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Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart (1899-1962)

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Beside the spectacular constructivist paintings Friedrich Vordemberg-Gildewart made, there is another aspect in his art life what made him special and important. FVG was the first artist who made abstract paintings throughout his entire career. At first glance his work is related to Mondriaan, de Stijl and Malewich, but look at it more careful and you notice that there is mus more space within the paintings. A way of painting which makes the painting seem less crowded. It is the way i like a painting to intrigue

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Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart was born in Osnabrück, Germany and studied architecture, interior design and sculpture at Hanover School of Art and the Technical College, Hanover. In 1924 he formed the abstract art group Gruppe K in Hanover with Hans Nitzschke and joined Der Sturm in Berlin. After meeting Theo van Doesburg, Kurt Schwitters and Hans Arp, he became a member of De Stijl in 1925. Together with Kurt Schwitters and Carl Buchheister he formed the ‘Abstrakten Hannover’ group in 1927. He was a member of a number of other artistic groups including: the Cercle et Carré, 1930, Paris and was a founding member of Abstraction-Création (1931), also in Paris. In 1937, in Munich, the Nazi regime exposed his works in the infamous Degenerate Art exhibition. Most of his works were confiscated and he was forced to leave Germany for the Netherlands.

there is a very special Bottrop publication from 1980 available at http://www.ftn-books.com, which contains 3 silkscreen prints by FVG.

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Piet Dirkx weekly

An Arti Capelli invitation ( ca. 1990). A home made special with a color photograph underneath the see through sheet with text.

dirkx capelli

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Cor van Dijk (1952)

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It took me along time to fianally appreciate the sculptures by van Dijk. At first i thought them to be too much copies of Judd sculptures, but i discovered them to be completely different. Why….surface , composition and construction differ from the one by Donald Judd. Still i consider his sculptures to be Minimal art and not constructivist.

 

He was  born in 1952 in Pernis, is a Dutch artist. The steel sculptures of Cor van Dijk are characterised by clear lines and geometric shapes. From first stages of their design, the material used for these works – steel – and their realisation are inextricably linked. To create his work, the artist uses separate sheets of solid steel, which he joins together with extreme precision. Van Dijk bases the dimensions of his sculptures on the standard gauge of the sheet metal. As a result, the mill scale found on the rolled steel is left intact in the finished works.

Viewing Van Dijk’s sculptures, one’s eyes constantly move across their surface and one’s attention keeps shifting from areas of open space to sections that take up space. The seams between the different segments play a key role in the works, since they lend a sense of scale to the mass of steel and define its different volumes. The artist strives to show interior space – its layout, possible compartments, the spaces between the segments and the massive quality of the steel itself. The different dimensions all interact with one another. Ultimately, this is also what gives the sculptures their specific presence: the precise handling of volumes and the perfect connection of individual sections in space. Each newly-realised concept is intended to bring even greater clarity to the context of the preceding work – while also pointing ahead, suggesting new concepts that are still waiting to be developed.

Van Dijk’s most recent sculptures comprise a single segment. The location of the open space and its dimensions determine the scale of the work as a whole. The result is an object in which mass (matter) and open space interact more intensively than ever before. In technical terms, the steel used for the sculptures shows no traces of machining or processing. Thanks to their mass, the open space and the interaction of these two elements, these tranquil objects seem to speak directly to the viewer.

www.ftn-books.com has the monograph on van Dijk now for sale

cor van dijk

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Wim Crouwel (continued )

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Early September 2019 i recommended the Mr Gridnik exhibition which would open shortly  after in the Stedelijk Museum. Just a few days before opening Mr.  Gridnik/ Wim Crouwel died  and he never witnessed his tribute at the Stedelijk. Since i have not found the time to go to this exhibition myself, but now that i finally have the opportunity and started planning my visit, i found out that all rooms are photographed and can be visited on line. It is a worthy tribute to one of the greatest designers from the last decade, but could have been much more complete. It focusses for 90% on the Stedelijk Museum publications, but it is still a very impressive sight to see so many great designs collected, but the real surprise is that i noticed that i have almost all of the books on show in my inventory. (www.ftn-books.com)

For those living too far away to visit the exhibition….here is the direct link to the rooms and showcases with Crouwel material:

https://www.stedelijk.nl/nl/crouwel-vitrines

and another excellent site with 19 photographs:

http://dutchdesigndaily.com/nl/nieuw/wim-crouwel-mr-gridnik/

 

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the Stuyvesant Foundation

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I have a weakness for the Stuyvesant Foundatio. The foundation was founded by Alexander Orlow of Turmac company who had the brilliant idea to bring great art works among his factory workers by placing the art in the middle of the production. This meant that many large sized works were purchased over a period of 30 years. Zero, Cobra en abstract expressionism being the most important among these works.  For most of the collection they had one thing in common. Their size was large and larger, since the works had to be seen by the people who worked a fair distance from them.

The following article appeared in the Telegraph a few days before the first auction was being held. In total there were 3 auctions. Personally i thought the first was exceptional, the second very good and the third was filled with the leftovers. I was lucky to buy one of the best Gerard Verdijk paintings ever in the 2nd auction at AAG. My luck….it is too large for many, so no bids were placed after the initial price set by the auctioneer.

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The cream of one of Europe’s most highly regarded corporate art collections is to be dispersed by Sotheby’s next week in spite of efforts by civil authorities and art experts to preserve it and turn it into a museum. Known as the Peter Stuyvesant collection, it originated in the late 1950’s when Alexander Orlow, managing director of Turmac Tobacco, which made the popular Peter Stuyvesant brand of cigarettes in its factory in Zevenaar, Holland, decided his workforce needed something to cheer them up. “However complicated the operations of a machine may look, it soon becomes monotonous to a factory worker,” he said.

His solution was to buy art – preferably big, colourful abstract paintings – and in 1960 commissioned 13 artists from different European countries to make works on the theme of “joie de vivre” to hang in the factory’s production halls. The experiment was so popular that in the following year he invited William Sandberg, formerly the director of Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, to expand the collection. Over the next 50 years, the collection grew under the supervision of a series of former Dutch museum directors.

However, in 2000, Turmac was swallowed up by the British American Tobacco Company (BAT), and the art collection renamed the BAT Artventure collection. But there was not to be much in the way of artistic venture in store. In June of 2006 it was announced that the Zevenaar factory would close with the loss of 570 jobs, so that European production could be concentrated in Germany and Poland. That left over 1,400 works in the art collection valued at some 23 million pounds looking for a new home.

Jan de Ruiter, the mayor of Zevenaar, supported by Martijn Sanders, chairman of the Advisory Committee on the Future of the Stedelijk Museum, looked for a way to buy the collection and keep it locally, possibly as a wing of the museum. But “BAT did not really want to make a deal,” said de Ruiter. It went to Sotheby’s instead.

Sotheby’s has a good track record in handling corporate art collections. Back in 1989 it handled the disposal of the British Rail Pension Fund collection and the $93 million (£62.5 million) Reader’s Digest collection. Since then we’ve seen a series of high profile sales for IBM, the 7-Eleven photo collection, the HSBC collection of 19th century pictures, not to mention a certain £65 million sculpture by Giacometti from the German Commerzbank last month.

The company clearly sets some store by advising corporations on the acquisition and disposal of art, setting up a department just to deal with that in New York 20 years ago, and another in London last year. Saul Ingram, who runs the London department, says most companies sell to buy new work or channel profits into broader cultural activities. The Stuyesant/BAT collection is different because it was site specific, and without the factory and its workers, its purpose has gone.

Its value, though, is still substantial. The 163 works to be sold by Sotheby’s Amsterdam next week are estimated to fetch between £3.6 million and £4.6 million, with further sales planned in the future. Avant garde European groups from the 50s and 60s such as CoBrA, the abstract expressionist group based around Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam, and Zero, the Dusseldorf based group who worked with experimental materials such as fire, nails and papier mache, are to the fore.

The Zero artists, Gunther Uecker and Jan Schoonhoven, who starred at Sotheby’s recent Lenz collection sale last month, are expected to do exceptionally well. A rarity is Lily ou Tony (1965), one of Nicki de St Phalle’s first Nana sculptures that celebrate womanhood. Though fragile, made of tissue and wire mesh, it carries a £180,000 to £270,000 estimate. The most significant example of British art is a 1958 Alan Davie painting that has been undervalued at £27,000 to £36,000.

In addition to the stylish brand name Stuyvesant gave to the world of smoking, it also achieved brand recognition in the art world, especially in Britain, where, during the sixties, the Stuyvesant Foundation sponsored the Whitechapel Gallery’s trendsetting The New Generation exhibition, which included David Hockney and Bridget Riley, and also the talent spotting Young Contemporaries, much of which was immortalised in the Tate Gallery’s Recent British Art show of 1967. The separate collection of British art that was formed by the Stuyvesant Foundation between 1964 and 1967 was eventually sold in the late 1980s and established what were then huge prices for Davie, Riley, and others of that generation. The last sale, held at Bonhams in 1989, was a complete sell out. Next week will see how well the Stuyvesant brand has survived.

http://www.ftn-books.com has nearly all  dutch publications on the Stuyvesant collection available.

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Ben Akkerman (1920-2010)

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I have always been an admirer of the works by Ben Akkerman. The first time i saw a painting by Akkerman was at the Centraal Museum and since i have been interested in his works. The paintings and drawings i could not afford so instead i started to collect Ben Akkerman publications. The result is that i have collected myself a small but important Akkerman library and the years made me find some duplicates which i now have put up for sale at www.ftn-books.com

Ben Akkerman was , the same as Jan Schoonhoven, an employee for the municipality of Enschede and he painted in the evening in his spare time. Called a ‘hardcore abstract ” painter i personally share his paintings among the Minimal paintings from that era. These are very delicate compositions that are pure minimal art.

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The Gemeentemuseum used the “diamond” by Ben Akkerman for almost 10 years in its letters and invitations, but now that the name has changed in the far less appealing name ” Kunstmuseum Den Haag” they left the beautiful yellow diamond shaped logo for one i do not like at all. To commemorate the diamond they collected 30 Ben Akkerman paintings and made a wonderful presentation  to honor Ben Akkerman and its “diamond”.

 

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John Baldessari dies at the age of 88

A curious thing happened. This morning i received in my mailbox an article by “Mutual Art”.  I could really understnad why it is important for some to know the development “money wise” of an artist, but it would have been so much more graceful to have remembered Baldessari for the excellent conceptual artist he was:

In Numbers: John Baldessari

The art world lost one of its most beloved characters last week, when John Baldessari passed away on January 2nd at the age of 88. Baldessari can be described in a great many ways— versatile, funny, iconoclastic, influential, pioneering— and his artistic career, which stretched over some six decades, saw some unforgettable moments, such as his Cremation Project (1970), in which he burnt all the paintings he made between 1953 and 1966, subsequently baking the ashes into cookies.

But beneath his humorous surface— he himself said that humor was not his aim— lay great depth and strength of character. It is doubtful whether conceptual art and photography would enjoy their same status as modes of art today without Baldessari. He endured much criticism in the beginning of his career, when abstract art still reigned supreme, but he embraced that criticism to push Conceptualism even further. Time and progress were on his side, however, and questions he posed about meaning and authorship ring as true today, as they did in the ’60s. His death is greatly mourned by the entirety of the art world. 

Change in Total Sales, # of Lots Offered and Sold: John Baldessari

Taking a look at Baldessari’s auction performance, it is likely that his career in the secondary market is only in its beginnings. To date, 2014 was his outstanding year, during which his personal record lot Commissioned Painting: A Painting By Edgar Transue, 1969 sold for 2,517,000 USD at Sotheby’s New York. A drop in offered lots in subsequent years (except 2019 when he sold 72 lots, 7 more than in 2014) didn’t see him approach the 2014 total high of 9,106,891 USD again. Many of his highest grossing works sold in what is now the decade before the last (the 2000s).

Comparison of Artwork Prices Across Price Points: John Baldessari

The lion’s share of his lots appearing at auction, 58.12%, belong to the bottom tier of below $10K, while most of the value which make up his total sales value stems from works valued between $100K – $500K, 69.31%.  Whether we will see some of Baldessari’s works appear at auction to outdo his performance to date or not is irrelevant, however, as his contribution to art will remain much more valuable than can be expressed in monetary terms.

Change in Total Sales, # of Lots Offered and Sold: John Baldessari

Taking a look at Baldessari’s auction performance, it is likely that his career in the secondary market is only in its beginnings. To date, 2014 was his outstanding year, during which his personal record lot Commissioned Painting: A Painting By Edgar Transue, 1969 sold for 2,517,000 USD at Sotheby’s New York. A drop in offered lots in subsequent years (except 2019 when he sold 72 lots, 7 more than in 2014) didn’t see him approach the 2014 total high of 9,106,891 USD again. Many of his highest grossing works sold in what is now the decade before the last (the 2000s).

Comparison of Artwork Prices Across Price Points: John Baldessari

The lion’s share of his lots appearing at auction, 58.12%, belong to the bottom tier of below $10K, while most of the value which make up his total sales value stems from works valued between $100K – $500K, 69.31%.  Whether we will see some of Baldessari’s works appear at auction to outdo his performance to date or not is irrelevant, however, as his contribution to art will remain much more valuable than can be expressed in monetary terms.

 

instead, read the article which was

published a few days ago in the New York Times, much better and certainly more graceful to remember this great artist.

http://www.ftn-books.com has some very importnat Baldessari publications available

 

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Jaap Berghuis (1945-2005)

 

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To be honest …i lost track of Jaap Berghuis in the last decades. Berghuis was educated at Ateliers 63 and one of the most promising young artists in the Seventies, but somehow after his shows at the gallery Art & Project, the collectors lost interest in his works and to me it now seems that this was not just.

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Recently i encountered a truly wonderful painting at auction (i was outbid) and the amazing Art & Project BULLETIN publications that Berghuis made for van Ravesteijn and van Beijeren in their series of Bulletin publications. It shows now that Berghuis may have been ahead of his time since his painting now look as fresh as it must have been 40 years ago.

berghuis bulletin 130 b

www.ftn-books.com has the Art & Project Bulletin 77, 79, 118 and 130 available

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David Tremlett at Coazollo ( continued)

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Last April/May we visited the region around Castiglione Tinella again and this time the weather was better to make some very nice photographs of the David Tremlett painted church at Coazollo. The difference this time sunny with some beautiful clouds and i remembered to make this time a nice panorama shot. Here are the photographs of this visit.

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An important Antonio Calderara portfolio

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Recently i acquired for my inventory one of the most important of all Calderara portfolio’s published just a few years before his death. It is the Tempo Spazio Luce portfolio published by the recently closed Galerie Nouvelles Images in 1975. The edition size, only 40 copies. 18 serigraphs….all signed with initials and numbered. Condition mint. I consider this period as Calderara’s best. The prints are as delicate as most of his prints from this period and these are not the small prints that are offered elsewhere but the large printed sheets that are 50 x 50 cm.

A beautiful and impressive set held togethjer in a special box, which is now 44 years and a rare offer for the Calderara fan. Box is Near Mint+, but all prints are in pristine /mint condition.

calderara ni c

calderara ni b