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Kenneth Noland (1924-2010)

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I love color field painting and what i think interesting about the works by Kenneth Noland is that he applied the color theories of Josef Albers to his own art.

Noland developed a signature style based on simplified abstract forms, including targets, chevrons, and stripes. Noland’s paintings are characterized by strikingly minimalist compositions of shape and color. In this regard, Noland’s art has influenced a wide range of contemporary abstractionists who continue to experiment with highly simplified forms and pure saturated color. The beginning of Minimalism is not far away in these works.

Noland applied Josef Albers’s theory of “the interaction of colors” to his own compositions, which explore the relationships between contrasting or complementary colors; painted in thin yet opaque layers, each tone reveals its particular characteristic weight, density, and transparency.

In the late 1960s, Noland’s approach to Color Field Painting grew even more reductive, but no less bold. Having run through multiple permutations of both the target and chevron format for the time being, Noland switched to using rectangular canvases and horizontal lines in a new series he called Stripes (1967-70). In his Targets and Chevrons, the artist tended to juxtapose color bands of equal width and to impose some form of axial symmetry on the canvas, leaving portions of unprimed canvas blank in contrast to the color. None of these features occur in Noland’s Stripes. Instead, Noland began playing with scale, color, and form on new levels. He reduced his compositions to a basic formula: parallel horizontal lines of varying widths and colors, running along the entire width of the canvas.

An interesting artist of whom not many publications are available in Europe, still there are some available at www.ftn-books.com

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Ewerdt Hilgemann (1938)

 

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For me Hilgemann was one of the first Zero artists i learned to appreciate, but there is so  much more to Hilgemann as an artist. Here is an excellent article i found on Hilgemann  at the Borzo site / www.borzo.com

Borzo still sells his works and perhaps now is right the time  for Hilgemann.

A child of about six in the war, Ewerdt Hilgemann searches through the rubble of the bombed ruins of his hometown Dortmund for shrapnel. He finds them interesting, exciting too, these sharp-edged metal splinters.

Forty years later, and now an artist, Hilgemann works in the marble quarries of Carrara (1975-1985). A truck transports a perfectly sawn one and a half metre cube of marble that he has carefully polished, to the top and then with a thunderous crash sends it toppling off the steep mountainside. And a marble sphere of a similar size, polished to a perfect sheen, has explosives inserted and is then blown up.

Both conceptual ‘performances’ are recorded on film. The artist creates perfect forms, which are then deformed using forces of nature: a sort of reverse creative process.

Thirty years later, in the summer of 2014, Hilgemann exhibits his Magnum Opus. In response to an invitation from the City of New York he places a series of implosion sculptures on Park Avenue. ‘Dancers’, ‘Triples, ’Flowers’ and ‘Cubes’, six metres high, gleaming in the sun, the deformed surfaces of these Titans of steel distort and reflect the overwhelming architecture of the buildings on each side of Park Avenue.

From his earliest days in a devastated Dortmund to the Park Avenue manifestation in New York, Hilgemann has been consistent in his fascination and his art. In his own words: “To deform a perfect shape without me hammering on it”.

From the start the cube and the square are his best-loved shapes. Hilgemann studies and comes to understand these solid forms. He learns it at the Saarbrucken Art Academy under his tutor Oskar Holweck. (In 1958 Holweck had joined the Zero movement, founded that year by Mack and Piene). Here the young art student Hilgemann learns to respect material and form in their most elementary states. Plasticity is achieved through the effect of light on the surface and the – mathematic – interventions performed thereon by the artist.

In 1970 Hilgemann and his wife Antoinette settle in Gorinchem and here a close friendship develops with Ad Dekkers, Marinus Boezem and herman de vries. In these days Gorinchem is apparently a hotbed for avant-garde art. Irritated – provoked even – by a conservative artistic climate in this small town on the River Merwede, these artists discover common ground for their minimalistic and conceptual ideas.

Their haven at the time is Riekje Swart’s legendary Amsterdam gallery. Hilgemann exhibits his white objects oriented according to mathematical studies here from 1966.

In 1973 the four artist friends – and their partners! – take the initiative for a much discussed and now legendary symposium, whereby the town wants to be a centre for “examining the position of the visual arts in our society”. Fifteen European artists stay together in Gorinchem for six weeks. These include now famous artists such as Kenneth Martin, Morellet, Panamarenko, Pohl, Prantl and Winiarski. Exceptional works of art, lectures and performances fill the town. For Hilgemann ‘Gorinchem’ is an extraordinarily significant period in which his art reaches full maturity and he also establishes his international orientation.

Hilgemann produces his first sculpture created through implosion in 1984 for the exhibition “Beelden aan de Linge” by collector Piet Cleveringa from the neighbouring town of Acquoy. He moves to Amsterdam the same year and from that moment on this visual language of imploded constructions will always typify the art of the ‘air-smith’ Ewerdt Hilgemann.

m has some Hilgemann publications available.

 

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Blinky Palermo (1943-1977)

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Decades ahead of his time, the art of Blink Palermo has proven to be “classic”. The use of color and the forms he useed makes him stand out from his contemporary artists and in the decades after his death this art form developed into an art that i personally am a great fan of. Look at Piet Dirkx, Richter, Forg and many others who must be inspired by Blinky Palermo. His works are a combinaton of Constructivist and Minimal paintingsPalermo was born as Peter Schwarze, but took the name Blinky Palermo as an artist name at the time he studied with Joseph Beuys at the Dusseldorfer Kunstakademie. In 1973 he moved to New York where he stayed and worked until his death in 1977.

In the short time Blinky Palermo lived and worked as an artist he did not receive the recognition he deserved, but soon after his deat . Retrospective exhibition were being held and showed the importance of Palermo. Some of these publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

among these venues are Moma, Hirschhorn, Mocba, Lacma and Serpentine galeries. These are not the least venues to be presented as an artist and i predict that the works by Blinky Palermo prove to be highly original and groundbreaking in the years to come.

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Art prices… gallery versus auction

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Today i added to my inventory a book by Auke de Vries for his Museum Wiesbaden exhibition from 1990. i knew the title and had sold copies before, but what made this one special is that on ca. 10 of the pages yellow post-it’s were fixed with gallery prices in guilders. I leafed through the book and was surprised to find the prices to be as steep as 50.000 guilders. It was not long ago that i attended 2 auctions where several small and larger sculptures by Auke de Vries were sold , fetching prices between euro 2500 and 4000 for a larger sculpture.

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I compared these with the 1990 gallery prices within the Wiesbaden catalogue and found that prices had devaluated with over 60% when compared with the actual auction prices including premium in 2017. Of course the gallery fees are  between 40 and 50%, but when you consider that money has devaluated too in these past two and a half decades the devaluation of Modern Art of a very good artist like Auke de Vries is over 80% compared with the original gallery price. Should i then still buy art?……YES! because you can have tremendous pleasure from it. You search for and find good art and enjoy it at home when you bought or rent it and yes… you support the artist with your buy, but if you ask me , should i buy art as an investment? my advise would be …be careful for the artist you select, because most of them will not be worth very much after a few decades.

But when you are patient, that means a period of 20+ years, you will discover that works by the artist you admire start to appear at auction and are much more affordable and even can be bought by most collectors for as little as a few hundred euro.  I can give you an example of a great Arie van Geest which recently was added to our collection for an extremely fair amount.

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You only learn of the auction records by artist like Warhol, Koons and Hirst, but you can ask yourself…are these works by these artists really that special or are they a marketing product… a true hype? if i did not know who the artist is and  did not know the value of a work …would i buy it ? In the case of Auke de Vries i personally would do so at the price level that i recently experienced at auction, but for the prices in the Wiesbaden catalogue i would “pass”. Art should not be bought as an investment and i dare say that the great collectors in the world never have bought art for its value, but because they admire the artist and his or her works and you should do the same, because there is still some great art to be found and bought at fair prices. www.ftn-blog.com and www.ftn-books.com have art for sale which is published in edition and is still affordable.

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Don Judd at the van Abbemuseum in 1970

This was after the presentation at the Haags Gemeentemuseum ( 1968) the 2nd exhibition within a short period of time Donald Judd received in the Netherlands. This time ( 1970) in the van Abbemuseum curated by Jean Leering, but what makes this for me even more special are 2 reasons.

The first is …i had never found the Judd catalogue before. I knew it existed , but never one was offered anywhere and secondly the design was done by one of the greats in dutch graphic design …Jan van Toorn.

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And ….now i have one! it was hidden between a lot of books , but i found an excellent copy. What makes it even more special is that the cover is executed in gold and i believe that the design is done by Judd himself and executed in silkscreen. In those days editions where rarely more than 1000 copies and my guess is this edition is even less. So there you are…finally at www.ftn-books.com this rare Donald Judd / Don Judd for sale. It is one of the rare occasions that you can offer a truly rare publications and this one certainly is.

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Kenneth Martin (1905-1984)

 

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Kenneth Martin was for me one of the grand old masters of Constructivism. Outside England hardly known, but considered by many of great influence and importance. His best works for me are his prints in which he excels. His wife Mary was a gifted artist too and from both www.ftn-books.com has some nice publications. I only know of one exhibition outside Great Britain, which is the Bottrop exhibition but when you see one announced , i strongly recommend a visit to discover yourself the importance of Kenneth Martin.

 

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Francois Morellet (1926-2016) and the van Abbemuseum catalogue from 1971

 

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Several reasons why this catalogue is importand. First of all …this is one of the first Morellet catalogues published outside France. In 1971 Morellet was invited for a LICHTKUNST exhibition at the van Abbemuseum and Jan van Toorn was commissioned to design the catalogue with this exhibition. van Toorn decided for the Local printer LECTURIS ( still one of the very best printers in the Netherlands) and included within the catalogue multiple special prints after the large silkscreens by Morellet.

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Making it this way more like an artist book than a simple exhibition catalogue. This made the book so special that it is arguably the best catalogue ever published with the works by Morellet.

 

Since, Morellet is one of the most appreciated and valued artist in the Kinetic and Minimal Art scenes and the catalogue is one which is sought after and collected by many admirers. The catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com:

https://ftn-books.com/products/abbemuseum-francois-morellet-1971-nm

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Donald Judd at the van Abbemuseum

Rudi Fuchs was the admirer and curator who convinced Donald Judd to have a large retrospective at the van Abbemuseum. Judd had his entrance into the dutch Museum scene with Enno Develing who had organized, with all important minimal art artists, exhibitions at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in the Sixties . Judd was one of them and since the popularity of Minimal Art in the Netherlands grew steadily. The van Abbemuseum made an exhibition with Judd in 1987, after which exhibitions another one with Judd, Fuchs and Jitta was held on the prints by Donald Judd at the Gemeentemuseum. It was one of the last exhibitions Rudi Fuchs curated for the van Abbemuseum before he switched to the Gemeentemuseum as a director and made this print exhibition. Fuchs was a great fan, because together with the print exhibition he ordered furniture, desks and even a complete parquet floor all done by Judd of which only the floor remains at the Escher Museum at the Paleis Lange Voorhout location. The rest “disappeared” , was damaged,  or was sold during the last 2 decades.

The blog is to point out that this is an important catalogue which is now available at www.ftn-books.com together with some other publications. As mentioned …Enno Develing wast the first European curator who presented the Minimal Art movement and his artists at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. Here is the extremely important catalogue of this exhibition which i gladly make available for my readers. Click the MINIMAL ART link below and read the PDF version of this rare and very important catalogue.

MINIMAL ART

 

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Haus Konstruktiv – Zurich- Suisse

Museum Haus Konstruktiv – the Foundation for Constructive and Concrete Art

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It was 2 months ago that i visited the museum HAUS KONSTRUKTIV. At first a little disappointed but the Graevenitz exhibition made the visit worthwhile . Personally i think it is importnat that such a small part of the modern art scene has an excellent platform in which special exhibitions can be held.

The Haus Konstruktiv is located in one of the most distinctive icons of Zurich’s industrial architecture, providing a space for concrete art.

The museum is dedicated to the exploration of concrete, constructive and conceptual art. The Museum Haus Konstruktiv focuses on making it part of a living dialog with international trends in contemporary art.

Over the five floors of the former Selnau electricity sub-station, visitors discover works of art in the context of their historical background through temporary exhibitions and collection presentations.  Also on permanent display are treasures from the museum’s own collection, the legendary “Rockefeller Dining Room” by the Swiss artist Fritz Glarner. Beside the special exhibitions the Haus Konstruktiv has an excellent exhibition program of which some publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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( to be continued )

 

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Wim Crouwel / Total Design- 20 jaar verzamelen / Stedelijk Museum, 1984

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Followers of this blog know of my special interest in the publications of the Stedelijk Museum. I have many titles avaialable and ftn-books.com is one of the first sources that is consulted when it comes to publications of and on the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Yet…. one learns every day, even when you have so many catalogues by the Stedelijk Museum available as i do. It has been years ago that i last saw this catalogue which was published by the Stedelijk in 1984 which gives the best and complete overview of their collecting in the period 1963-1984.

Why is this important? Personally i think that this is the period in which the SM made their best and most important purchases. How about important acquisitions like the ones by Kelly, Dubuffet, LeWitt, de Kooning , Mangold , Lichtenstein and Warhol. Just a few names that belong to the most famous ones, but among the hundreds of these acquisitions there is so much quality art acquired that only with these acquisitions one can fill an entire collection and become  with this collection one of the most important Modern Art Museums in the world. The book was compiled by Joosten and designed by Total Design/ Wim Crouwel, which makes it even more worthwhile collecting . It is now available at www.ftn-book.com

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