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Nobuyoshi Araki (1940)

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Araki has published over 400 books. He is known primarily for his photography that blends eroticism and bondage in a fine art context. But where he first was a rather obscure photographer who dared to photograph his subjects in “forbidden” poses and where his publications were originally sold under the counter. His photography has become mainstream, partly due to his dutch representatives of Reflex gallery and certainly by Benedikt TAschen who published several titles on Araki , including to super large sized ARAKI special publication in 2002.

Nobuyoshi Araki is known best for his intimate, snapshot- style images sensual flowers and of women often tied up with ropes (a kinky japanese art called Kinbaku). ( some of them availabel at Reflex galery / Amsterdam).The magnitude of  Araki’s work is difficult to wrap your head around. Araki is an artist who reacts strongly to his emotions and uses photography to experience them more intensely. His work is at once shocking and mysteriously tender with a burst of power. But one thing strikes me about most of his photographs (besides the obvious nudity) is the relationship between him and the one he captures, the intimacy, the trust and the surrender. Araki is Helmut Newton on drugs but more amplified. He is not afraid of his emotions nor of showing them to the world. He is truly an exceptionally deep and emotional artist. In 1970 he created his famous Xeroxed Photo Albums, which he produced in limited editions and sent to friends, art critics and even people he selected randomly from his local telephone book.  Araki has published over 400 books of his work. Including ARAKI, a super large publication, $4000.00 book of beauty.

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About this publication said “this book reveals everything about me. it’s been a 60-year contract. Photography is love and death- that’ll be my epitaph” – Araki

But you do not have to spent as much as 4k USD. There are excellent Araki publications for far less money available at www.ftn-books.com

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Carlo Mollino (1905-1973) …multi disciplined artist

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Architect, Photographer, furniture designer and engineer. All these disciplines were combined in one person…the genius Carlo Mollino.

Educated at the Politecnico di Torino he soon became one of the leading architects in that city. Linda and I will be visiting Torino later this year and we certainly will see some of these timeless Mollino buildings.

 

but for me Mollino stands for design and photography, because in both he excels. His engineering skills are undoubtedly there and so are his architectural accomplishments, but with his photography and design he is truly avant-garde. Look at his photographs and you know exactly where Araki and Saudek took their inspiration from and his furniture…. it has the “free” style of the later Memphis group but was much more stylish. (BTW this desk is still in production).

Mollino was a true genius who’s works are better known each year, because his name is not only known in Italy anymore. Because of some very important publications, exhibitions and books, his fame spreads all over the world. A unique artist and personality and one of the great multi disciplined artist from last century.

I found a very good blog on him at this address: https://buildllc.wordpress.com/2008/12/07/the-work-of-carlo-mollino/

and for some Mollino publications please visit www.ftn-books.com

 

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Nicolaas Wijnberg (1918-2006)

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Here is one of my regrets as a collector. Nicolaas Wijnberg was one of the first artists i purchased a lithjograph of. At Arta a small lithograph was sold at a very low members price and i could buy it from my saved pocket money. Perhaps 40 years later, it must be about 10 years ago, a painting was offered at Bubb Kuyper. This painting “glowed” and looked at me. It was not signed , but definitely by Wijnberg and from the mid seventies /early eighties.

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I loved this painting, made a written bid. ( I never buy at the live auction , to avoid that i am carried away and spent too much) and ….. i was successful . This beautiful painting was mine. I took it home and within 48 hours i was called by the auction house that they had a new “after sale” bid for the painting i just had bought and I could make a large profit on it. A collector had missed the auction and wanted to buy it with a premium for me as a buyer. I always had told myself that what i had bought for www.ftn-books.com was not for my personal collection….and i decided to sell it. Now years later , i am not so sure that i made the right decision. The painting still looks beautiful and impressive and i recently saw it published in the book on Wijnberg .

But as Martin Bril used to say . “You miss more than you experience”

For other Nicolaas Wijnberg Books please visit www.ftn-books.com

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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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Wally Elenbaas (1912-2008) & Esther Hartog.

An artist couple that survived WWII but of whom Wally was put in prison, because of Nude photography which was still forbidden in the sixties. Wally spent 9 months in jail because of these beautiful photographs, taking all the blame and preventing that his wife would be punished too for making the same kind of photographs. Now in these modern times it is almost unthinkable that an artist would be put in prison, but in the early sixties it was done. Why took Wally all the blame on him?…… because he feared that esther would become insane since her family lost their lives in prison and concentration camps and by all means he wanted to prevent this to happen. A sad, but also beautiful love story which was the fundament of all their great photographs they made together and of each other.

It is now almost 10 years after Elenbaas died, but since his death a growing appreciation is there for the photography of both these artists which resulted in a beautiful impressive book published by nai010 which is also available at www.ftn-books.com

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Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)

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Here si a classic sculptor who paved the way for modern sculpture. You just have to visit the Rodin museum in Paris to find the most beautiful Rodin sculptures all assembled into one place and find the “studies” among them. Look at them closely …travel in time some 50 years ahead and find parts of Henri Moore and Brancusi in them. Rodin was a genius and the dutch are lucky to have some great Rodin sculptures in public collections. There are statues in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and the Stedelijk Museum and there are 7 sculptures by Rodin collected by Mr. and Mrs Singer which are frequently on show at the Singer Museum in Laren. The most important one is a smaller sized “THINKER” statue.

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Beside the statues , Rodin made some very impressive  (erotic) watercolors. Studies of bodies which also have an abstract quality.

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There are publications on Rodin available at www.ftn-books.com

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Jean Cocteau (1889-1963)…author or painter?

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NO doubt in my mind. For me Jean Cocteau was a painter/photographer. Surely he was a multitalented artist, but in his drawings he shines. Personal, bold and typical Cocteau styled. These drawings are timeless and have at one time been published by Taschen in highly affordable, but beautiful executed publication.

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But beside this great introduction to his ( erotic) drawings there are many other publications worth collecting on this artist. www.ftn-books.com has some of them available, but it is well worth to search for these small but excellent publications on book markets and at garage sales. Cocteau was a great and original artist.

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Mel Ramos ( 1935 )

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Mel Ramos made hyperrealistic paintings , but if i had to decide what kind of artist he was , i would rather say he was first and foremost a Pop Art artist.

Ramos is best known for his paintings of superheroes and voluptuous female nudes emerging from cornstalks or Chiquita bananas, popping up from candy wrappers or lounging in martini glasses.

Ramos was among the first wave of Pop Art artists who gained recognition for their art. His art was hidden for a long time for us dutch. No publications were available and the nude paintings/illustrations we had in magazines over here were practically all done by Alberto Vargas, the famous Playboy illustrator, but none by Mel Ramos

Ramos received his first important recognition in the early 1960s; since 1959 he has participated in more than 120 group shows. Along with Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, he was one of the first artists to do paintings of images from comic books, and works of the three were exhibited together at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1963. Along with Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, Tom Wesselman and Wayne Thiebaud, Ramos produced art works that celebrated aspects of popular culture as represented in mass media. His paintings have been shown in major exhibitions of Pop art in the U.S. and in Europe, and reproduced in books, catalogs, and periodicals throughout the world.

PS. i started to write this blog knowing for sure i had a great publication on Ramos in my stock, but unfortunately it was sold some years ago and it is not available any longer at www.ftn-books.com

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Pan Andrea (continued)… a series of illustrations

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Perhaps not very well known is that Pat Andrea had a career as an illustrator before his paintings rose to fame . Interesting to know is that the strange atmosphere and surreal situations in his paintings have an origin and that origin is his many illustrations he has made during his life. In the Seventies a series of books by herman Pieter de Boer were published by Elsevier in which all illustrations were done by Pat Andrea.

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The series was quite popular but the quality of the illustrations was realized by many after Pat Andrea had received a retrospective abroad and people could see the link between the illustrations and his larger scaled works. The series is hard to find nowadays ( www.ftn-books.com has it available) and for those that understand and can read dutch the stories are all excellent and a little bit like Roald Dahl short stories, but for all remain the illustrations within each volume. Each book contains approximately 25 illustrations all exclusively done by Pat Andrea and all specially made to fit the story. I love these illustrations, because in many of them one can recognize later subjects for is beautiful paintings. These books deserve to be collected.

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Then I ducked my Head and the lights went out, and two guns blazed in the Dark……

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This brilliant title is given by William N. Copley to a painting he made in 1966. Copley must be one of the wittiest artists.

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He had no trouble at all in finding or coming up with original titles. ( a little like Piet Dirkx/ follow the Piet Dirkx daily at this blog). I love Copley and artists who can come up with original and fun titles for their works. Compare the above and for example” Mount Venus and the Hula-Hula Graces in the Glade” to titles like composition I and composition II. This does not mean that “composition” is a worse painting, but when there is a story in a title it says something about the artist himself. Looking for some more great titles for paintings? visit www.ftn-books.com for other Copley publications.

( and search within my blog to find another blog on Copley)