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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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Claude Monet and abstract art

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A few months ago i encountered on Blouin.com a very interesting article on the importance of the “abstract” waterlilies paintings by Claude Monet. Because of this importance i will post the complete article in this blog and please know that www.ftn-books.com has some nice publications on Monet available.

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As hard as it may be to believe today, Claude Monet’s beloved Water Lilies series received little admiration during the artist’s lifetime. regarded as too neo-classical, or too decorative, or confusing and messy — perhaps the product of the artist’s failing eyesight — more than 200 of the monumental compositions leaned against the walls of Monet’s Giverny studio for some 30 years, unsold. After his death, 22 “Water Lilies” panels out of some 250 he had produced were installed in the Musee del’Orangerie in Paris, a gift the artist bequeathed to the French state. but they were largely ignored.

“When it opened, it stayed nearly empty,” said Cecile Debray, the chief curator of the l’Orangerie. “Everyone had forgotten these works of art. I remember one writer saying that it was a place where lovers went to hide.” It wasn’t until the 1950s, nearly 30 years after Monet’s death, that the works began to find a popular following. The Museum of Modern Art’s founding director, Alfred J. Barr Jr., bought three for the New York museum in 1955 — at an absurdly cheap price— and hung them as a panorama.

Art critics such as Clement Greenberg were arguing that Monet’s late works were the precursors to the American abstract art movement, positioning his Water Lilies in relation to Jackson Pollock‘s paintings, such as “Autumn Rhythm (number 30),” 1950. Seen that way, the works resonated with American Abstract expression and the concept of something called “Abstract Impressionism” was forged.

The Orangerie, now one of the key art attractions in Paris, is mounting an exhibition that focuses on the precise moment when these works entered into dialogue with American post-war art. “The Water Lilies. American Abstract painting and the Last Monet” runs until August 20.

With a selection of 20 major paintings by artists such as Jackson PollockMark RothkoBarnett NewmanHelen FrankenthalerMorris LouisJoan Mitchell and other key figures of American abstraction, the show juxtaposes Monet’s late works with the artists he influenced, either directly or indirectly.

“The question of influence is very delicate,” said Debray, curator of the exhibition. “Some of the artists have visited the Orangerie and Giverny, such as Barnett Newman and Ellsworth Kelly who were really influenced by Monet’s work. but some, like Pollock, were linked to Monet through Clement Greenberg, and not through themselves. It isn’t always just a simple question of influence, but how connections were made through art critics, the art market, and also museums.”

Monet embarked on the grand project of the Water Lilies series at the age of 73, and they consumed his attention for the last decades of his life from about 1914 to 1926, when he died. He intended some of them to be shown in series of three, alone in a single chamber, in what today we would call an installation, but others were standalone works.

At his home in Giverny, Monet built an enormous garden and tended to it with extreme care, expressly for the purpose of making these artworks and capturing water lilies and other scenes of nature in paint. “in French, you’d call it the aboutissement of his life’s work,” said Debray. “When you realize what you wanted to do your whole life.”

“These landscapes of water and reflection have become an obsession for me,” Monet wrote to a friend in 1909. “It is beyond my strength as an old man, and yet I want to render what I feel.”

In 1952, the Kunsthalle Zurich borrowed five Water Lilies paintings for a Monet retrospective, and the exhibition catalog lauded them as the precursors of Modern art. thereafter, they received more attention, and Barr’s purchase of the works led to the biggest wave of subsequent interest.

According to the MoMA’s book “Claude Monet’s Water Lilies,”  the connection between the late Monet paintings and the Abstract Art Movement was mostly an intellectual construct: “In the wake of World War II, the artists that would come to be known as thNewew York school developed a form of art that was radically different from their predecessors in Europe or the United states.

Works that claimed to be fatherless… made room for a putative precedent. Monet’s Water Lilies, as free from polemic as the Americans’ work was a clarion call, would come to take on a prominent role.”

By October 1957, the New York Times critic David Sylvester called Monet “the art world’s most newly resurrected deity, the painter whose standing has risen more than that of any other, as a result of post-war movements in taste,” which he called “obviously a by-product of action painting, abstract expressionism, and other activities.”

In 1958, when a fire at the MoMA destroyed the museum’s original Water Lilies paintings, Barr had to replace them immediately with others from the same series because they were such a popular draw to the museum, Debray said.

“There came a time when just to have a Water Lilies work from this series became very important to every museum of Modern art,” said Debray.

It makes sense that the museum would explore the complex history of the paintings that were designed for the Orangerie, and how American abstraction, in a way, brought about the appreciation of Monet’s late works. debray said, however, that the show doesn’t try to make simple-sum comparisons or settle into an easy narrative — there are many strands to this story.

For example, the show looks at how the monumentality of Monet’s Water Lilies was linked to Modern art  — which, following World War II, required larger and larger spaces to house it. While there are some Abstract works that clearly reflect a kind of homage or reference to Monet, others have a more theoretical or conceptual link.

Most important for the Color Field painters, perhaps, was the effect of Monet’s zooming into the surface of the water, removing all boundaries and borders and placing the viewer inside the subject itself. in an interview that the painter Ellsworth Kelly once gave to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he explained how his work was linked to the late works of Monet:

“Painting in the Renaissance and after was like a window, and your spacial view was always through the window,” he said. “With Monet, with Cezanne, they started messing up paint and started bringing attention to the surface of the painting and you had to go up to it and see how it was done and how they did it. I feel that, in my work, the space between the viewer and the painting is the area that I want to enliven.”

Among the works on display is a 1968 reductive pencil drawing on paper by Kelly of a single water lily, part of a series of plant drawings that the abstract artist worked on throughout his career. Another work is Kelly’s “Tableau Vert,” in which one can feel the ripples of Monet’s watery surfaces in the textured greens and blues of kelly’s palette.

Another element of the exhibition is an exploration of the term “Abstract Impressionism,” which was used by Elaine de Kooning, the artist, and art critic, to describe the early colorful painterly style of Philip Guston. Abstract impressionism was also employed as a catchall for two post-war American styles: the Action painting expressed by artists like Pollock and Willem de Kooning; and the Color Field painting practiced by Rothko and Noland.

Various artists throughout the post-war era looked into Monet’s watery gardens and didn’t see flowers and light and water and sky. they saw modernity or something like it.

And as for Monet? “ I think he was against abstraction because he was a man of the 19th century,” said Debray. “He knew that what he was doing was not fashionable and people were not at ease with his radicality. I think he did it because i think it was a necessity.”

http://www.blouinartinfo.com

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Jacques Monory (1924) and the color BLUE

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Here is the first few lines of the text i found on Wikipedia. Berside i noticeed the high age of the artist i also noticed that the color Blue was present in his works during his entire career.

Jacques Monory, June 25, 1924 (age 94) Cachan, France Nationality French Education École nationale supérieure des arts appliqués et des métiers d’art Known for Painter, filmmaker Movement Narrative Figuration Spouse(s) Paule Monory Website www.jacquesmonory.com Jacques Monory (25 June 1924) is a French painter and filmmaker whose work, highly influenced by photography and cinema, is an allegory of the contemporary world with a focus on the violence of everyday reality. His canvases evoke a heavy atmosphere, pulling subject matter from modern civilization through the lens of his signature monochrome color blue.

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If you look at the catalogue which was published for his Stedelijk Museum exhibition in 1972, You will notice 2 things. First there is the excellent design by Wim Crouwel, but secondly the use of Blue for the cover and the photographic scene on the front. A lesser known catalogue , but certainly an excellent designed Crouwel one and available at www.ftn-books.com. Monory is still not very well known, but i am convinced of his importance and will look forward to more exhibitions of this fascinating artist.

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Anthon Beeke (1940-2018)

First of all i have to apologize in publishing this blog without commemorating Anthon Beeke who died a few weeks ago and who’ s death i announced on the the 26th of September in a special blog on Beeke. Here is the blog which was prepared some months ago.

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One of the great and now world wide known names in dutch graphic design is Anthon Beeke. Born is 1940 he was of the flower power generation who took over Amsterdam in the late sixties. Free love, drugs and influences from all over the world shaped a generation of designers of which Beeke was one of . Without knowing who the designer is, you immediately recognize his work. Bright colors , details, shocking views or attributes draw you into his designs immediately.

But it is not always his intention to shock, there were occasions that his designs were just functional. For instance his Wanderlieder

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designed catalogue for the Stedelijk is only different in size but holds and reads just like a normal book.

Beeke is one of the great designers in the Netherlands and well worth collecting. www.ftn-books.com has some nice titles by Beeke available including the poster he made with Erwin Olaf for het Anjer Fonds.

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Max Liebermann (1847-1935)

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There is a long history between the art of Max Liebermann and the Netherlands, because Liebermann used to work for long periods of time in this country.

From 1874 until 1914 he stayed during the summer period in Holland and painted together with his friend Isaac Israels in Laren, Scheveningen and Noordwijk. This is the reason why so many of great Liebermann paintings can be found in this country. These were given, trade or sold to collectors and friends , building this way the largest collection of Liebermann paintings outside Germany.

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It was therefore no problem for the Gemeentemuseum to organize some 40 years ago one of the first retrospektives on Liebermann ( catalogue available at www.ftn-books.com) and because it was so long ago the Gemeentemuseum organized this year another Libermann exhibition with the focus on the dutch paintings he made during the summers he stayed here.

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MAX LIEBERMANN

IMPRESSIONS OF SUMMER

Max Liebermann (1847-1935) enjoyed a special bond with the Netherlands. From the end of the 19th century the German artist would visit Holland every summer. The country inspired his paintings for many years and he established a number of close friendships with artists from the Hague School. Despite these ties, Liebermann’s work is rarely exhibited in the Netherlands, so it is high time for a change!

The Gemeentemuseum is organising a major exhibition on this famous German artist:Max Liebermann – Impressions of summer. Top items from Liebermann’s oeuvre will highlight how he developed from Realist tot Impressionist. The exhibition will also consider his important role in the European art world, and his extraordinary private life.

 

Between 1870 and 1914 Liebermann spent a number of summers in the Netherlands with his friend Jozef Israels. Together they painted the fashionable lifestyle emerging in that period: outdoor cafés teeming with patrons enjoying the sun, riders and bathers on the beach. By that time Liebermann was a celebrated artist both in his native Germany and abroad, famous for his paintings with ‘sunspots’. In 1920 he was even appointed director of the academy in Berlin, a position he would have to relinquish towards the end of his life, when Hitler came to power. Yet he continued to be a favourite with the public in Germany, even after his death.

Despite the political and social tensions, Liebermann remained a sunny Impressionist in his work, as you will see in this exhibition. Max Liebermann – Impressions of Summer is organised with partner the Liebermann-Villa am Wannsee museum, featuring highlights like Free Hour at the Amsterdam Orphanage (1881-1882) and The Parrot Man (1902), painted at Amsterdam’s Artis zoo. Special detail: Liebermann’s Free Hour at the Amsterdam Orphanage will for the first time be leaving Frankfurt since it gained a permanent home there at the city’s Städel Museum.

 

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Fiep Westendorp (1916-2004)

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Well, this one is on the border of true art… the illustrations of Fiep Westendorp are highly original and recognizable and they even sell nowadays at art prices, but first and foremost these are great quality book illustrations ( mainly for the ones written by Annie M.G. Schmidt) . Fiep Westendorp is a well established name in the dutch illustrator scene and because many of our generation have read the novels by Annie M.G. they also know the illustrations by Westendorp. Pluk en de Pettefelte, Jip en Janneke and other could not exist without the images created by Fiep Westendorp and she is now collected not only in the Netherlands, but all over the world. Great fun illustrations which deserve a large audience. Some Westendorp titles are available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Willem Sandberg… Experimenta Typographica 1943 – 68.

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As you can read in the title , Willem Sandberg experimented with typography and designs.

During the occupation by the Germans he published experimental books with his own typography. Mostly a combination of very original and personal lay-out and torn out letters, making these publications unique. Unique because of their chosen size, material, printing ,their design and the very limited numbers in which they were produced.

Sandberg produced nineteen pamphlets between December 1943 and April 1945, making a couple of copies of each one, all done by hand. They consisted of twenty to sixty pages of drawings, collages, and texts, which were either written by Sandberg himself or quoted from Confucius, Proudhon, Stendhal, and other favorite writers on themes like love, death, education, architecture, and typography. As Sandberg had no money and materials were scarce in wartime, he improvised by using whatever he could find: scraps of wallpaper, cardboard packaging, tissue paper, and wrapping paper together with photographs, drawings, and symbols torn from magazines for his collages.

The originals are very very rare and exceptionally hard to find. Luckily some of the dutch publishers decided to make some reprints and make them in this way available for other admirers. These reprints are getting more scarce every year now, but www.ftn-books.com still has some available.

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A new OSSIP addition from 2003.

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Ossip / JONGEN, 2003

Just take a look and see that i added this beautiful hypnotizing Ossip to FTN collection about 2 months ago at www.ftn-blog.com. It comes from the the Vescom collection . A collection which was created over the last 3 decades and was sold at auction in Amsterdam. I was lucky to buy this “JONGEN” by Ossip together with 2 works by Joris Geurts ( in another blog later). This “Jongen” is one of the more “static” works . It has the same qualities as the works he presented in his exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag . Most of the works i know of have moving parts but this late Nineties /early 2000 work was made when composition and image were the typical Ossip elements within a work of art. I know that there exists also a larger version of ” JONGEN” which is depicted in the Ossip monograph , but this version measures 112 x 89 cm. and is signed and dated Ossip, 23-11-2003 and now available at www.ftn.blog.com

at : https://ftn-blog.com/product/ossip-jongen-2003-112-x-89-cm-excellent-condition/

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Hendri van der Putten (1940) an artist book

 

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Last week i found at the local bookmarket a special artist book by Hendri van der Putten. The book was made for the exhibition of Hendri in the Apollohuis in 1988.The artist book consists of 16 pages of which 5 are silkscreened with lines across the pages and on the edges…. a very delicate yellow. an exquisite book which is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Giovanni Nicolai (continued) in Milano

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Just received a message from Giovanni Nicolai, that he will be exhibiting in Milano some of his most recent works together with some fellow artist in the ARTE NON FALSIFICATA exhibition at the SO gallery in Milan. The exhibition will be open until the 17th of November.