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George Grosz ….the artist reporter in the “Interbellum”

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The period between the two World Wars in the 20th century is called the Interbellum. George Grosz lived and worked in those years and reported in print and drawings the daily and night life of the people surrounding him. Brothels, whores, artists, friends….. everybody worth as a subject was drawn or painted by him. These works show daily life on the fringes of society. Rough, sensual and sometimes even ugly, but always fascinating.

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Gallery van Voorst van Beest presented a nice selection of these drawings 2 decades ago and published a beautiful catalogue with it. ( see pictures ), but beside this one there are many more Grosz books to be found at www.ftn-books.com

 

wilfried

 

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Walt Disney in Art

Yesterday, the post on Wim Delvoye made me think about the influence Walt Disney had on art during the last 50 years. The influence must be extremely large because many of the great Modern artists from the last half century used Disney icons for their art. Wim Delvoye made me think about this relation because his signature is crafted after the original Walt Disney signature. But there is also Jeff Koons who uses Snow White and Mickey Mouse.

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The skull that is in the picture is a combination between 2 iconic elements in art. The skull by Damien Hirst and the ears of Mickey Mouse. Kitsch, art and a laugh combined in one work…..beautiful ;-). Andy Warhol began making silkscreened prints of Mickey Mouse , when he realized that beside the celebrities he used for his silkscreens he made in the factory, Mickey Mouse was such a celebrity too and needed to be depicted in a large silkscreen to honor him.

Just about a year ago the art world was surprised with a complete new amusement park. Dismaland…. a Disney inspired park by the famous Banksy in which he uses Disney themes and make these his own by making his own interpretation on these classic Disney themes and gives comments on the world around him.

Finally Keith Haring…..Haring uses the Mickey Mouse ears almost every time he makes a selfportrait. Showing that his art is rooted within the comic art of Walt Disney….great art by great artists and all inspired by the master of animation and comics…Walt Disney.

 

 

wilfried / www. ftn-books.com

 

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Wim Delvoye and Jeff Koons….

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Who is the better artist?… I truly do not know.

The last couple of days not a daily post except for the Piet Dirkx daily. We had a long weekend near Colmar in France and on the way i visited the Museum of Modern Art in Luxembourg, where a special exhibition on Wim Delvoye is being held. I do not know much about Wim Delvoye , but the instant i entered the exhibition  i was reminded of Jeff Koons.  When you enter the building , the first you see is his shit producing machine “CLOACA”. It is the center piece of the exhibition and all the exhibition rooms surrounding it show some different aspects of his art. Statues, sculpted tractor tires, ceramics….Delvoye is an artist who masters many disciplines and one can only be amazed (and smile) when you see his works. Whenever you can visit this compact museum try to visit it with this Delvoye exhibition, in all other cases  visit it for the architecture of the building by Pei ( the architect who designed the pyramid entrance at the Louvre ) and go to the first floor where there is a chapel by Wim Delvoye.

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It belongs to the permanent collection and together with the CLOACA machine these alone were worth the visit.

Delvoye publications are a hard find, but Jeff Koons you will encounter at www.ftn-books.com

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Victor Vasarely

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It must have been the early 70’s. There was an art dealer in the Hoogstraat in The Hague, who had in his window 2 silkscreen prints by Vasarely. I thought them wonderful, but lost interest in them because the edition size was 100 numbered /signed copies. At that moment i never had heard of art published in an edition. Nowadays it is common practice. Artists make a living out of these editions and people can purchase an affordable original piece of art. I should have bought them at that time, but time passes and one forgets about these. All of Vasarely’s works are practically forgotten in the 3 decades to follow, but now in the present days, Vasarely works are sought after and well worth collecting…even the one’s which are published in editions of over 100 copies.

Vasarely has become one of the leading artists from the Geometric Abstract art/ optical art movement and the interest in his works is well deserved. With a highly original point of view and approach to Modern Art he has made many beautiful and impressive works of art and you can encounter them in all the large museums of the world.

When you travel Budapest do not forget to visit the Vasarely museum on the outskirts of this town. ( half an hour by tram ). It is not a museum as we nowadays have grown used to, but the art by Vasarely within this “basic” Museum is fantastic and the best OP ART you will seen gathered within one place .

It even has in a showcase one of the Kriwin catalogues which is depicted below.

It is nice to know that the Vasarely catalogue published by the Stedelijk Museum has on the backside of the cover an original relief print in black and white. (above)

wilfried

www.ftn-books.comwww.ftn-books.com

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Ellsworth Kelly

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The opening exhibition at the Museum Voorlinden will be an Ellsworth Kelly exhibition. I read this morning, that there are some very special drawings of the MOMA on loan within the exhibition. An exchange granted because the Museum Voorlinden lent their best of their Broodthaers drawings to the MOMA.

The weather is extremely nice in the Netherlands the last couple of days . If the weather stays like this and if we have some time we certainly go to visit the museum and their gardens by Piet Oudolf in the coming weeks and look for ourselves at the Kelly exhibition. I know that i have met him once when he was in the Netherlands for the opening of the Spiritual in Art exhibition. He even signed a catalogue for me, but i cannot remember the person, except that this was a friendly man. Since, i only know his works from the catalogues within my inventory and the occasional painting on show in the permanent collections of the larger museums in Europe.

This will be a great occasion to finally see more of one of the best Modern Artists from the last century.

( to be continued )

wilfried

www.ftn-books.comwww.ftn-books.com

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Pablo Picasso and Guernica

 

schermafbeelding-2016-09-08-om-19-32-09Personally i am not a great fan of Picasso. I understand his importance for Modern Art, but somehow he never appealed to me very much. One exception . In 1937 Picasso painted GUERNICA. The first time i saw this extremely large painting was in 1977 when i visited New York with my father. It was breathtaking!

So much to see in this painting. I shows the city of Guernica while it was bombarded by the Condor legion of the Luftwaffe. Pure panic and chaos on every painted part of the painting. This is a painting you must see in reality, because the sheer size is breathtaking already. It was one memory i brought home with me.

About 12 years ago the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag had the studies for Guernica in a special show and even on these much smaller studies you can see the struggle of the painter and the power of the subject.

A few years ago we went to the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid and saw this masterpiece again. The same experience…still breathtaking.

When you look at this painting you can see that it has influenced many painters. . For one, there is a dutch painter  ” Willy Boers” who borrowed the theme with the horse and made his own version of chaos and despair. The painting is called “La Quintessence” dated 1947/1948, 10 years after Guernicia was painted and is depicted in DOORBRAAK VAN DE MODERNE KUNST IN NEDERLAND. Can you spot the similarities too?

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wilfried

www.ftn-books.com

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Antoine Pevsner and the World Forum in Den Haag.

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The question is….why hide a great sculpture behind a sea of 200 flags. The sculpture by Pevsner ( Yes, it is in the picture above…..look closely) was placed on this location shortly after the opening of the Congresgebouw. A modern building with an annex tower designed by JJP Oud. This tower was for a very long time the only high rise building in Den Haag. This all located in the neighborhood of the Gemeentemuseum designed by Berlage. The entrance of the Congresgebouw has a tile painting by Karel Appel.

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In the front, in the pond, a beautiful sculpture by Auke de Vreis has been placed some 20 years ago. Excellent works of art that add quality to the buildings and its surrounding.

Now some years ago somebody from the local administration had the “excellent idea” to place 200 flags, 1 for each nation in the world to enhance the entrance to the world forum……wrong idea…..

The flags have to be replaced frequently because of the wear through wind and sun. Costs approx. 2 x 200 x 100 euro = 40.000 euro each year. So please remove the flags and put a spotlight on this great Pevsner that really adds quality to this surrounding.

wilfried

www.ftn-books.com

 

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Marthe Wery ( 1930-2005)

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A long time ago….in 1986….i met one of the friendliest artist I have ever encountered. Marthe Wery. She held her first exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum . Later , in 2011, there was a retrospective in the same museum, but with the 1986 one i first encountered a “minimal” artist, who i personally met and who’s work i really liked. It was not the easiest kind of work, but it was the first time i  was impressed by an installation of an artist who took an entire room in the museum and transformed it into a work of art. One was filled with standing blue panels and another one with red ones. We spoke each other about these works and she signed the catalogue i had bought . A deep green cover on one of the nicest catalogues i had sold during my time as a bookseller for the Gemeentemuseum. Fold out pages like the panels within the exhibition, excellent print quality.

Together with Walter Leblanc, Marthe Wery is one of my favorite Belgian artists. Belgium has produced so many great names in the last 5 decades. Cordier, Magritte, Delvaux, Bury, Verheyen, Peirre and personally i think you must add the name of Marthe Wery to that list. A highly original artist and a friendly lady who made very impressive art works.

 

catalogue available at www.ftn-books.com

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Richard Serra….The Matter of Time

Yesterday, when i researched for the blog on Museum  Voorlinden, i noticed that one of the rooms of the museum contains a Richard Serra. There are several in the Netherland to be found. Kroller Muller, Stedelijk Museum, van Abbemuseum  and Boymans van Beuningen all have their Serra’s, but these are “peanuts” compared with The MATTER OF TIME in the Guggenheim /Bilbao. This is by far the ultimate Richard Serra. Placed on the surface of about 3 football fields and with a maximum height of approx. 24 feet, this is really huge. Not only huge but also very impressive. You walk around and through it and when you are surrounded by the high steel walls, it feels like a maze.

So start with the local smaller ones , work your way up to the midsize Serra’s and finally go to Bilbao see the Guggenheim Museum by Frank Gehry, enjoy the tapas in the old market square and finalize your visit by loosing yourself in one of the great ( certainly the greatest in size) sculptures of Modern Times. The matter of Time by Richard Serra.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice books on Serra available.

This is the text from the official site of the Guggenheim Museum on this great sculpture by Richard Serra:

Richard Serra

The Matter of Time

Richard Serra has long been acclaimed for his challenging and innovative work. As an emerging artist in the early 1960s, Serra helped change the nature of artistic production. Along with the Minimalist artists of his generation, he turned to unconventional, industrial materials and accentuated the physical properties of his work. Freed from the traditional pedestal or base and introduced into the real space of the viewer, sculpture took on a new relationship to the spectator, whose experience of an object became crucial to its meaning. Viewers were encouraged to move around—and sometimes on, in, and through—the work and encounter it from multiple perspectives. Over the years Serra has expanded his spatial and temporal approach to sculpture and has focused primarily on large-scale, site-specific works that create dialogue with a particular architectural, urban, or landscape setting.

Snake, a work made for the inauguration of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, consists of three enormous, serpentine ribbons of hot-rolled steel that are permanently installed in the museum’s largest gallery. The two tilted, snaking passages capture a rare sense of motion and instability. Snake is now joined by seven commissioned works-creating the installation entitled The Matter of Time—Serra’s most complete rumination on the physicality of space and the nature of sculpture.

The Matter of Time enables the spectator to perceive the evolution of the artist’s sculpted forms, from his relatively simple double ellipse to the more complex spiral. The final two works in this evolution are built from sections of toruses and spheres to create environments with differing effects on the viewer’s movement and perception. Shifting in unexpected ways as viewers walk in and around them, these sculptures create a dizzying, unforgettable sensation of space in motion. The entirety of the room is part of the sculptural field: As with his other multipart sculptures, the artist purposefully organizes the works to move the viewer through them and their surrounding space. The layout of works in the gallery creates passages of space that are distinctly different—narrow and wide, compressed and elongated, modest and towering—and always unanticipated. There is also the progression of time. There is the chronological time it takes to walk through and view The Matter of Time, between the beginning and end of the visit. And there is the experiential time, the fragments of visual and physical memory that linger and recombine and replay.

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Museum Voorlinden to be opened on the 11th of September, 2016

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If you ask me at this moment…what is your favorite museum in Europe? …i will answer the Beyeler Museum in Basel. Extremely nice permanent collection, the best special exhibitions in Europe. Nice shop and beautiful surroundings. Now on the 11th of September the Museum Voorlinden will be openend in Wassenaar. An initiative by Joop van Caldenborgh , one of the great private collectors in the world. After an exhibition in the Kunsthal he thought it was time for a museum to present his very extensive art collection.

He bought a neighboring piece of ground of 40ha and started to build a museum in which he could present his collection. Now the museum is ready to be opened by HRH King Willem Alexander and what it looks like from the reviews in NRC and Volkskrant ( 4 and 5 stars) it can be compared with the very best in the world. Museum building with special lightning . A little bit like the daylight showcases of the Gemeentemuseum, but now executed for the entire museum, which means northern light in the entire museum through 150k holes. A beautiful and large library 😉 and gardens by the best landscape architect in the world Piet Oudolf.

This package is there to compete with the very best museums in the world http://www.voorlinden.nl.

First exhibition will be devoted to the Caldic collection and a large part in this exhibition will be on Ellsworth Kelly. Wim Pijbes ( former director of the Rijksmuseum) will have the honor and task to present this “gem” of a museum among the other museums in the world. Perhaps it is a smaller museum, but management , surroundings and the Caldic collection could mean that beside the Beyeler and the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag there will be another favorite museum for me in the near future ….Museum Voorlinden …and this one much closer by than the Beyeler ( architecture by Renzo Piano).

wilfried

wvdelshout@ziggo.nl