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Massimo Rao

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Just a simple title for a blog on a painter who had a very short career, but build a strong following of admirers. It was 2008 that  i visited New York and entered the CFM gallery and spoke the owner Neil Zukerman about our art collections. I learned that he had bought the very first Rao i had owned and had traded it in for the much larger IL MARINAIO CHE AVEVA ALL ‘UOVO E OLIO.

The one i originally had in my collection, was still one of the favorite paintings of Mr. Zukerman, but the encounter of this passionate collector and the story on this small Massimo Rao painting  i once owned, made the world look so very small. If he still has it….i do not know….., but in the meantime the painting in our collection is depicted in 3 Massimo Rao books and was on show at the Panorama Museum in 2004.

Since it has been quiet around Rao, no special exhibitions….. but a growing following and a special site on the painter who unfortunately died much too young ( 1950-1996), but left us so many great works of art.    http://www.massimorao.it/massimo-rao/

The books i have on Rao are growing more popular each year and it looks like most are exported to the US. So my guess is the important collectors are in the US and not in Europe.

Maybe it is an idea to organize a large retrospective in the US?

wilfried

www.ftn-books.com

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Loustal….the crossover between comics and art.

From the early eighties on i a am an admirer of the french comic book artist…. Jacques de Loustal, better known as Loustal. He invented a comic book art form which is based on illustrations in which a complete scene/story is drawn within one drawing and with these illustrations he tells a complete story and challenges your imagination. Now his books are published all over the world. In the Netherlands they are mainly published by Oog & Blik, but in his early days his books and prints were almost all published in his native country France. One of the books that really stands out is WHAT HE EXPECTED OF HER. an adult view on marriage and relations. A highly recommended title of this fascinating artist. Available at www.ftn-books.com

 

wilfried

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the Rietveld Schröderhuis

address :

Prins Hendriklaan 50, 3583 EP Utrecht, the Netherlands

Yes, you still can see and visit this iconic architectural masterpiece which was designed by Gerrit Rietveld at the time he was a “de Stijl” member. Together with Piet Mondriaan and Theo van Doesburg he was was one of the founders of the DE STIJL mouvement in the Netherlands.

Soon Theo van Doesburg dropped out of this mouvement because he found himself restricted by the horizontal and vertical lines the mouvement prescribed. He wanted to use the Diagonal line too, but Rietveld believed in these horizontal and vertical lines and used them together with the primary colors he loved so much and draw with them one of the most beautiful small buildings from the last century. When you visit Utrecht, visit the Schroderhuis too. BTW. the house got its name from the first inhabitant of the house. She commissioned Rietveld to build it for her. Truus Schröder-Schräder lived in it for her entire life.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice books on the Rietveld husi and a kit from which you can rebuild the house yourself in a much smaller scale.

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Edward Kienholz and the Beanery

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At the time the Stedelijk Museum reopened again after its long time restoration, I noticed the return of one of my favorites within its collection…..the Beanery. The Beanery is a one on one replica of the local bar Kienholz visited frequently and stands out for me, because of its originality.  It is almost like a surrealist environment in which heads are replaced with clocks.

Kienholz makes environments which you can enter and experience and this Beanery from 1965 is one of his best. Because of the regular wear and tear over the years it had to be restored. There is a nice video on You Tube which gives information on the restauration and shows the importance of this Kienholz work. Lately Kienholz made another project in the Netherlands called HOERENGRACHT of which the catalogue is also available at www.ftn-books.com

 

This is the text the Stedelijk Museum published on the Beanery:

ABOUT THE BEANERY

Edward Kienholz (1927–1994) made The Beanery in 1965, basing it on his local bar, The Original Beanery on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles. It took Kienholz six months to consolidate and replicate the bar’s content in an artwork. Everything in the installation is life size: from the figures –  inspired by Kienholz’s friends and acquaintances – to the bar, bottles of beer and spirits, ash trays, cash register, telephone book, and jukebox. Even the photos on the wall duplicate those of The Original Beanery.

Remarkably, Kienholz gave each person in his bar a clock for a face, a reference to his fascination with time. Only the barman, modeled after Barney, the bar-owner at that time, has a face. Smelling and sounding like an actual bar, the installation is an evocative sensory experience that visitors are allowed to enter. The typical bar smell is characteristic for the way Kienholz work. The artist made a special recipe: the smell has to be assembled from beer, rancid fat, urine, mothballs and cigarette ash. The scent paste has been made multiple times by the restoration team of the Stedelijk Museum (the urine has been replaced by ammoniac). By coating the work with a synthetic resin the artist instills a sense of mortality and transience, which is amplified by the brown color of the interior, with its evocations of age and decay.

The Beanery is also something of a time capsule. The sign warning “faggots stay out” clearly conveys the intolerant attitudes of American society at the time, while the headlines of the 1964 newspaper in a newspaper dispenser at the door indicate that the United States is on the brink of war with Vietnam. Kienholz came up with the idea of creating his own version of the Beanery in 1958 but commenced work on August 28, 1964, upon reading the headline Children Kill Children in Vietnam Riots while visiting the real bar. The harsh contrast between the “real time” represented by the newspaper headline and the “surreal time” of the bar’s customers impelled Kienholz to start work on the tableau.

wilfried

www.ftn-books.com

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Borek Sipek..Alterego multiple

A few days ago while i was photographing one of the pieces that is for sale i noticed the little edition size of one of the Sipek’s i have in my collection. Only 125 copies were made / signed and sold of this beautiful and symbolic Borek Sipek. A bronze holder is placed between 2 glass elements and makes the perfect divider between the two.

It stands over 40 cm. in height and on top there is a Venetian glass. A rare beauty which fits perfect in the editions Sipek made in the early nineties . Because of the exhibitions which were held at gallery Steltman ,. Sipek developed a loyal and strong following so many of the rare Sipek pieces were sold in the Netherlands. Since this is published in an edition it is less expensive, but still is a highly original and collectable Borek Sipek “glass”.

For more information and other Sipek books. Please contact me at www.ftn-books.com

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Eja Siepman van den Berg…a studio visit

 

A few month ago i contacted Eja Siepman van den Berg and inquired after a small statue she had made in an edition. The first contact resulted in an invitation to come and visit her in her studio in Beetsterzwaag, but because of circumstances it was impossible for us to make an appointment to visit.

Time passes and circumstances change so we finally had a chance to take some days off and decided to go to Friesland and yes …there is also the studio of Eja. We contacted each other again and found a time to visit on the 10th of august. I really looked forward to visit this fascinating artist because i never visited a real sculptors studio.

The morning of the 10th it was raining again and we run towards the entrance where we were met by Eja Siepman van den Berg. Turned to the left and walked right into the studio gallery where there was a special exhibition by a Chinese artist Xinjian Lu ( blog in a few days ), together with the statues by Eja. The abstraction of the large paintings by Xinjiang with the bronzes by Eja worked extremely well. Each showed its qualities together with the works by the other and nowhere a work dominated . I took some pictures which show just what i mean. This was a perfect setting for both artists.

After showing us the gallery and the works which were on show we soon chose our favorites and it appeared that the more abstraction was within the sculpture the more we admired it. Not that the full body sculptures were not appealing, but we thought that the sculptures with the focus on a specific body part were more abstract and had more strength

The next room, where we drank coffee, was the artist studio. Decorated with a magnificent photograph by Eja on the wall together with a work by JCJ van der Heijden.

I never knew she was a gifted photographer as well , but she explained that she made photographs during the time she had a shoulder injury and it was almost impossible for her to sculpt. The Large JCJ van der Heijden was the remainder of an exhibition which was one time held in the gallery. An extremely organized studio, with a special spot with mirrors to make the sculptures. The one that she was busy with was modelled after a photograph and in most cases Eja uses photographs to model after. Eja explained that the editions of the sculptures is protected by french law in which is stated that the maximum number of sculptures which is allowed to be made from one cast is eight. Above this number one speaks of an edition which of course can be limited too.

It takes an extremely lot of work before the final result can be shown in the gallery or museum and one can only admire the patience any sculptor must have before the final result can be shown. Sculptors must be a different kind of artist breed and one can only have the greatest respect for the path they have chosen to show their art to us…. their public.

 

wilfried

Books available on www.ftn-books.com

site for Eja Siepman van den Berg : http://www.ejasiepmanvandenberg.nl

http://www.hetdepot.nl

 

 

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Helmut Newton….only in Taschen publications?

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The story is known to every book collector. Some 10 years ago Benedikt Taschen had the idea to publish the largest and heaviest book on Helmut Newton ever published. Asked Philippe Starck to design a stand for the book , set the edition size……. and sold all books over some years. Now and then these books surface and draw lots of interest. Antiquarian booksellers are trying to sell these for USD. 10.000 or even more. Taschen produced 3 years ago a much smaller reedition of the book for euro 99.00 with the same photographs within this title, but because of the much better price they could sell it again and i predict that the same title will be presented in a few years within a bargain edition ( printed in China ;-)). What makes this so special…..i really do not know . I consider Taschen as one of the best art publishers in the world , but with such large editions they are hardly interesting for the serious collector. I love the photography of Helmut Newton, but would only use the Taschen books to get an excellent overview of his works. If you are a book collector it is better to focus on the gallery and museum publications from which the Repertinum/ Salzburg one is maybe the best from the last decade.

wilfried

 

www.ftn-books.com

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the ultimate Auke de Vries book

A week ago i found in a small bookstore a remainder of this excellent book on the works by Auke de Vries. A book i must share with you, because it not only is the largest, but also by far the best publication on Auke de Vries. In over 400 pages you will see the best of over 5 decades of this artist.

For all Auke de Vries fans, this is not to be missed and i have only 2 copies available at:

www.ftn-books.com

wilfried

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M.C. Escher….not only prints

Maurits Cornelis Escher was one of the most gifted pupils of Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita (1868-1944). His teacher died at the end of WWII in a Nazi concentration camp and was commemorated by Escher in a text which was published in a catalogue on the art of Jessurun de Mesquita and Mendes da Costa  ( 1863-1939) who had an exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam right after the war to honor them both.

This is believed to be the first printed text by Escher. The catalogue with this text is still available at www.ftn-books.com

and is one of the first to be published by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam after WWII. Since, Escher has had many other publications with text and of course prints , but the text on his former teacher is special and touching. The design of the book is done by Willem Sandberg himself and all these ingredients put together in one publication makes it very special indeed. I very much like the works by Jessurun de Mesquita and admire the artist he was. His woodcuts are fabulous and when you admire the Escher prints, do not forget that perhaps his teacher Jessurun de Mesquita was even a greater artist, but unfortunately has not become as famous as his pupil. ( later this month a blog on Jessurun de Mesquita with a special offer).

wilfried

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Günter Tuzina …not a minimal artist, but minimalistic art.

 

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The second time i met Günter Tuzina was with his exhibition in 1992 in The Haags Gemeentemuseum and noticed that he still followed his own artistic path. Making variations on his windows with crossed lines in color schemes which were very recognizable and typical for the works by Tuzina. At the time Tuzina executed a walldrawing for one of the staircases in the Gemeentmuseum which is beside the LeWitt, Toroni and Forg staircase drawings still on show. I think Tuzina is one of those artists you can see work of and immediately know it is by Tuzina. A few years ago i was impressed by a work which was for sale at Christie’s but unfortunately it was out of my budget and sold for twice+ the estimation, but one can get lucky too, because a little before that i noticed these 2 beautiful drawings on the local book market, which were made in a series of 55 for the Bebert publishing house. Both are signed and numbered and all the drawing on each of them is done by hand and all have a different background color. These are from the same edition of 55 copies but the background colors vary and therefore these are unique and…..these beauties are now for sale at

www.ftn-books.com

It is hard to find good publications on this artist but ftn-books also has some nice titles available.

wilfried