Cole Morgan (1950)

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The first time i encountered work by Cole Morgan was at an exhibition at gallery de TWEE PAUWEN in The Hague. It struck me as an easy form of abstraction, but original in its approach and very accessible for Abstract Modern Art. Since i have seen many more pictures by Cole Morgan. At auction, during visits at the dentist, legal offices and attorneys….even saw one at a hairdresser. So many people have learned to look at his pictures and admire his works. Recognizable yes, original perhaps, ever lasting modern art?….probably not, because when you have seen one painting by Morgan , in my opinion you have seen them all. These paintings are constructed works, with brightly colored elements he composes his paintings and differs on the ones he made before. Because of his clientele, his price level has always been high and this way of producing paintings has been quite lucrative for him.

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Now that his paintings appear at auctions their true value disappoints and many a collector has made a wrong investment for the moment. Nevertheless…. if you look at them as pure decorative paintings, these paintings convince. They are somewhat childish and because of their simplicity appeal to many and therefore are encountered in many offices . My advise…When you can pick one up at a reasonable price, do not hesitate and enjoy it as long as you like it, but do not expect to make a profit on it. This is  art is to be consumed. There are some very nice books on Cole Morgan available at www,ftn-books.com

Ugo La Pietra (1938) / Edizioni Flaviana…Serie Minimultipli.

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Yesterday, the first of my new acquisitions was discussed in my blog. Today the second one will be presented to my readers. This one is another one from the 1967 publications by Edizioni Flaviana within their series of Minimultipli. Title …..Campo Tissurale….Condition of this one too is excellent and another one well worth collecting now, because these beautiful publications are getting more scarce every month and i believe to be the only seller on the internet who is offering 2 of these rare publications. Ugo La Pietra is still active as an artist and designer, but none of his work is considered more important than his sixties work in which he showed his admiration and close relationship to other ZERO / NUL artists. This exquisite small publication shows why and is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Enrico Castellani (1930) / Edizioni Flaviana…Serie Minimultipli.

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Manzoni, La Pietra, Colombo, Christo and Enrico Castellani. What do they have in common?. Yes , they were all artists who started their careers in the early sixties, but an another lesser known fact is that they were all chosen to publish within the Minimultipli series by Edizioni Flaviana a small, but also art collection worthy, work of art. The ones which i added today to the inventory of my store are considered to be the best of the series. Tomorrow the Ugo de La Pietra. But here is the Superficie Oro by Enrico Castellani from 1967.

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This Enrico Castellani is believed to have been published in an edition of only 1000 copies ( others within the series were published  also in 1000 copies) of which few will have survived as good as this one. The “envelope”, plastic covered inlay and the multiple are all in exceptional condition . Published in 1967. This Castellani is a true ZERO work of art. He encountered many dutch and german artist who belonged to the ZERO and NUL mouvements in Germany and the Netherlands and he himself , as his friends Fontana and Manzoni, were influenced by the ideas of these groups of artists. The ” Superficie Oro” shows it in the smallest scale possible, but even at this size, it truly is an outstanding work of art and now available at www.ftn-books.com.

Yvan Theys (1936-2005)

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For me it is still a mystery why Theys has not become world famous with his paintings , but remained one of the lesser known Belgian painters from his generation. Yes, there are Raveel, de Keyzer and Elias. And yes , many people know that he is one of the founders of the NEW FIGURATION mouvement, but for most that is all and they really do not remember enough his qualities as an artist. He was a gifted sculptor , but above all he could depict women in a very sensuous way and include so many abstract elements in the painting that from a distance it almost looked completely abstract.

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For those that admire Theys …there are frequently auctions held which include his works and the nice thing about them is that in most cases it is still very affordable and beside their quality as a work of art, are highly decorative colorful elements in any interior.  Take notice of  Yvan Theys whenever there is an auction or gallery exhibition. He was an artist who deserves to be known and appreciated by many. There are some excellent books available at www.ftn-books.com

Paul van Eerden (1954)

Best way to start a blog on van Eerden is this very informative video .

It explains what he sees and how he works. The result….highly original drawings and for this he has become for me personally one of the great contemporary artists in the Netherlands . Good and Slow observations are the fundaments for his drawings, which take a long time to finish with highly detailed parts which look simple but take a long time to execute and finish. The publications do justice to his drawings because they maybe even take longer to finish and some of them are available at www.ftn-books.com

 

Gilbert & George/ Naked shit paintings

The blog of yesterday reminded me that Piero Manzoni was not the only artist who used faeces as a subject in their art. Gilbert & George is another example who used the subject in a far more explicit way than Manzoni did. With the canned Manzoni multiple it is still uncertain if the contents is the same as the label indicates , however with Gilbert & George it is no question at all, because the pictures show the subjects as they are.

Still the composition and execution are 100% recognizable Gilbert & George, but personally i like the more society and critical related subjects better and far more pleasing to look at, but just to show that many more artists used the subject it is nice to devote a blog on these 2 great artists.

 

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Books on Gilbert & George are available at www.ftn-books.com

Piero Manzoni…artist’s shit (1961)

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In May 1961, while he was living in Milan, Piero Manzoni produced ninety cans of Artist’s Shit. Each was numbered on the lid 001 to 090.  A label on each can, printed in Italian, English, French and German, identified the contents as ‘”Artist’s Shit”, contents 30gr net freshly preserved, produced and tinned in May 1961.’ In December 1961 Manzoni wrote in a letter to the artist Ben Vautier: ‘I should like all artists to sell their fingerprints, or else stage competitions to see who can draw the longest line or sell their shit in tins. The fingerprint is the only sign of the personality that can be accepted: if collectors want something intimate, really personal to the artist, there’s the artist’s own shit, that is really his.’ (Letter reprinted in Battino and Palazzoli p.144.)

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It is not known exactly how many cans of Artist’s Shit were sold within Manzoni’s lifetime, but a receipt dated 23 August 1962 certifies that Manzoni sold one to Alberto Lùcia for 30 grams of 18-carat gold (reproduced in Battino and Palazzoli p.154). Manzoni’s decision to value his excrement on a par with the price of gold made clear reference to the tradition of the artist as alchemist already forged by Marcel Duchamp and Yves Klein among others. As the artist and critic Jon Thompson has written:

Manzoni’s critical and metaphorical reification of the artist’s body, its processes and products, pointed the way towards an understanding of the persona of the artist and the product of the artist’s body as a consumable object. The Merda d’artista, the artist’s shit, dried naturally and canned ‘with no added preservatives’, was the perfect metaphor for the bodied and disembodied nature of artistic labour: the work of art as fully incorporated raw material, and its violent expulsion as commodity. Manzoni understood the creative act as part of the cycle of consumption: as a constant reprocessing, packaging, marketing, consuming, reprocessing, packaging, ad infinitum. (Piero Manzoni, 1998, p.45)

Artist’s Shit was made at a time when Manzoni was producing a variety of works involving the fetishisation and commodification of his own body substances. These included marking eggs with his thumbprints before eating them, and selling balloons filled with his own breath. Of these works, the cans of Artist’s Shit have become the most notorious, in part because of a lingering uncertainty about whether they do indeed contain Manzoni’s faeces. At times when Manzoni’s reputation has seen the market value of these works increase, such uncertainties have imbued them with an additional level of irony. ( text on this subject comes from the Tate site : http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/manzoni-artists-shit-t07667)

www.ftn-books.com has some nice publications on Manzoni