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David Hamilton (continued)

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A few years ago i wrote a blog on David Hamilton. It gavce some information on Hamilton as an artist, but now there is an absolute must read on Hamilton which ws recently published by Mutual Art magazine. Here it is :

The controversial work of the British photographer has long been part of the “art or pornography?” debate, a question to which there are no apparent answers.

Dreamscapes of nubile girls in French fields and farmhouses, an age of innocence teetering on that of womanhood; flowers and the thin fabric of dresses, all seen through the gentle distortion of a soft-focus lens. David Hamilton’s filmmaking and photography are quintessentially 1970s, a product of a time in which society was granted more freedom to explore avenues which may have been previously unchartered. But in today’s period of political correctness, collective guilt and finger pointing, where does it leave the viewer and lover of art? Does the rapidly changing world around us force us to now think and feel differently in terms of aesthetical enjoyment? And do purported wrongdoings on the artist’s part come into play?

There is a warmth emanating within a lot of Hamilton’s photography; washed out light seeping into pastel colors, diffused and surreal. There is also a great gentleness to his work; the images are delicate, as if they exist only amid a slow-fading memory. Hamilton is a master in this sense, possessing the capability to create a world of fragile dream or recollection. It is the same feeling one gets when they conjure up the almost-ancient reminiscences of childhood summers; a time brimming with the possibilities of life, of warm, languid days, when time seems to stand still.

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David Hamilton was born in London in 1933. During World War II he became an evacuee and spent time in the Dorset countryside, which would go on to influence his future work. At the age of twenty he moved to Paris where he worked as a graphic designer for Swiss fashion photographer Peter Knapp of Elle magazine. It was during this period that he began to make a name for himself. He returned to London to work as the art director for Queen magazine, but he soon returned to Paris. Back in the city he truly loved, he found work as art director for the city’s biggest department store, Printemps. Here, he started doing commercial photography on the side, and quickly gained success through his trademark grainy, dream-like style.
But with success the photographer also found defame. The public was either attracted or repulsed by the nudity and the subtle-not-so-subtle eroticism found in his images, and some critics summed up his work as trite. In the mid-90s, Hamilton stated that people “have made contradiction of nudity and purity, sensuality and innocence, grace and spontaneity. I try to harmonize them, and that’s my secret and the reason for my success.
While some have labelled David Hamilton’s work as pornographic, and some photographs are certainly erotic, numerous prints of his are almost completely devoid of sexuality. They are often platonic pieces, which aren’t intended to sexually arouse at all, similar to a nude cherub or statue. But his subjects are very real, which for the viewer can elicit a plethora of moralistic questions. Why was he posing young, semi-clothed girls in front of the camera? What exactly am I looking at here? Photography is a very poignant medium in this regard. With a painting, or a statue, there is some degree of removal between model and masterpiece — in capturing images on film there isn’t. The nude model is there before one’s eyes, the same as the artist looked upon amidst the throes of creation.Hamilton was an active photographer for most of his life, but after decades of shooting film and photography, sexual allegations began to surface, which he denied vehemently. Soon thereafter, he was found dead in his southern Paris apartment. An apparent suicide. In light of these allegations, is it our moral duty to have nothing more to do with Hamilton’s photography? Or is it acceptable to still appreciate the art? Do they even come into account at all? Afterall, the art hasn’t changed, only our perception of the artist, and what may have gone on behind the scenes. It is a difficult question, and one that only the individual can answer for him- or herself.

http://www.ftn-books.com has some David hamilton tiltles available

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Melle (1908-1976)

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Melle Johannes Oldeboerrigter in short MELLE, was born on 27 May 1908 in Wittenburg, a residential neighbourhood adjacent to Amsterdam’s harbour area. He was the youngest of three and the only son. His parents, who were forty-three and thirty-seven when Melle was born, had each been through a lot by then. His father, Hendericus Oldeboerrigter, was born on 31 January 1865 in the village of Nijega in Friesland. At age 12, he signed on to work on a sailing vessel and advanced from junior seaman to boatswain. Raised Catholic, he soon became a socialist and was politically active in the seamen’s league, an organization that subscribed to the ideals of the social-anarchist Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis. Tnis is in short a “dry” biography, but it misses the reason why Melle has become famous in the Netherlands. Melle was the first to combine surrealistic scenes , combining genitals with fantasy figures into, considered by many, controversial paintings. Melle is important and had some followers who stillpaint in the tradition he started. I will give you only one example….Hans Kanters …on both artist http://www.ftn-books.com has some publications available.

left Melle….right Kanters

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Gerard Petrus Fieret (continued)

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In 2004 the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag received a donation from Gerard Petrus Fieret, containing over 1000 photographs, drawings and other collectable items. This gift grew the collected Fieret works in the collection of the museum considerably making it the largest Fieret collection in the world. To remember the donation and to please the artist the artist was invited to make a live exhibition in which he made his drawings in one of the rooms of the museum and decorated the walls with these drawing.  If i remember well , Fieret entered the museum for some five weeks, greeting the doorman in a very grumpy way ( yes he was a grumpy old man at that time~), walked the museum hall , entered the designated room and started to draw. Drawing after drawing came out of hands and the publicity department decided to use the event to anounce an exhibition of this huge gift by the artist. They selected 81 drawings from the already considerable pile of drawings and bundled these into a specially made poster and send these out to the press ( all in house made) to announce the Fieret exhibition. Only a few dozen of these press kits were made, making this one of the most desirable and collectable Fieret items. The press kit is now for sale at www.ftn-books.com

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Toxique by Bernard Buffet and Sagan (1965)

 

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In January 2017 i wrote a blog on Bernard Buffet and the different publications i had collected over the years. My personal favorit….TOXIQUE …with a text by Françoise Sagan and published by  Souvenir in the english version in 1965. This is such a strong story and impressively illustrated by Buffet. Dramatic drawings for a dramatic subject of morphine addiction. Both versions are scarce. The 1964 french version even more than the 1965 english version, but whenever i find one i can not help buying it. This is a publication worth collecting and should be in the collection of any art book collector. These are scarce but i have found two copies for my inventory in the last 3 years and both are for sale , because i already have one for my personal collection.

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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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Jurriaan van Hall (1962)

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van Hall is from a generation that rediscovered realism in painting. Specially they were interested in the human body.  Peter Klashorst founded the group “After Nature” and soon after was joined by Jurriaan van Hall who also is a painter” pur sang”

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Jurriaan van Hall (1962) is a painter and sculptor. He studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, the Rijksakademie voor beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam and the Royal College of Art in London. Together with Peter Klashorst and Bart Domburg he founded the notorious artists’ collective, After Nature, which created a commotion in the early 1990s with its controversial painting performances. The artists’ nudes, still lifes, self-portraits and landscapes, painted with loose brushstrokes and intense use of colour, prompted a major revival of figurative painting, with exhibitions in the Netherlands and the United States. Praised and vilified – but never overlooked – the group disbanded in 1993 and the artists went their separate ways.

 

Looking at his work I find the same approach and “rawness” that i also see in the works of Freud. The human body is not perfect and this is shown without any holding back by van Hall.

It takes some time to recognize the quality of his works but look a little longer and you will discover these paintings being timeless and his painting, raw, blunt, colourful and…..perfect. The above publication by de Lakenhal is available at http://www.ftn-books.com

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Gilbert & George (3)

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Gilbert Proesch and George Passmore

Just like a scene from your favourite rom-com, Gilbert and George first locked eyes in the halls of Central Saint Martins in 1967, where the two studied sculpture. Dubbing the encounter as love at first sight, the duo collaborated on both 3D as well as 2D works – although they would continue to refer to all artworks as sculpture. Exploring themes of religion, sexuality and identity across a wide range of media, Gilbert and George have stayed relevant beyond the confines of the elitist art. They married in 2008, having spent over 4 decades together in the art world that they collectively rebel against.

www.ftn-books.com has many Gilbert & George titles available

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Pretty Dutch / 2007

I have seen thousands of art book covers during this last year and here is the one that I think struck me most. It is a publication by the Princessehof from 2007 in which their collection is presented in the very best way possible. Photography of the collection by Erik and Petra Hesmerg and then there is this cover……..

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Photography by Fritz Kok and catalogue design by Ben Lambers

printed by Die Keure

an excellent threesome making a great publication now available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Jock Sturges (1947)

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For some Sturges work is controversial and is considered erotic photography for me Sturges is the American counterpart of Lucien Clergue who places his nudes in a landscape and blends them with nature . the result spectacular photography. His series of sea and sand photographs reminds me of the series Sturges has made of youth along the shore of the sea. But as an example a less controversial photo below. This is a classic beauty.

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Jock Sturges is an American photographer known for his large-format portraits of nude adolescents. His black-and-white prints capture subjects on naturist beaches in the United States and France. The controversial nature of his imagery has raised concerns throughout his career, but Sturges has remained steadfast, photographing his subjects—often alongside their families—over several years. “My hope is that my work is in some way counter-pinup,” the artist said of his work. “A pinup asks you to suspend interest in who the person is and occupy yourself entirely with looking at the body, fantasizing about what you could do with that body, completely ignoring how the person might feel about it.” Born in 1947 in New York, NY, he served in the US Navy before studying perceptual psychology at Marlboro College in Vermont. While studying for his MFA in photography from San Francisco Art Institute Sturges began taking nude photographs of communes in Northern California. In 1990, the artist’s studio was raided by the FBI and attempts were made to charge him with child pornography, all attempts have been unsuccessful. Sturges has published several books of his photographs, including Life~Time (2008), and his works are held in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Denver Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The artist currently lives and works in Seattle, WA. The below publication is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Atze Haytsma (1929)

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Born in Amersfoort this little known photographer is still working.

Haytsma has become known for his nude photography in which he shapes the body into almost abstract forms. Inspired by the greats of all nude photographers like Bill Brandt and Lucien Clergue, his nudes are almost always made in a studio setting.

The difference is therefore the way light in the photograph is used . He can set up his studio lights in a way that is never possible when photographing outside. Personally i prefer the natural light of the outside photography, but that does not mean that i am not attracted to the photographs of Haytsma. His photographs still have a quality of their own, making these highly collectable items at a reasonable price. This is an artist to watch whenever an item appears on an online auction site. The ATZE book is available at www.ftn-books.com

Atze Haytsma (1929) was educated to be a sculptor. At fourteen years old he started his professional career as an assistant of Geert Marree, just before the Dutch famine of 1944. After that he studied at the Applied Art School and the State Academy of Expressive Arts. He also learned how to glaze and work with modelling clay in a pottery to finally produce the designs of sculptors such as Bill Couzijn, Carel Kneulman, Marie Andriesse and many others. Basically everything in his life revolves around shape. Where he used to work with stone, he now, because of his age, works only with wax. But it has always been about the shape of a woman’s body.

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Photographing women became an essential part of his life. It all began when he started to teach portrait and model moulding. At first he used nude models in the classes, but when the school could no longer afford to pay for the models, Atze started to photograph women and used the pictures as reference material for his students. They posed for him at his home, in the -presence of Atze’s wife, Mieke, who was a painter. First, they were students of the art academy he was teaching at, but by word of mouth the list grew longer through the years.

Around the age of sixty, Atze quit teaching. He then started to create small sculptures. He did this without a model; the female body was imprinted in his head in such a way, that he did not need a model. However, the longing to photograph women remained. Since then, Atze has been working in a pocket-sized attic, with construction lamps as lighting. He started out with two cameras, but soon needed others, because of the use of different lenses. By now he has eight of them, all Mamiya and Rolleiflex cameras, purchased for a small price at the end of the analogue era, when everyone switched to using digital cameras. Twin-lens reflex cameras for a 6 x 6 cm picture size on a 120 mm roll-film. Cameras that should be handled with caution, perfectly suitable for portrait and model photography because of their precision and handy size. Ideal for Atze, who has a soft, modest, almost shy personality. Using a Rolleiflex camera, you look down, into the waist-level finder, indirect, much more pleasant for the model. Instead of piercing, probing eyes she sees a head humbly bowed. The camera, placed on a tripod, is deliberately at about the same height as the top of the sofa bed. Atze does not for a moment want to give the models the feeling he is looking down on them.

The models are amateurs. Just women he met or who were referred to him. He will never ask someone himself, he does not have the courage. Maybe after a second posing session he could ask: ‘Will you come again?’. Sometimes he only speaks to them over the telephone and sees them for the first time when they walk through the door. The first time, they are a bit uneasy and nervous. Atze himself is relaxed, because he has been working with nude models his whole life. Atze always asks new models to come and see his photographs first so they can decide after that. If you feel that you are too fat or not pretty enough, he reassures them. A roll of fat or a skin crease can heavenly divide the body.

Posing for the first time the woman sits uncertainly on the corner of the sofa bed. ‘Just let yourself fall on the sofa,’ is Atze’s friendly advice. Followed by: ‘Beautiful, keep it like that’. That is how it starts and it doesn’t get more complicated then: ‘Can you turn around’, ‘Stretch a little more’ or ‘Can you crouch’. Photographs improve when a woman is aware of her body. He wants to give as few directions as possible, because it is all about interaction. A few words suffice.

He always photographs his women naked. Atze sees clothing as a kind of mask, so he wants his models to take it off. The absence of jewellery and other modern body embellishments make the images look like they could have been taken in the 1930ties.

Atze keeps his sculptures anonymous. Because a face has such a different expression than a body, he keeps the face out of the picture. Sometimes if a model lies in such a way that her eyes are prominent, he asks her to look at the lens and takes a portrait as a present for the model.

The pictures are a mirror image of Atze’s softness and admiration. The women show themselves unrestrainedly, bask in his gaze, let his eyes caress them. It is about surrender and relief. From Atze’s side, it is reverence for a woman’s body. And a kind of eagerness. If it is there, he wants to capture it.

For 25 years Atze has been capturing the tangible in moulding clay, the visible in photography and his thoughts in poetry. Three things that are inseparably linked.