvelier’s pupil during his final years. In an interview in L’Est Républicain in 1993, Pleyers recalled squatting with Paul Cuvelier during most of the 1970s, living in “old embassies, surrounded by homosexual drug addicts”. Another assistant of Cuvelier was the Spanish artist Juan Lopez de Uralde, who helped him with the last pages of ‘Corentin et le Prince des Sables’ in the late 1960s. Paul Cuvelier’s final work included some erotic illustrations for Privé magazine in 1975, and the preparations of an exposition with the theme “Fillettes” (“little girls”). The artist however passed away in 1978 in Charleroi at the age of 54 after years of declining health.The extremely large folio edition by Blue Circle is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Giovanni Nicolai (continued) in Milano

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Just received a message from Giovanni Nicolai, that he will be exhibiting in Milano some of his most recent works together with some fellow artist in the ARTE NON FALSIFICATA exhibition at the SO gallery in Milan. The exhibition will be open until the 17th of November.

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Anthon Beeke (1940-2018)

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This morning i learned that one of the greatest of all dutch graphic designers, Anton Beeke, died in an Amsterdam hospital, yesterday on the 25th of September. Born in 1940 he soon became part of Fluxus and Provo and was one of the famous names in the AMSTERDAM art world in the sixties. He even became later a contributing partner of Total Design, the agency which was founded by Wim Crouwel ao. I mention this because where Total design was one of the first agencies to apply the computer in designing, Beeke stayed true to his own method, the typical way of composing an image with “camera, scissors and glue”.

His images are strong and stood out and drew immediate attention to the subject. One of his best known designs was the alphabet composed with nude woman.

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It was a meant and searched for reaction on the New Alphabet by Crouwel. There are several Beeke publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Zoltin Peeter (1942)

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Born in Amsterdam but living for the most part of his life in Friesland near Hallum. His works reflect the presence of the rural country side nearby. Abstract forms tumbling in an empty space. Etchings with dark thin forms in an empty white space give me the feeling of ZERO art, but it certainly is not. They fascinate and deserve to be known much better. Peeter has had some exhibitions in the 70’s in prestigious museums like the Kroller Muller Museum. The first encounter with a small work by Zoltin Peeter was his multiple he made for his 1971 exhibition in the Lakenhal. The multiple is available at www.ftn-books.com and shows directly the directions he was taking with his works. decades later you can see where is ended for now. Abstract forms, sparce use of color and in many compositions a realistic form or subject appears. I love his work and his studio…..

His studio is something different. Housed in an old shed he creates his works in the vicinity of the Friesland landscape. I found some beautiful photo’s on Google and want to share these with you , because i find them very special and they give the best impression possible of the surroundings in which Zoltin Peeter creates.

Her are the items which are for sale at www.ftn-books.com and ftn art

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Alice Aycock (1946)

1983, Just 3 years after i started my career at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, the museum made an exhibition with Alice Aycock. Within the Schamhart buidling the complete floor was covered with large kinetic sculptures by Aycock and at that time i could not appreciate them at all. Now 35 year later i wished i had the same knowledge at that time that i have know, because recently i leafed through the catalogue and it struck met that these works were not only great in dimensions, but even after 35 years fascinating. Where Tinguely made his kinetic sculptures in the Sixties. Aycock made them in much more modern and industrialized/high tech versions in the Eighties and after. Alice Aycock has received international fame with her sculptures.

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What remains to me is a wonderful catalogue ( available at www.ftn-books.com) and the memory of meeting a great artist and beautiful woman back in 1983.

To give an impression of her more recent works here is a video on her 2010 presentation:

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Ana Juan (1961)

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A combination of illustration and serious art is the art by Ana Juan. I stumbled upon her works some 20 years ago when within the same series as

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Joost Swarte’s Articulado was published, a beautiful book by Ana Juan was published.

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The book also with a thin wood cover impressed me so much that from that date on i followed her progression in art.

A second copy of the book is now available at www.ftn-books.com and you can see for yourself why i was so impressed , because the internet site at :

http://anajuan.net/ana-juan-mainmenu/

is well worth visiting. Here is the information Wikipedia has on her

After graduating in fine arts from Universidad Politécnica in Valencia (1982), she moved to Madrid at the height of the movida madrileña and in the early 1980s she collaborated with magazines such as La Luna and Madriz (where “for the first seven months of the magazine’s life, [she] was the only regular female artist” and for which “she authored seventeen comic book works” and illustrated many scripts for other artists).

In 1991 she temporarily moved to Paris and exhibited in Geneva and New York; in 1994 she received a fellowship by the Japanese publishing house Kodansha and lived in Japan for three months.

Back in Madrid, in 1995 she started contributing to The New Yorker, for which she has designed more than 20 covers over the years,[3] among which “Solidarité”, after the Charlie Hébdo shooting in Paris.

In 1998 and 1999 she was awarded the Gold Medal (category: Illustration) by the Society of Newspaper Design and on September 24, 2010 she was awarded the “Premio Nacional de Ilustración” by the Spanish Ministry of Culture.

She currently creates her own books (texts and illustrations), exhibits her work all over the world (Spain, Mexico, Japan, Italy…) and contributes to many Spanish and international magazines. She has also illustrated many Isabel Allende’s book covers for Plaza e Janés (Penguin Random House), among which Retrato en Sepia, Eva Luna, El cuaderno de Maya, Of Love and Shadows, and is one of the very few artists who was allowed by the author himself to illustrate a book by Stephen King, namely The Man in the Black Suit (El hombre del traje negro, Nórdica Libros, 2017).

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Alberto Vargas (1896-1982)

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I consider Alberto Vargas ( born in Peru) as the most original and technically accomplished pin-up artist ever. Of course, France has known some great pin-up artist like Aslan was one of them, The US brought us Elvgren and the more modern Olivia de Barardinis, but for me personally Alberto Vargas is the very best. His style is recognizable, his models are exquisite and his art has always a personal note.

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He started making Pin Up drawings in the early 20’s and kept producing new Pin-Ups  until his early Eighties. Many of them appeared in Playboy magazine and the 60’s Playboy magazines contained each month a new Vargas drawing. The magazines edition rose to an enormous 7 million each month but now has fallen to 800.000.

7 million readers ( viewers) each month meant his name as a gifted (pin-up) artist spread rapidly and original drawings fetched high prices at auction. Prices have fallen a little since these GOLDEN VARGAS DAYS, but a good drawing still fetches  usd. 20K+

Artistically Vargas is for sure not the most important and ground breaking artist, but his drawings have a great appeal and are technically brilliant pieces of art.

www.ftn-books.com has some Vargas titles available