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Erik Ortvad (1917-2008)

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One of the founding cities of the COBRA movement is Copenhagen and one of the true Danish COBRA members was Erik Ortvad.

Ortvad was born on the 6th of June, 1917 in Copenhagen. He was a painter and a graphic artist, who was known to be an autodidact. He has been painting since 1935 from a very young age. In this period his paintings were influenced by the surrealistic and abstract style of Ejler Bille (1910-2004), Vilhelm Bjerke Petersen (1909-1957) and the artists group called Linien (The Line) (1934-1949). During 1941 and 1942 Ortvad was, just like many other Danish artists and contemporaries, in search of more spontaneity in the course of his creative process. He began to paint with a more spontaneous-abstract style, at which he would use small brushstrokes to purvey his canvases on numerous occasions with the colours grey, pink, yellow and blue.

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Ortvad joined the Danish pre-war experimental artists association Høst (1942-1949) in 1945 as the youngest member. Through Høst he came in contact with members of CoBrA (1948-1951), an international post-war avant-garde movement that believed that art must originate from artistic freedom, fantasy and spontaneity. Ortvad’s artworks were shown in 1948 at the Van Lier gallery in Amsterdam. His artworks were also shown in 1949 and 1951 at the renowned CoBrA exhibitions in Amsterdam and Liège. Ortvad decided a year after the abolishing of CoBrA to put his paintworks aside and focus on his desire to draw cartoons. He did this under the pseudonym ‘Enrico’. After the year 1960 he directed his focus on his spontaneous painting style once again. In contrast with his earlier works, his later works are defined by a powerful characterization existing of fiercely, saturated colours, strong lines and visible brush strokes.

It took al very long time for me personally until I discovered Ortvad, but now that I have encountered his works I believe I like him better than most of his dutch fellow COBRA members. The below publication is available at http://www.ftn-books.com

cobra denmark

 

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Josef Albers silkscreens

A great inspiration for Sol LeWitt and considered by many as one of the greatest artists from the 20th Century. Josef Albers is the artist I am writing about this time. In an earlier blog I explained the importance for Minimal art of Josef Albers but this time the blog is devoted solely to the great original silkscreens I am exclusively offering on eBay. The series of 4 comes from a private collector and is from 1973. The silkscreens are executed on a double sheet of paper and are exquisite in the choice of colours. Albers is the true master of matching the best colours. The composition of HOMAGE TO THE SQUARE is always the same but the choice of colours and size make you look at a different work of art the moment you see it. These original silkscreens are 8.1 x 8.1 inch and now available at eBay’s  all international sites.

 

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Two “scarce” Stedelijk Museum additions

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bloc parent c

It has been a long time since i encountered the No. 183 catalogue ,published by the Stedelijk Museum in 1958. The publication is a leporello like publication which folds out and describes the contributions by three French artists. The design done by Willem Sandberg makes this one stand out and it is one of the most scarce publications by the Stedelijk Museum. The artists André Bloc, Claude Parent and Charlotte Perriand. an absolute must have for the admirers of these artists and a highly collectable item for all interested in the Stedelijk Museum publications. (now available at www.ftn-books.com)

The second one is even more scarce and it is one i never have encountered before in all these years that i sell Stedelijk Museum publications. Designed by Wim Crouwel it is only a 4 page publication. Specially made for the Werkgroep Plakat Praag / Politieke affiches uit Tsjechoslowakije ( ODPOVĒDNOST)/ 1965. This is another highly desirable item for Stedelijk Museum/Crouwel collectors.

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Yoshitoshi, two sides of the same medal

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There are literally two sides of Yoshitoshi as an artist . There is the dreamlike artist with a poetic flute player and on the other side there is the violent artist who depicts horror scenes.

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What is present in both these prints from the same artists is the beautiful technique of his prints. Mouvement, use of color and composition are all of the highest quality. I personally prefer Yoshitoshi’s art above all other Japanese print makers. Of course Utamaro has depicted the most beautiful women and Hokusai’s landscapes are beyond compare, but with Yoshitoshi his prints it is something special for me. There is mouvement and action in these prints and put these prints one after the other, a story emerges, just like a modern graphic novel. The RIJKSMUSEUM has published a great series on Japanese Prints and http://www.ftn-books.com has recently acquired the Volume V in the series totslly dedicated to Yoahitoshi and his fellow artists from that age… THE AGE OF YOSHITOSHI is an absolute must for his admirers.

yoshitoshi

 

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Leonard Forslund (1959)

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One of the advantages you have when you buy art books is  that you frequently encounter artists and their publications you have never heard of and Leonard Forslund was one of them, Intrigued by his “contour” paintings i learned that he has been active for quite some time now and has deservedly acquired a good reputation in the art world.

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Leonard Forslund (b. 1959) is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. Since his breakthrough in the mid-80’s, he has exhibited widely in Denmark, Sweden and other countries. Forslund works with a new definition of painting. His subject matter frequently includes recognizable objects or photographic material isolated against a monochromatic surface. This focus triggers the meanings. A stark contrast emerges between the recognizable, evocative element and the alienation the spectator feels when experiencing an abrupt lack of perspective and context. The artist often makes a virtue out of bringing together several perspectives – scientific, personal, spatial or historical/political – on a single plane, rendering the painting ambiguous and enabling new connections of meaning to emerge across the given elements. Forslund challenges the spectator’s self-image, in the redefinition of his or her own point of view and way of thinking. Leonard Forslund lives and work in Copenhagen.

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This 1989 publication is now available at http://www.ftn-books.com

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Lotti van der Gaag, Kees van Bohemen & Bram Bogart

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Three famous names in the dutch and Belgian art scene, but never named in relation to each other except for this one occasion in 1956. In March/April of this year these 3 artists were presented in an exhibition at the “galerie Colette Allendy” in Paris. Lotti van der Gaag and Kees van Bohemen knew each other from Den Haag , but Bram Bogart had left Delft/Den Haag years before and was at that time working and living in Paris. In 1960 he would return to Brussels , but in 1956 they met and were exhibiting at this little known Parisian galerie. I want to share this rare item i have on this exhibition and which is now for sale at www.ftn-books.com. It is a leporello like folder with 6 small pages and portraits of the artists. This is a truly scarce item and for collectors a one time only offering.

allendy

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Imca Schoots (1973)

 

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To be honest….i had never noticed the works by Imca SCHOOTS. I did visit the UNSEEN photographic fair in 2017, where the book that is mentioned in this blog was presented, but possibly was lost with so many excellent photographs that these photographs by Schoots did not stand out for me……..but……………………………………………

now that i have this beautiful publication YOU AIN’t SEEN ME by Imca Schoots in my inventory and published by Lecturis, one can do nothing else than admire her photographs. The quality of the photo’s is certainly enhanced by one of the best designed books that i have held in the past years. The design was done by Eva van der Schans and the outstanding printing by Lecturis . Edition run of only 600 copies and only one copy available. If you like books or Books and photographs this book must not be missed since it is one of the best art book publications i encountered in recent years….Highest recommendation.

schoots a

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Jacob Jongert (1883-1942)

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Jac ( Jacob ) Jongert is one of the classic dutch designers. It is highly likely that you once have seen a design of his , since his van NELLE box has grown into a world famous design object from the Twenties/Thirties.

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It has been one of those iconic design objects executed in a style which have been of great influence to designers in the following decades. Look at the second poster and you will recognize that this typography and design elements must have influenced the POP ART designs from the Sixties.

But beside the avant garde designs there are so much more beautiful designs by Jongert and for those interested in Jongert and his design career i truly recommend the book which has been published in 2009 for the Jongert  special exhibition at the Boymans van Beuningen Museum. A book which shows why Jongert is important as a designer and what is more . The book itself is one of the best and most beautiful published books which i encountered in recent years. This book is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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the Stedelijk Museum Bulletins

corbijn bulletin

Art & Project was not the only art gallery who published a regular bulletin in the Netherlands. In 3 consecutive decades, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam published their Bulletin series on a regular basis. Their Bulletins were more informative and less a small piece of art. I thought they were less interesting, but now some 15 years later I have become to appreciate these Bulletin publications. Great design, very informative and always “up to date”. Over the decades some very important and highly collectable Bulletins have been published. The series consists over 400 bulletin publications among which are some true classics which are available at ww.ftn-books.com. My thought about the Bulletin series has changed over the years and I think these publications are from an art point of view important. They show the exhibitions which were held over the years and include some of the best art ever. For me the following Bulletins can not be missed in any serious art book collection: Ben, Memphis, Keith Haring on the Velum, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt on his drawings. This is to name just a few……..

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John Wesley (1928)

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John Wesley is considered to be a Pop Art artist, however, I am in doubt because many of his qualities are timeless and are much more graphic than the 100% pop art paintings. I knew Wesly from his retrospective at the Stedelijk Museum in 1993, but what I did not realise was that many of his works have an erotic contents. I did a Google search and found many examples of nudity that were presented in great graphic paintings and prints. I am not the only person who thinks about his works in such a way.

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John Wesley is a contemporary American painter. Characterized by his uniquely graphic, flattened Pop paintings, Wesley’s work addresses themes of sexuality and erotica through stylized and symmetrically composed images. Rendered in distinctive pink and blue pastel hues, Wesley repeats the same graphic symbolic images in tessellation-like patterns on his large canvases, and regularly employs leitmotifs like pornography and avian fowl—often to humorous effect—throughout his oeuvre. Though his paintings are reminiscent of his contemporary Tom Wesselmann, his personal associations were with peers Dan Flavin and Donald Judd, and he was inspired by both the Minimalist and Surrealist movements. That being said, “I didn’t go out and try to be a Surrealist,” Wesley explained of his ambiguous imagery. “It was just fun doing what I was doing.” Born on November 25, 1928 in Los Angeles, CA, he was a self-taught artist who worked for several years an illustrator for the avian industry. His work has been critically acclaimed throughout his career, and he has been the subject of several retrospectives, notably including at the PS1 Contemporary Art Center in New York in 2000.

The following publications are available at http://www.ftn-books.com