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Guido Strazza (1922)

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One of the grand old masters in Italian modern art is Guido Strazza. His works remind me of the ones Hans Harting made during the Sixties, but these are different….more spontaneous and they have a lighter touch. Perhaps this is because his graphic works has a kind of transparency which is rare. thin lines , scattered in a pattern. like a mikado game transformed into art.

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This rare quality was recognized by Willem Sandberg who held an exhibition with Strazza in 1961 at the Stedelijk Museum ( catalogue available at www.ftn-books.com)/

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In the Seventies and early Eighties Strazza was almost forgotten, but lately his works are in fashion again. These are abstract works that tend to Minimalism and perhaps that is the reason why Strazza is becoming more popular by the year. The result several publications and some major exhibitions with his works.

 

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Amédée Cortier (1921-1976)

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This blog on Cortier is long due. I love Cortier and because his publications are scarce I almost forgot about him, but now that I have found the most important Cortier publication on his abstract works it is time to devote a blog to Amédée Cortier.  The book is on his abstract works and even contains a chapter on Cortier written by one of all times best curators …Jan Hoet.

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From 1936 to 1942, Amédée Cortier enjoys his training at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent. On the one hand, his oeuvre consists of paintings that he makes in various media (acrylic, oil, gouache, aquarelle, India ink or bistre, among others) on panel, paper or cardboard. On the other hand, he makes pen drawings, reliefs and models. Around 1950, influenced by the exhibition Le Cercle Artistique (Ghent, 1949), he applies himself to a short-lived geometric-abstract experiment, but decides after this to return to embrace his figurative visual language. He begins with painting rural scenes (1940), still lives and portraits of women (1950), and evolves towards a stark, simplified figurative language in schematic compositions. André Lothe (1885 – 1962) exerts an important influence on him with his Traité de la figure (1950) and Traité du paysage (1939). Around 1964 Cortier begins to paint resolute abstract and from 1966 – 1967 he favours colour over the relations between the forms. The transition to acrylic paint is to be understood in the same context. This medium helps him to heighten the intensity of his colours. His stark works are witness to a sense of natural law, but also leave room for intuition. Ultimately Cortier changes over to monochrome, by which he creates mutually coherent ensembles in the form of diptychs and triptychs. With his reliefs (1968), he evolves from the traditional painting to painting as object. Beginning in the 1970’s his work is completely dominated by colour, built up around a stark composition and a unity between colour and form. He gains public recognition with these works.

Cortier sees his own oeuvre confirmed in the work by the artist Ellsworth Kelly (1923 – 2015). Under the impulse of Peter Struycken (1939) he meets Kelly in 1976. As a member of Het Antenneke, his fascination grows for the Golden Ratio, an important compositional rule in his oeuvre. His friendship with Yves De Smet (1946 – 2004) is of crucial importance for his artistic career. He is not only a like-minded artist friend, but is also an important promoter and organiser of exhibitions dedicated to Cortier, such as Horizonnen & horizontalen (Horizons & horizontals) (1976). Cortier becomes a member of the Ghent group organised by De Smet called Plus-Groep, a collective of Ghent constructivists that are seeking the unity between form and colour. Via Plus-Kern – Centre for Constructive Design, established by De Smet and others in 1969, Cortier is actively promoted. This occurs through the medium of publications such as Plus-Nieuws, though also through participation in international exhibitions. In 1973 he is internationally recognised with the Sikken Prize.

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Władysław Strzemiński (1893-1952)

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I had almost forgotten this great artist until recently I discovered a great monograph on him at the local bookmarket (sold). Just quickly leafing through it i noticed the resemblance with some of the greatest Piet Zwart designs and even, after searching on the internet  I discovered his influence in some recent Japanese designs. His art is truly avant-garde. When you look at Minimal Art from the Sixties and Seventies and the hard edge paintings from the Sixties you can only draw one conclusion. All the great artists from these decades must have known, Władysław Strzemiński and drawn inspiration from his art.

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An excellent biography on the artist can be found here:

https://culture.pl/en/artist/wladyslaw-strzeminski

Władysław Strzemiński (Belarusian: Уладыслаў Страмінскі; 21 November 1893, Minsk – 26 December 1952, Łódź) was a Polish avant-garde painter of international renown.

In 1920 he married Katarzyna Kobro.

In 1922 he moved to Wilno (now Vilnius), and in the following year supported Vytautas Kairiūkštis in creating the first avant-garde art exhibition in what is now the territory of Lithuania (then under Polish rule).

In November 1923 he moved to Warsaw, where with Henryk Berlewi he founded the constructivist group Blok.

During the 1920s he formulated his theory of Unism (Unizm in Polish). His Unistic paintings inspired the unistic musical compositions of the Polish composer Zygmunt Krauze. He is an author of a revolutionary book titled “The theory of vision.” He was co creator of unique avant-garde art collection in Łódź gathered thanks to the enthusiasm of members of the “a.r.” group as Katarzyna Kobro, Henryk Stażewski (the artists) and Julian Przyboś and Jan Brzękowski (the poets).

In postwar Łódź he was an instructor at the Higher School of Plastic Arts and Design .Neoplastic Room in Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź. where one of his students was Halina Ołomucki, survivor of the Nazi concentration camps. His Neoplastic Room was installed in the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź in 1948 but was removed in 1950 as it failed to fit in with the socialist realism aesthetic imposed by Włodzimierz Sokorski, the minister of culture of the Polish United Workers’ Party.

His works have been exhibited in such museums around the world as Centre Pompidou, Museo Reina Sofia Moderna Museet Malmö and Whitechapel Gallery

The following Strzeminski publications are available at http://www.ftn-books.com

 

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Josef Albers silkscreens

A great inspiration for Sol LeWitt and considered by many as one of the greatest artists from the 20th Century. Josef Albers is the artist I am writing about this time. In an earlier blog I explained the importance for Minimal art of Josef Albers but this time the blog is devoted solely to the great original silkscreens I am exclusively offering on eBay. The series of 4 comes from a private collector and is from 1973. The silkscreens are executed on a double sheet of paper and are exquisite in the choice of colours. Albers is the true master of matching the best colours. The composition of HOMAGE TO THE SQUARE is always the same but the choice of colours and size make you look at a different work of art the moment you see it. These original silkscreens are 8.1 x 8.1 inch and now available at eBay’s  all international sites.

 

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Almir Mavignier (1925-2018)

The HOCHSCHUKLE FÜR GESTALTUNG has become over the years a legendary institution and one of its many well-known students was the Brazilian born Almir Mavignier. He attended the school in 1953 and has become part of art history since.

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Friend of Max Bill, witnessing the very early beginnings of the ZERO movement and later becoming one of the most appreciated Poster designers from the 3 decades to follow. He himself was working as a constructivist/minimal artist and that meant he was interested in all artists who were working along the guidelines of the movements. Because of this interest and the resulting friendships, he had a chance to design the posters for many of the artists he met. To name a few….Calderara, Arp, Morellet and Soto….and all of these artists I personally admire very much. This makes the book I now can offer on http://www.ftn-books.com very special for me personally too. A great publication of the Gewerbe Museum Hamburg in cooperation with the German Poster Museum. Great poster designs by Mavignier. btw. …. the site on Mavignier is well worth visiting and can be found here: https://www.mavignier.com

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the Stedelijk Museum Bulletins

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Art & Project was not the only art gallery who published a regular bulletin in the Netherlands. In 3 consecutive decades, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam published their Bulletin series on a regular basis. Their Bulletins were more informative and less a small piece of art. I thought they were less interesting, but now some 15 years later I have become to appreciate these Bulletin publications. Great design, very informative and always “up to date”. Over the decades some very important and highly collectable Bulletins have been published. The series consists over 400 bulletin publications among which are some true classics which are available at ww.ftn-books.com. My thought about the Bulletin series has changed over the years and I think these publications are from an art point of view important. They show the exhibitions which were held over the years and include some of the best art ever. For me the following Bulletins can not be missed in any serious art book collection: Ben, Memphis, Keith Haring on the Velum, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt on his drawings. This is to name just a few……..

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Daphne van Peski (Duijvelshoff)(1942)

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In the beginning, when I started with FTN books I had a hard time to distinguish Wim Crouwel his designs from the ones made by Daphne Duijveshoff. Later the differences became more clear to me. Duijvelshoff even had even more clean designs than Wim Crouwel had. Still, I sometimes make the error to think it is a Crouwel design I am looking at and to discover a few moments later that it is made by Daphne Duijvelshoff. They worked for a very long time together at Total design but she stopped with her design work in 2006. The excellent site on Dutch designers has done a special on her which can be found over here: https://www.dutchgraphicroots.nl/?p=2144

Of course http://www.ftn-books.com has some great Duijvelshoff designs available.

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Over 200 different Art & Project items in store

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It has been almost a decade to collect as many as the 210 different Art & Project items that i currently have for sale. It started when i bought a “lot” of museum catalogues at auction and among theme were some Bulletins by this worldwide known and respected dutch gallery. Not the most famous ones , but still a nice selection with Richard Long and Hamish Fulton. I got focussed on these publications and found some rare ones at reasonable prices in a time that nobody was interested. But the big breakthrough came when i finally was lucky enough to encounter 2 nice collections. One at a local book dealer who wanted a fair price for a selection of 30 Bulletins and the second time was at auction where a lot was not sold and i decided to buy it in the aftersale of the auction house.This last one added over 80 different Art & Project items to my collection and inventory. Just have a look at http://www.ftn-books.com and search for “art & project” and you will be pleasantly surprised with the large selection that i was able to collect for FTN books.

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the 500 first Stedelijk Museum publications…A very important list

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Last Thursday i encountered finally one of the list I was hoping to find for a long time. The list is made in the beginning of the Eighties when interest rose in acquiring and collecting the Stedelijk Museum publications. Since the start in the Mid ’30s from last century, over 1100 publications have been published by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and this list contains the numbers and titles of the first 500 numbered publications. Willem Sandberg, Piet Zwart and Wim Crouwel, 3 of the greatest of Dutch designers all can be found on this list and i noticed of the 500 titles on it I have over 400 currently available at http://www.ftn-books.com

Beside the one on the list, there are of course many others published by the Stedelijk Museum FTN books has available. Take a look, save and share this very important document. the list is in PDF format and can be downloaded with the link below:

sm lijst 1 tm 500

 

 

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Preview for next month

Yesterday I acquired a small collections from the former library of the Rabo art collection. All books in excellent condition and some are quite scarce. Here is a preview of this 30 books collection. If you see something for your personal collection do not hesitate to contact me at ftnbooksandart@gmail.com and inquire after the price.

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