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Stuart Davis(1894-1964)

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Not many Europeans are familiar with the works by Stuart Davis. Davis is for the Americans the equivalent of what matisse is for the Europeans. Of course Matisse is far more known than Davis ever will become, but study his works closely and you can similarities between the appraoch of the composition and the elements within the composition. Sandberg was an admirer so was Gielijn Escher

left Davis/ right Gielijn Escher

 

Rudi Fuchs wrote an excellent text on Stuart Davis in the Stedelijk Museum Bulletin from 1998 . The publication is available at www.ftn-books.com. It explains why Davis works are lesser known , but for me the conclusion was …please give me more. These works are fascinating and a joy to look at.

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The article below comes from Wikipedia:

Stuart Davis, (born December 7, 1894, PhiladelphiaPennsylvania, U.S.—died June 24, 1964, New York, New York), American abstract artist whose idiosyncratic Cubist paintings of urban landscapes presaged the use of commercial art and advertising by Pop artists of the 1960s.

Davis grew up in an artistic environment. His father was a graphic artist and art editor of a Philadelphia newspaper, where he worked with William J. Glackens, George Luks, John Sloan, and Everett Shinn, all later famous as members of the Ashcan school of American painting. His parents encouraged his interest in art, and at age 16 he quit high school to study painting in New York City under Robert Henri, leader of the group known as The Eight (later absorbed into the Ashcan school), whose teaching emphasized the importance of taking subject matter from urban life.

By 1913 Davis was competent enough to show five watercolours in the Armory Show. This was the first large exhibit in the United States of avant-garde European art, and the event marked a turning point in his career. Over the next few years he strove to achieve the compositional order, nonimitative colour, and shallow picture space characteristic of the new European painting. He began to experiment with collage (a recently invented technique of making compositions from bits of paper and objects glued to a surface) and sometimes varied the usual process by making paintings of his collages, as in Lucky Strike (1921), finally arriving at a completely nonillusionistic style, which culminated in his Egg Beater series of 1927–30.

In 1928 Davis traveled to France, where he spent a year painting relatively realistic street scenes in Paris. Back in the United States during the Great Depression of the 1930s, he developed a new style based on the rhythmic contrast between geometric areas of flat colour and objects clearly defined in linear perspective. During these years, Davis was an outspoken opponent of fascism and, in 1938, became the national chairman of the American Artists’ Congress.

After the mid-1940s, Davis produced many of his most important works, such as The Mellow Pad(1945–51) and Little Giant Still Life (1950). These meticulously planned and executed paintings possess a wit and gaiety in contrast to Abstract Expressionism, the then-dominant style of art. Davis was inspired by taxis, storefronts, and neon signs. The dissonant colours and lively, repetitive rhythms in his work can be seen as visual analogs to jazz music, which he loved.

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Lawrence Weiner (1942) + discount

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Lawrence Weiner and the Netherlands is a combination which now exists for almost 50 years. His connections with dutch directors and curators is legendary and he has made several special projects with them in dutch. Weiner is considered as a post minimal artist and one of the founders of Conceptual art and that is the reason why his works blend so well within the collections of the more important dutch museum. The van Abbemuseum, Stedelijk and Gemeentemuseum have all works by Weiner in their collections.

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But Weiner is much more than a conceptual artist. He is a book designer and poet at the same time  and these little sketches with words can be blown up into facades and objects with words. One of the most memorable to me was the facade at the Ljubljana Modern Art museum with a Weiner object on one of the outside museum walls. Impredssive, recognizable. So to celebrate the longtime history that Lawrence Weiner has with the Netherlands there is a discount this week of 10%  on all items at www.ftn-books.com . use the discountcode : LawrenceWeiner10 and receive a 10% discount on all items including some marvelous Lawrence Weiner publications.

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Sigfrido Martin Begue (1959-2010)

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Mix Gino Severini with Hergé and put in some of the great poster art of the 20th century and you will have an idea of the works of Sigfrido Martin Begue. He is the third of the lesser known artists i would like to propose to you.

The first time i heard about Begue was when he was having an exhibition at the Living Room. I did not see the exhibition myself, but years later i acquired the catalogue for my inventory and saw for the first time why thsi artist is so attractive to me.

It is is this mix of the absurd and the comic like style i like so much. Just take a look at these 2 examples and you know exactly what i am talking about.

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Marcel Mariën (1920–1993)

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Marcel Mariën was a Belgian artist, he was born in 1920 in Antwerp and died in 1993 in Brussels. During his childhood, Marcel Mariën faced big difficulties at school since he attended a school where the classes were imparted in Flemish. When he turned 15, he joined, as an apprentice, the atelier of a photographer who taught him all the foundations of photography. He joined in parallel the Superior Popular School for the workers, which led him to discover Rene Magritte’s work. A year later, he became interested in Surrealist paintings and started to write poetry. In 1937, Marcel Mariën went to Brussels to met Rene Magritte, Paul Colinet, Louis Scutenaire, Irene Hamoir and Paul Nouge. He participated for the first time in a Surrealist group exhibition, where he exposed his first object “l’Introuvable” that he created from his own broken glasses. On his return from his military service, he worked in the collective invention of Magritte and Ubac. During the war, Marcel Mariën helped healing the wounded, and then left to Dunkirk and Berck where he was taken prisoner. He was then sent to the concentration camp of Gorlitz until 1941. On his return to Brussels, he met Christian Dotremont and his wife Elisabeth. He founded the Editions “l’Aiguille Aimantee” and published several books. He participated with Scrutenaire and Nouge in the creation of the titles of Magritte’s books. In the beginning of the 40s,he made several trips to Paris, illegally transporting paintings by famous painters such as Picasso, Leger, Chirico and Renoir. Marcel published several books including the first biography of Magritte and participated in conferences about surrealism. In 1948, He settled in Brussels and lived from the profit of his books and from typing works, later on he started working on the “Silver Ocean” cargo sailing from Normandy to the French West Indies. Marcel Mariën met his wife Jane Graverol during Magritte’s first exhibition and with her he founded a communist newspaper they called ” Les Levres Nues”. Despite various deceptions, he managed to create several films including the movie “L’Imitation du Cinema” with Tom Gutt. In 1963, Marcel Mariën left to the United States.Where he worked multiple jobs.The following year, he left to Japan and then Hong Kong. He worked several months in Beijing as a proofreader of the propaganda Newspaper “China under construction” before leaving again to Europe in 1965. He came back to Belgium and published several text of Paul Nouge and Magritte. In 1967, Marcel Mariën exhibited his first collages and some objects. In 1973, he had to go in front of the justice for his past collaboration with the Nazis having participated in the creation of Leon Degrelle’s journal, but he was found innocent. In 1979, Marcel Mariën published a reference book about the history of surrealism in France. He published as well the correspondence of Scutenaire.

(the text above comes from Artsper)

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

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Anton Pieck …de NEDERLANDEN

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Readers who know something about dutch illustrators most know the name Anton Pieck.

Pieck became famous by designing the Fairy Tale park of the original DE EFTELING amusement park. for which he designed the caracters and secenery. Beside de Efteling he is very well known in the Netherlands for his Romantic Dickensian illustrations of which many aere/are used as Christmas cards. But there is also a more serious “romantic” artist in Anton Pieck and this shows best in his books he illustrated on Amsterdam and specially the book DE NEDERLANDEN. It is the more romantic , but still original part of the Netherlands he shows in his drawings etchinsg and paintings. The book de NEDERLANDEN is available at www.ftn-books.com and personalluy i think this title belongs to the best of the books illustrated by Anton Pieck.

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My personal bookcase

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I have had questions in the past….what is your personal interest in books?…. and…..you must have a very nice collection after so many years of being a bookseller. These questions and remarks can be answered simply. I have a large inventory of about 10.000 books that are for sale including some very nice and hard to find titles, but every book in my personal bookcase has a small story attached to it. There are books of exhibitions being held at the Gemeentemuseum while i was a publisher/bookseller at that museum and some were given to me by artists i collect.

About half of the books in my personal bookcase are very small publications related to the artists in our art collection and the remainder is about the artists i like very much and admire. I can say that none of them is very valuable, but for me these books are valuable and important, because they belong to the publication history of the artists i admire. Curious?….just “zoom in” on the picture and discover that of many of these titles i have multiple copies available at www.ftn-books.com. So make this your personal interactive blog and find/discover the titles at www.ftn-books.com

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Joris Minne (1897-1988)

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Together with Cantre and Masereel , Joris Minnen is for personnally one of the best woodblock artists from the 20th century. His compositions and subjects are a symbiosis of Art Deco design and abstraction. The result is a highly authentic and personal oeuvre of mainly woodblock prints

He was born in Ostend. His parents moved to Antwerp soon after he was born. In Antwerp he completed middle school and then went to the higher school (ateneum) where one of his teachers was August Borms. During the weekend, he attended art classes at the Berchem Academy of Fine Arts.

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During World War I Minne took a job at the Antwerp city Welfare Department. Here he came into contact with Roger Avermaete who was departmental head. Roger Avermaete had a circle of artistic friends who decided to found a magazine. The magazine ‘Lumière’ was first published in Antwerp in August 1919.[3] The magazine was an artistic and literary journal published in French. Lumière’s title was a reference to the magazine Clarté, that was published in Paris by Henri Barbusse. The principal five artists who illustrated the text and the column headings were Frans Masereel, Jan Frans Cantré, Jozef Cantré, Henri van Straten and Joris Minne. They became known as ‘De Vijf’ or ‘Les Cinq’ (‘The Five’). The magazine ‘Lumière’ was a key force in generating renewed interest in wood engraving in Belgium. The five artists in ‘De Vijf’ group were instrumental in popularizing the art of wood, copper and linoleum engraving and introducing Expressionism in early 20th-century Belgium.

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

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Peter Pontiac (1951-2015)….Infanticide

 

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This is the farewell exhibition of the Groninger Stripmuseum . It stops after this appealing exhibition in which comic artist show that beside their talents as comic artists they are in many cases also serious and very accomplished painters. Here is the painting that struck me most. It is INFANTICIDE by the late Peter Pontiac.

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I am an admirer of Peter Pontiac for a long time now and this painting shows in an excellent way that there is more to his art than his stand alone comics. www.ftn-books.com has some nice Peter Pontiac items and limited editions available.

 

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Saul Steinberg (1914-1999)

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….and now for the other Steinberg…SAUL STEINBERG.

First i must say that writing a blog on Steinberg, can not do justice to the excellent site , which the Steinberg foundation has constructed on the life, times and art of Saul Steinberg. You can visit the site at : http://saulsteinbergfoundation.org

But some personal notes on the artist. Saul Steinberg is a very well known artist in Europe. He had his exhibitions at the Maeght galleries in the Sixties and Seventies and both the Stedelijk Museum and the Boymans van Beuningen museum in the Netherlands organized exhibitions on the artist. In the beginning i always had considered Steinberg to be an illustrator and not the artist he later became to me. Later i realized to look at his art in a way that his drawings were meant to be seen. A citation from his site makes this clear :

Saul Steinberg defined drawing as “a way of reasoning on paper,” and he remained committed to the act of drawing. Throughout his long career, he used drawing to think about the semantics of art, reconfiguring stylistic signs into a new language suited to the fabricated temper of modern life. Sometimes with affection, sometimes with irony, but always with virtuoso mastery, Saul Steinberg peeled back the carefully wrought masks of 20th-century civilization.

This is an artist to be discovered by a far larger audience. At this moment i think he is the lesser of both Steinberg’s  i recently wrote a blog on, but perhaps time will prove me wrong and i will think of his art just the way around in a few years. www.ftn-books.com has some nice and rare Saul Steinberg publications available.

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Eduard Steinberg (1937-2012)

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Eduard Steinberg is the first Steinberg i write a blog about. He is far lesser known than his brother in art Saul Steinberg, but for me personally he is the better artist. Where Saul Steiberg leans towards art & illustration, Eduard Steinberg is the abstract artist who “invents” and impresses me much more.

A creator of geometrical abstract paintings, Eduard Steinberg was born into the family of poet, translator, and artist A.A. Steinberg.
Shortly after his birth, his father was arrested by the Stalin regime and thrown into prison. Upon his release, the family settled in Tarusa and Eduard helped his parents in their pursuits, though he had no professional artistic education. He lived in Tarusa from 1957 to 1961, teaching himself to paint by making copies of still lives, portraits and landscape paintings of Tarusa.
Moving to Moscow in 1962, he actively participated in the nonconformist movement.
In the 1970s Steinberg began creating his own version of geometrical abstraction (meta-geometry), where a plastic construction is seen as a consequence of a spiritual impulse.

I did not see the exhibition he had at the Josef Albers Museum and think it is a pity, because exhibitions on Eduard Steinberg are rare occasions. Still www.ftn-books.com has the signed exhibition poster of this important Steinberg exhibition.

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