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Felix Vallotton (1865-1925)

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Felix Valotton is without a doubt one of those less familiar names in Modern Art, but still he is very important for the development of modern Art as we know it, because when you look at his works more closely you can discover the fundaments of abstraction.

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In 1893, he became a member of Les Nabis, a semi-secret, semi-mystical group of young artists, mostly from the Academie Julian, which included Pierre Bonnard, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Maurice Denis, and Édouard Vuillard, with whom Vallotton was to form a lifelong friendship. While the Nabis shared certain common ideas and goals, their styles were quite different and personal. While he was a member of the Nabis, he kept his distance; his jocular title among the Nabis was “The Foreign Nabi”, [10] Vallotton’s paintings in this period reflected the style of his woodcuts, with flat areas of color, hard edges, and simplification of detail. His subjects included genre scenes, portraits and nudes. Examples of his Nabi style are the deliberately awkward Bathers on a Summer Evening (1892–93), now in the Kunsthaus Zürich, and the symbolist Moonlight(1895), in the Musée d’Orsay.

His paintings began to be noticed by the public and critics; Bathers on a Summer Evening, presented at the Salon des Indépendents, was met with harsh criticism and laughter.  But they also woodcuts also attracted considerable and growing attention and clients, and he became financially secure. Between 1893 and 1897, he received many commissions for illustrations from notable French newspapers and magazines, including La Revue Blanche, and from foreign art publications, including The Chap-Book of Chicago. He also made woodcuts for the covers of theater programs and book illustrations. One of his prominent patrons was Thadée Natanson, the publisher of the Revue Blanche, and his wife Misia, who commissioned many important decorative works from the Nabis. Through the Natansons Vallotton was introduced to the avant-garde elite of Paris, including Stéphane Mallarmé, Marcel Proust, Eric Satie, and Claude Debussy.

During the Nabi period, he also produced a remarkable series of woodcuts. His woodcut subjects included domestic scenes, bathing women, portrait heads, and several images of street crowds and demonstrations—notably, several scenes of police attacking anarchists. He usually depicted types rather than individuals, eschewed the expression of strong emotion, and “fuse[d] a graphic wit with an acerbic if not ironic humor”. Vallotton’s graphic art reached its highest development in Intimités (Intimacies), a series of ten interiors published in 1898 by the Revue Blanche, which deal with tension between men and women. Vallotton’s woodcuts were widely disseminated in periodicals and books in Europe as well as in the United States, and have been suggested as a significant influence on the graphic art of Edvard Munch, Aubrey Beardsley, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. In 1898, he produced one of his most important series of woodcuts,

By 1900, the Nabis had drifted apart. One source of the division was the Dreyfus affair, the case of a Jewish army officer falsely accused of aiding the Germans. The Nabis were divided, with Vallotton passionately defending Dreyfus. He produced a series of satirical woodcuts on the affair, including The age of the Newspaper,which were published on the first page of Le Cri de Paris on January 23, 1898, at the height of the affair.

Another major event during this period was his marriage to Gabrielle Rodrigues-Hénriques, a upper middle class member of the Paris artistic and social elite. The union also brought to his household three children from her previous marriage. After a brief honeymoon in Switzerland, they moved to a large apartment on near the Gare Saint-Lazare train station. He also established a solid relationship with the Bernheim family and their gallery, which presented a special exhibition devoted the Nabis, including ten of his works. The marriage brought him financial security, and he gradually abandoned woodcuts as his main source of income. Thereafter he devoted his attention almost entirely to painting. www. ftn-books.com has some titles on vallotton available.

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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.

weiner sm a

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Floris Arntzenius (1864-1925)

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Floris Arntzenius is one of those painters who can be called a dutch impressionist. His touch is not as sunny as the French impressionists, but more subdued and influenced by weather and seasons in the Netherlands, making his paintings less bright and cheerfull. Still his depicting of daily life and townscapes makes his work of a rare quality. His painting can be compared with that of Jan Toorop, but where Toorop changed his style for several times during his life, Arntzenius stayed true to classic dutch impressionist scenes.

left Arntzenius / right Toorop

 

The Gemeentmuseum Den Haag has some very nice Arntzenius paintings in its collection and has published several catalogues over the years of which some are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Jean-Gabriel Domergue (1889-1962)

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France has had its share of society painters and i f ever there was one who came after the flood of great names who build a career in making portraits of wealthy women,  it must have been Domergue. He started his career in 1911 after he had finished his art studies at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts. Onwards he specialized in makeing portraits of Parisian women. Some people even say that this is how the French Pin Up was invented. His technique is something between impressionism and the style of Matisse.

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His portraits are highly recognizable and the artistic appreciation and also the value of his works are starting to grow. This making him an artist for the future. The importance of Domergue is not only his figure studies , but also the works he has done as a fashion designer. The clothes he designed for Paul Poiret are considered as true classics. www.ftn-books.com has some nice vintage 60’s cataloges of the artist available.

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New site for FTN books and discount code

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It was a necessary step to make the site more accessible, so i changed the lay-out made it much more clear for all visitors to find their way among the 8000+ items that are for sale at www.ftn-books.com.

The result a clean and pleasing site in a blue and creme color scheme. Pleasing to the eye, with a great search engine to find those titltes you are looking for . Please take a look at www.ftn-books.com and when you order use the discount code: FTNnew (10% discount on all items), which is valid until the 6th of February 2019.

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Felicien Rops (1833-1898)

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A true artist of the FIN DUS SIECLE. On a peer with Toulouse Lautrec and exercising his art on the edge of society. Where Toulouse Lautrec found his inspiration in cafes and brothels, Rops was more of an erotic caricaturist who was not a great fan of religion and the church. In many cases he offended the church in making drawings with a less pious christ,

but he was a master in drawing and made drawings that had two layers. The first was the masterful drawing, the second underlying layer was its erotic contents.

His drawings were forbidden for a very long time , but nowadays his drawings are recognized as true pieces of art and mainly in Belgium Rops has received many a retrospective exhibition of which some of the publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Josef Albers and his Christmas card from 1952

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On this Christmas eve some thoughts by Josef Albers :

Wenn ich male
sehe und denke ich zunächst – Farbe

Und zumeist Farbe als Bewegung

Nicht als Begleitung
von Form, die seitwärts bewegt,
nur seitwärts verbleibt

Sondern als Farbe in dauernder innerer Bewegung

Nicht nur in Interaktion und Interdependenz
mit Nachbarfarben,
verbunden wie unverbunden

Sondern in Aggression – zum wie vom Beschauer
in direktem frontalen Uns-Anschauen

Und näher betrachtet,
als ein Atem und Pulsieren – in der Farbe

When I paint
I think and see
first and most – color
but color as motion

Color not only accompanying
form of lateral extension
and after being moved
remaining arrested

But of perpetual inner movement
as aggression – to and from the spectator
besides interaction an interdependence
with shape and hue and light

Color in a direct and frontal focus
and when closely felt
as a breathing and pulsating
– from within

Josef Albers

The card below was the original Josef Albers Christmas card from 1952

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Unfortunately this card is NOT available at www.ftn-books.com, but many other Albers item are available. a Merry Xmas from Wilfried van den Elshout and FTN books

 

 

 

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Albert Marquet (1875-1947)

 

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Albert Marquet is the next stage in Impressionism, which is of course Fauvisme of which mouvement he was one of the most important contributors. It took me a very long time to finally see  “live” a painting by Marquet. It was in the “Monet to Matisse” exhibition at the Haags Gemeentemuseum . The museum had the highlights from the Pushkin museum on loan for a short period. The exhibition drew record numbers of visitors ( almost 250.000 came to visit) and among the paintings on loan there were 2 Marquet paintings of which one was my personal favorite.

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The painting shows the river Seine and in a fog the silhouette of the Notre Dame on Ile Saint Louis can be seen. It is a magical painting , just a little black, some grey lines   and some white  makes one of the best and most beautiful Fauve paintings i had ever seen. In the morning without the visitors crowding the rooms of the museum, you could visit the exhibition before its opening. It was quiet then and every time i saw the painting i was impressed. As a book dealer i learned that Marquet was not unknown in the dutch art and collectors scene, because several publications were published of which some are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Adolphe Monticelli ( 1824-1886) and Benno Wissing

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Why a blog on Monticelli? Two simple reasons. Monticelli was one of the great inspiration sources for the Impressionists and specially Vincent van Gogh was a great admirer and because of this connection two of the large museums in the Netherlands held exhibitions in the Fifties and Sixties. The Boymans van Beuningen was one of them and held a retrospective exhibition in 1959 of which the catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

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It is this appreciation of Monticelli’s art and the connection with van Gogh that some of the museums over here have Monticelli’s in their collections. I know that Kroller Muller, Gemeentemuseum, Boymans and the Stedelijk all have Monticelli’s in their collections. Personally i think it is time again for a re appreciation of this great painter who’s works are timeless and in so many cases a source of inspiration for the Impressionists. I started this blog on Monticelli because today i bought a poster for the 1959 Boymans exhibitions. It is in excellent B- condition and i consider this to be one of the best Benno Wissing made for the Boymans museum during the Fifties.

MONTICELLI aa

 

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Hendrik Jan Wolter (1873-1952)

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Hendrik Jan Wolter is not on show in many Museum collections, however his works appear frequently at auctions in the Netherlands. It took at least 20 years of auctioning, but now his works fetch average to good prices ( 1000-5000 euro) and deservedly so, because according to many his impressionist works belong to the best impressionist works made in the Netherlands in the 20th century. he knew Theo van Rijsselberghe, Seurat and Signac and was greatly influencedx by all 3 without becoming a pointilist “pur sang” his works are more a cross between the pointillists and impressionists meeting with Matisse.

Here are some examples of his works:

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Boats in sorts and kinds were his passion, because on the majority of his paintings you will encounter boats. A fascinating artist who becomes increasingly important in the Netherlands. www.ftn-books.com has some nice Hendrik Jan Wolter publications available.