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Tomitaro Nachi (1924-2007)

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Tomitaro Nachi was one of the first japanese artist ever to have an exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum. Wim Crouwel designed the catalogue for his exhibition and what makes it extra special is that the catalogue included a rare and beautiful multiple. There is wonderful short movie about this artist which was made at the time of his exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in 1974.

The catalogue shines. It is like a minimal artist book and reflects the spirit of “Zero” and Kinetic art and was forgotten by most until recently it was sold at a local book auction and fetched a steep price of euro 120,– because it had the original multiple included. www.ftn-books.com has both copies available. The one with and the one without the multiple. Both are worth collecting, but as lng as it is there i would chose the one with the multiple included.

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Piet Mondriaan / Mondrian’s studio

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The studio of Piet Mondrian were works of art of them selves. They acted like a true work “in situ” where every item had its proper place . Because of this, the studio itself became a work of art. This was recognized by many and one of the greatest photographers from last centur even made a series of photo from the Paris studio. The same with the NY studio which was photographed by Arnold Newman.

Kertesz and Newman , two great photographers who realized that Mondrian was a very special painter and made these photographs with one purpose….. so we could see the extraordinary qualities Mondrian had when he approached a painting or an object.

There is onegreat article on Artsy where the studio’s of Mondrian are described.

https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-mondrian-turned-studios-giant-abstract-paintings

There are some excellent publications on Mondrian and his studios available at www.ftn-books.com including a paper model kit

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Gerrit Benner (1897-1981)

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One of my first blogs was devoted to the museum Belvedere where i encountered some wonderful paintings by Gerrit Benner. This blog is solely devoted to Benner because he deserves it. His paintings are among the first abstract paintings which still hold a link with realism in the Netherlands . These paintings are definitely inspired by nature. Skies, meadows and even an abstract cow can be determined in the compositions. Benner is a painter “pur sang” who’s works are rooted in the dutch tradition of abstract paintings. For instance Mondrian used these abstracted landscapes in his own painting from the early 20th century.

on the left a painting by Benner with Red cloud on the right Landscape with Red cloud by Piet Mondriaan

Benner is a great painter who deserves to be known outside the Netherlands and for those visiting the Netherlands. When you visit the Stedelijk, Gemeentemuseum, Belvedere and Museum Twente you surely will encounter a Benner painting in their permanent collections.

There are some very nice Benner publications 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.

Rodin erotic

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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Stang Gubbels …. a dutch designer

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It was at the time Wim van Krimpen was the director for the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag that i met Stang Gubbels. Stang had worked with van Krimpen before on some projects he did with the KUNSTHAL/ Rotterdam. His style and designs are truly original , highly recognizable and together with the designs by Irma Boom and Gracia Lebbink, belons to the best dutch designs produced during the last 2 decades in the Netherlands.

Stang has an excellent internet site which can be reached at www.stang.nl and for those looking for his scarce publications…..www.ftn-boooks.com has two nice STANG titles available.

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William Klein (1928) a master of abstract photography

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I found an excellent biography on Artnet on William Klein, but for me the importance of Klein is the fact that William Klein made a stunning catalogue together with Wim Crouwel for his 1967 exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. The catalogue has some very bold typography and the use of the bright yellow in contrast with the black and white photograph in the back makes it for me a classic. Here is the Artnet bio.

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William Klein is an American artist known for his unconventional style of abstract photography depicting city scenes. Although similar in subject matter to other street photographers such as Diane Arbus and Saul Leiter, as well as fashion photographers Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, Klein’s images break from established modes. “I came from the outside, the rules of photography didn’t interest me. There were things you could do with a camera that you couldn’t do with any other medium—grain, contrast, blur, cock-eyed framing, eliminating or exaggerating grey tones and so on,” he reflected. “I thought it would be good to show what’s possible, to say that this is as valid of a way of using the camera as conventional approaches.” Born on April 19, 1928 in New York, NY, Klein studied painting and worked briefly as Fernand Léger’s assistant in Paris, but never received formal training in photography. His fashion work has been featured prominently in Vogue magazine, and has also been the subject of several iconic photo books, including Life is Good and Good for You In New York (1957) and Tokyo (1964). In the 1980s, he turned to film projects and has produced many memorable documentary and feature films, such as Muhammed Ali, The Greatest (1969). Klein currently lives and works in Paris, France. His works are held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others.

There are more titles on or with contributions by William Klein available at www.ftn-books.com

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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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Walace Berman (1926-1976)

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You have to dig in a little deeper to appreciate the art of Wallace Berman. Wallace Berman a Collage artist who was of great influence to 60’s art in California.

He was an American visual and assemblage artist and  has been called the “father” of assemblage art.

I started to take an interest in Berman when i first acquired an impressive title on Berman at a huge discount at de Slegte bookstores in the Netherlands. They had stacks and stacks of these books , because the Berman ICA exhibition was not popular at all and many of the printed books were unsold. Published in 1992, it is now 25 years ago and has not lost its importance. This is an excellent book on Berman and shows the qualities of Berman as an Underground artist and the publisher of the ground breaking magazine Semina of which only 9 issues were published .

This excellent Berman book which was published with the Berman / ICA Amsterdam exhibition was printed by the best printer (Lecturis), has an excellent design and typography and is considered by me as one of the best exhibition publications in the Netherlands from the 90’s.

 

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Eli Content (1943)

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Eli Content …Born in Switzerland , but living for most of his life in Amsterdam, has become somehow a local known artist. He is world famous in Amsterdam. His art is rooted within the Jewish fate, but apart from that you can look at it without knowing that background and what is left is “pure” abstract painting. His commissions are in many cases religion related . For instance he decorated the Portugese Synagoge in Amsterdam and the titles of his work reflect in many cases his Jewish background.

Eli Content is represented by galerie Onrust in Amsterdam and www.ftn-books.com has one title on Content available.

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Pearl Perlmuter (1915-2008)

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A forgotten artist she is. One  whom i stumbled upon when i listed some of Wessel Couzijn’s publications

https://ftn-blog.com/2018/01/16/wessel-couzijn-ii-now-for-sale/

Pearl Perlmuter (New York, September 23, 1915 – Amsterdam, May 8, 2008) was a Dutch-American sculptor.
Pearl Perlmuter grew as the daughter of orthodox Eastern European Jews in New York City.

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She studied law at Fordham University School of Law and attended evening classes sculptureat the prestigious Art Students League of New York (from 1940 to 1943 by William Zorach and from 1943 to 1945 by Ossip Zadkine).
She made at this time to know the painting of Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, both representatives of the abstract expressionist movement.
In 1945 she met the Dutchman Wessel Couzijn, a Jew who had emigrated to the United States.
He had also registered at the Art Students League.
This meeting led to a marriage between the two in December 1945.
In 1946 Couzijn Wessel and his wife returned to Amsterdam, where they had hoped to build a career, but where it mostly Couzijn was that the orders received.
From 1963 to 1967 she taught at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and from 1977 to 1981 at the Academy of Art and Industry in Enschede.
In 2008 she died at the age of 92.

 

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Publications on Perlmuter are scarce, but www.ftn-books.com has one publication available

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Douglas James Johnson (1940-1998) and Jean Genet.

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This will not be an easy blog and i was in doubt if i should publish it, but these prints are so impressive that i will make an effort.

In 1948 Jean Genet published Funeral Rites. An impressive, erotic, grief stricken, despairing novel on the death of his lover. The young hero  who was shot at the barricades in the uprising of the populace of Paris against the german occupation in August 1944. Irreconcilable contradictions become the poles between which he constructs a vast, centrifugal ritual of Love, Death, ecstasy, horror, beauty, betrayal and despair. Johnson’s pictures are a translation and an expansion of these principal themes in which the love and physical excitement for his death lover remains after his death. The Hitlerian and Nazi imagery is suggested in the prints and is/was always present in the Genet novel and is the background, which together with the male nudity, gives them an uneasy feeling to the spectator. To understand  these prints it is necessary to at least read a short summary of the Genet novel. Now for the technique…. I have seen many prints during my life, but this publication with these 10 prints belongs to the very best of all. All prints are special. Not only because the print quality is excellent, but nearly on every print a special collage is fixed to enhance the print and making it stand out. All prints are numbered and signed from an edition of 80 . Numbered 30/80

On Facebook i found some further information by David Cowper on this edition.

The genesis of this series of silkscreen prints goes back to 1970-72. Johnson, who was living in Tehran at the time, had read Genet’s ‘Funeral Rites’ after a visit to France where he met and talked to Bernard Frechtman, the translator. He was fascinated by the themes of betrayal, depair and love. as well as by the strange technique of the narrative. By 1972 he had completed twelve drawings with collages based on the book. In 1975 after coming to live in France the previous year, Johnson showed them to Genet at the Karl Flinker gallery in Paris. Genet enthusiastically encouraged Johnson to have them printed and in1976 when Rob Jurka of Amsterdam saw them he suggested publishing a series of prints based on the drawings. Johnson started preparing a set of ten plates for the printer and in May 1977 spent a month in Amsterdam with the printer Hans Jansen and completed the first five prints. The last five were completed in september 1977 and the series was first exhibited by Galerie Jurka at the International Contemporary Art Fair ‘FIAC’ in the Grand Palais in Paris. October 1977. (this text was taken from the booklet Definitions of Betrayal Part 1 Funeral Rites) The Prints have also been exhibited at the Schwules Museum in Berlin within the past couple of years.

I will not post any pictures that may offend the readers but for those interested in this very special portfolio by Galerie Jurka from 1977 … here is the link to download the PDF file with the 10 prints.

pdf file : Douglas James Johnson rites b

The portfolio is available at ftn art.