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Edgar Fernhout (1912-1974)

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Edgar Fernhout comes from an interesting background. His grandfather was Jan Toorop and his mother Charley Toorop. This meant he was raised among artists and writers. An inspiring surroundings in which art took centre stage. He specially moved to Bergen after the divorce of his mother , where his grandfather has built the house/studio de VLERKEN specially for the family of his daughter to raise her children and create her own works of art. The interesting part of Fernhout for me personally was his transition from realism into abstract art. Fernhout being one of the first in the Netherland together with M0ndrian to discover abstract art as a genre.

the other aspect i like of his history is that when he received his first large museum presentation in the Netherlands at the van Abbemuseum , the catalogue with exhibition was designed by Wim Crouwel. This being one of the first publications he made for a large museum in the Netherlands. This catalogue is of course available at www.ftn-books.com

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Minimal Art at the Haags Gemeentemuseum

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It was in the early Eighties that i learned of the Minimal Art collection and history of the Haags Gemeentemuseum.

Crucial for the collection was the interest of almost all modern art curators in Minimal Art. Starting with Enno Develing who introduced the key artists of the Minimal Art scene for the first time in a large exhibition in 1968. Among them Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Carl Andre and of course Sol LeWitt. Many of them would receive solo prentations in the years to follow, but this first time was a breakthrough for Minimal Art. The catalogue is arare book nowadays and i am lucky to have a copy for sale at www.ftn-books.com

After this first exhibition many exhibitions would follow. Enno Develing, Flip Bool, Rudi Fuchs and Franz Kaiser all took an interest in Minimal Art and because of this interest , exhibitions with LeWitt, Andre and Judd were organized in the decades after this first  1968 Minimal Art exhibition. I doubt that none was as important as this very first one, because after this first one Minimal Art was established as an art form, but another aspect that makes this first ( Develing ) exhibition important is that the relationship between the Gemeentemuseum and these artist was not only an artistic one.  The museum and its curators became friends with practically all Minimal Art artists, resulting in an ever growing collection of Minimal Art.

There is a nice link to a tribute to Sol LeWitt to be found over here:

http://www.gem-online.nl/files/media/gem/2016/sol_lewitt._a_tribute/ebook_sollewitt_web.pdf

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Oliver Boberg ( 1965 )

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The first time i was confronted with the work by Oliver Boberg was when he had  a large Retrospective exhibition. This was in 2004 at the Fotomuseum and i was very much impressed. Specially the large scale photographs had a feel of desolation and now i have bought for FTN Art two of his greatest photographs at a much smaller scale but still these are originals and very well worth collecting. The book i had on Boberg was sold years and years ago, but this is even better for the true admirer. The photographs are both from a very small edition of 20, numbered and signed and in pristine condition. Framed in a quite expensive frame and come from a collector from the US.

Memorial by Oliver Boberg , 2002,  edition 20, number 14/20, C-Print and signed by Boberg.

Frame measures 51 x 42 cm. C print is 35 x 25 cm. , condition is MINT

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“Erdgeschoss” by Oliver Boberg , 2001, edition 20, number 13/20, C-Print and signed by Boberg.

Frame measures 51 x 42 cm. C print is 38 x 15 cm. , condition is MINT

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Please visit the FTN art section on this page for more information

Oliver Boberg was born in Herten, Germany, in 1965. He studied art history at the University of Würzburg, Germany, from 1985–86, before transferring to the Art Academy Nürnberg to study painting from 1986–93. Since 1997 Boberg has garnered attention for his photographs of what appear to be bleak, uninhabited architectural sites but are in fact models constructed by the artist in his studio. The sense of neglect that haunts these scenes contradicts the painstaking meticulousness applied to their fabrication. In Boberg’s work from the late nineties, the elegant formalism of his compositions contrasts with the subject matter—color-drained stairwells, roof decks, and building facades painted to dissemble age and dilapidation. Works such as Park (1998) and Playground (2000) offer barren sites of disrepair despite their sunny titles. Boberg created his first films for the series Night Sites (2002–03). In these films, the artist utilizes familiar Hollywood devices—fluorescent blue lighting that typically permeates suspenseful night scenes and eerie settings like an abandoned alley or fog-coated forest—to promise a drama that never unfolds. In 2003, with his Building Shell series, Boberg returned to his characteristic photography of elaborate models, this time recreating multistory edifices in the midst of the construction process. In 2004 the artist began to work for the first time with black-and-white photography for his Pagesseries. In Pages and Walls (2007), Boberg revisited his photographic investigation of highly constructed, formalist sites of inattention. Inattention gives way to tragic neglect in his series Slums, begun in 2008, which focuses on the derelict makeshift dwellings composed of serrated tin and other urban debris. For this series, the artist juxtaposed his photographs with computer-generated drawings.

Solo exhibitions of Boberg’s work have been organized by the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago (2001), Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne (2002), Kunstverein Hannover (2003), and Duolun Museum of Modern Art in Shanghai (2005). His work has also been included in major group exhibitions such as Experiment at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2000), Moving Pictures at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2003), and Artist’s Choice: Herzog & De Meuron, Perception Restrained at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2006). Boberg has been recognized with the Bayerischer Staatsförderpreis für junge Künstler, Fotografie (1997) and Förderpreis für bildende Kunst der Stadt Nürnberg (2005), among other awards. Boberg lives and works in Fürth, Germany.

 

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Nicolas de Stael (1914-1955)

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Another artists artist is Nicolas de Stael. You can find some of his works in french museum and possibly there are some works in the Netherlands in collections, but the main part of his paintings that are in public collections can be found in French museum, because in France de Stael is known.  Undeservedly de Stael has not become the great name in art he deserves to be. He should be known worldwide , because his abstract art is a highly personal voyage through the landscape of Modern Art. In his short life he experimented with lyrical geometric abstract forms , using less prominent colors than many of his contemporaries.

Every decade there is another large retrospective exhibition in which is tried to explain the importance of de Stael, but so far without success. Still it is neccessary that curators from all over the world present again and again this groundbreaking atist until the greater public becomes familiar with his kind of forms , shiftings and paintings and starts to appreciate this great artist. Preferably not in a way that in every household a reproduction is hung on the wall because it is fashionable to have a “DE STAEL’ on your wall, but in a way that a large public can grow accustomed  to and appreciate this great artist. to start….

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

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Bob Bonies (1937)

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For me the only true “Hard edge” artist in the Netherlands is Bob Bonies, however Michiel Morel refers to the art of Bob Bonies as a rearrangement of FORMS AND COLORS.

I read his excellent article and it is unfortunate that it is only available in dutch, but for those who understand the language here is the link :

Bonies: Ordening van vorm en kleur (periode  1964 – 1968) (3)

As you can read in the article . Bonies stayed true to his art of rearranging , shifting and placing forms and colors in a new context and one of the earliest silkscreen that was published in a larger edition was the one he made for the Stedelijk Museum catalogue VORMEN VAN DE KLEUR

in which his contribution stands out together with the one Ellsworth Kelly made for the same publication. This Wim Crouwel designed publication is available at www.ftn-books.com

left Bonies and right Kelly

I have a lifetime admiration for Bob Bonies. He was one of the first artists i personally met at the Gemeentemuseum and a few years ago i bought a small collection of his publications from another bookdealer who had bought them from a Bonies collector and within one of the publications i found the birth card of his son Jiri. Even this card shows the quality of his works. The card is for sale too together with many other Bonies publications.

 

 

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Martial Raysse (1936)

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Martial Raysse, 82 years of age and still going strong, but his works have definitely changed. They have become Mythological inspired and stand far from the Pop Art he made in the sixties when his works and art became known together with other beginning artists.

In October 1960 he founded together with Yves Klein, Arman, Spoerri, Tinguely and Villegle de artist group NOUVEAUX REALISTES . They tried to approach reality in a new and avant garde way and were seen as the french equivalent of the Pop Art mouvement. Martial Raysse worked like Warhol with silkscreens contrasting colors and added Neon to his paintings, making them instantly recognizable and appealing.

Another aspect of his art was that his paintings were not flat, but had in many cases a 3D addition. A rope, box or the mentioned neon gives the painting literally several layers. His 60’s adn early Seventies are among the best Pop Art paintings produced  and fetch extremely high prices at auction. recently one of his paintings fetched a staggering 4 Million.

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At a more affordable level the excellent Stedelijk Museum catalogue designed by Wim Crouwel is available at www.ftn-books.com . It has a special Raysse designed cover and even the use of colors ( out and inside ) is typical Raysse. Available at www.ftn-books.com

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David Tremlett at Coazzolo / Italy

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Last 10 days we spent in the beautiful Langhe e Roero area near Alba (Italy). There is not a great number of Modern Art to be found in the joining areas. There is of course Modern Art in Torino and Rivoli. But in and near Alba almost nothing. One exception. David Tremlett decorated a church at Coazzolo which is well worth visiting and Sol LeWitt decorated a chapel in the wine fields.

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Both are well worth a vist but none is that spectacular it is worth a detour still when in the neighborhood visit them because this is one of the most enchanting regions in Italy and well worth visiting even if there is hardly any modern art to be found. For some Tremlett publications visit www.ftn-books.com

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Francis Picabia is “PAPA DADA”

It took a long time for me to finally appreciate the works by Picabia. Once known as “Papa Dada,” Francis Picabia was one of the principle figures of the Dadamovement both in Paris and New York. A friend and associate of Marcel Duchamp, he became known for a rich variety of work ranging from strange, comic-erotic images of machine parts to text-based paintings that foreshadow aspects of Conceptual art. Even after Dada had been supplanted by other styles, the French painter and writer went on to explore a diverse and almost incoherent mix of styles. He shifted easily between abstraction and figuration at a time when artists clung steadfastly to one approach, and his gleeful disregard for the conventions of modern art encouraged some remarkable innovations even later in his career, from the layered Transparency series of the 1920s to the kitsch, erotic nudes of the early 1940s. Picabia remains revered by contemporary painters as one of the century’s most intriguing and inscrutable artists.

on the excellent site THE ART STORY i found this text on the ideas of Picabia

In the 1910s, Picabia shared the interests of a number of artists who emerged in the wake of Cubism, and who were inspired less by the movement’s preoccupation with problems of representation than by the way the style could evoke qualities of the modern, urban, and mechanistic world. Initially, these interests informed his abstract painting, but his attraction to machines would also shape his early Dada work, in particular his Mechanomorphs – images of invented machines and machine parts that were intended as parodies of portraiture. For Picabia, humans were nothing but machines, ruled not by their rational minds, but by a range of compulsive hungers.
Picabia was central to the Dada movement when it began to emerge in Paris in the early 1920s, and his work quickly abandoned many of the technical concerns that had animated his previous work. He began to use text in his pictures and collages and to create more explicitly scandalous images attacking conventional notions of morality, religion, and law. While the work was animated by the Dada movement’s rage against the European culture that had led to the carnage of World War I, Picabia’s attacks often have the sprightly, coarse comedy of the court jester. They reflect an artist with no respect for any conventions, not even art, since art was just another facet of the wider culture he rejected.
Figurative imagery was central to Picabia’s work from the mid-1920s to the mid-1940s, when he was inspired by Spanish subjects, Romanesque and Renaissance sources, images of monsters, and, later, nudes found in soft porn magazines. Initially he united many of these disparate motifs in the Transparency pictures, complexly layering them and piling them on top of each other to provoke confusion and strange associations. Some critics have described the Transparencies as occult visions, or Surrealist dream images, and although Picabia rejected any association with the Surrealists, he steadfastly refused to explain their content. Picabia always handled these motifs with the same playful and anarchic spirit that had animated his Dada work.
Picabia learned early on that abstraction could be used to evoke not only qualities of machines, but also to evoke mystery and eroticism. This ensured that abstract painting would be one of the mainstays of his career. He returned to it even in his last years, during which he attributed his inspiration to the obscure recesses of his mind, as he had always done.
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www.ftn-books.com has some excellent publications on Picabia including the very special Ronny van de Velde publication PICABIA ( price upon request)
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Ans Wortel (1929-1996)

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When i started to collect art ( editions) i must have been 16 years of age and one of the first lithographs i acquired was one by Ans Wortel. A feminist artist who found her inspiration nearby. A feminine, mother, child approach to her subjects made her work very accessible and understandable to many. This together with the strong graphic quality these works were very appealing and at that time i bought 2 lithographs for my starting collection.

These were sold a long time ago because i found the works after many years to become less interesting. This was now some 30 years ago, but lately i rediscovered her works, because when you look at them again after not seeing them in a very long time , you discover them to be timeless and well worth collecting. There were other things to discover about Ans Wortel because at her peak she had some important exhibitions and became very popular as an artist in the Netherlands resulting in multiple exhibitions, among them at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam which catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

In the 1970s, the paintings and prints of Ans Wortel (1929–1996) were hailed by critics and purchased by major museums. Her work, imbued with intensely feminine themes, was very much in demand. The artist became a well-known Netherlander, whose non-conformist lifestyle spoke to everyone’s imagination. In the village of Bergen, where she lived for 20 years, her villa Kranenburgh is now museum Kranenburgh.

Tough women

Where her fellow artists sought innovation in abstraction, Ans Wortel remained faithful to figuration, developing a distinctive visual language and palette. Her paintings feature tough and robust women, with large hands and eyes, surrounded by surreal landscapes.

Liberated

In 1968 the mayor of Bergen offered her villa Kranenburgh. Many were the parties in her building – more numerous were the stories about her eccentric lifestyle. Her free-spirited life is reflected in the countless drawings and paintings that filled Kranenburgh. When, after twenty years, she had to leave the villa, she protests vehemently, but in vain.