Giorgio di Chirico (1888-1978)… surrealist?

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Di Chirico was the founder the scuola metafisica art movement, which profoundly influenced the surrealists. But was he a surrealist or more a classic baroque painter  who by chance composed his compositions in surreal surroundings and there fore looked like a surreal painter. Any way he was considered by many surrealists to be an example for them and for sure one can see influences of di Chirico in the early paintings by Dali. Empty land and cityscapes with an occasional figure in them.

Di Chiricos pictures are different and most famous for the eerie mood and strange artificiality of the cityscapes he painted in the 1910s. Their great achievement lies in the fact that he treats the scenes not as conventional cityscapes – as perspectives on places full of movement and everyday incident – but rather as the kinds of haunted streets we might encounter in dreams. They are backdrops for pregnant symbols or even, at times, for collections of objects that resemble still lifes. De Chirico’s innovative approach to these pictures – an approach rather like that of a theatrical set designer – has encouraged critics to describe them as “dream writings.” They are, in other words, disordered collections of symbols. And this points to their difference from the so-called “dream images” of later Surrealists such as Salvador Dalí, which appear to want to capture the contents of a dream with a camera. www.ftn-books.com

 

Willem De Kooning(1904-1997) is a dutchman

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For many people in the US , Willem de Kooning is an American painter , however ….for us dutch, de Kooning is a dutchman. Born in Rotterdam and educated at the Rotterdam evening academy and working for the METZ department store as an interior decorator until he decided to go to the US in 1926. He went as a stowaway and would become the abstract expressionist painter we admire. He met artists from and became part of the Abstract expressionist mouvement. Meeting with Pollock, Still, Rothko and Newman made him aware of his qualities as an abstract painter developing a style of his own and building an important oeuvre from there on. He never lost touch with his homecountry the Netherlands and this resulted in a large and very important collection of De Kooning paintings in the Stedelijk Museum. Edy de Wilde was the director who made this happen and it is the luck of the visitors of the Stedelijk that in one spot they can discover and admire so many excellent De Kooning paintings.

and for some nice publications on De Kooning visit www.ftn-books.com

William N. Copley / CPLY (1919-1996)

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I always believed that Copley was as much appreciated in the US as he was appreciated in the Netherlands and Germany, But the reality must have been different since i read a short article on his life. His sixties works were not appreciated and understood in the US. People thought his work was pornographic, but in Europe there was a different understanding about these works . Here they were thought to be erotic and because of this different approach to these great works, they were presented in a solo exhibition within the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 1966. Accompanied by a great Wim Crouwel catalogue, which is available at www.ftn-books.com.

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This appreciation of his art in the Netherlands, must have resulted in the admiration for dutch artist from the sixties and seventies by his daughter Claire who had an influential gallery in the early seventies in which she presented Ader, Dibbets and van Elk who all have become well known outside the Netherlands

If you look at these paintings now you can only ask yourself why these are being found to be pornographic…..These are great “erotic” Pop Art paintings.

 

CPLY X-Rated

Copley’s works in the 1970s focused on his own understating of differences and challenges between men and women in romantic and sexual relationships. His works were now erotic, even pornographic. In 1974 he exhibited these new works at what was then the New York Cultural Center in Columbus Circle, New York in a show titled “CPLY X-Rated.” These pieces were a sudden change from his previous romantic whimsical periods. The American public had difficulty with the material, for which Copley expressed, “Americans… don’t know the difference between eroticism and pornography. Because eroticism has always existed in art. And pornography has never necessarily been in art. Copley’s experienced greater feedback in Europe, where the work was then well received. In conjunction with the New York Cultural Center Show there was a special “CPLY X-Rated Poster and Catalog.

The Claire S. Copley Gallery was a Los Angeles gallery on La Cienega Boulevard that existed from 1973-1977. Together with the galleries of Eugenia Butler, Rolf Nelson, Nick Wilder, and Riko Mizuno, the Claire Copley Gallery played an important role in the Los Angeles art scene of the 1960s and 1970sThe gallery provided a venue for emerging American and European minimalist and Conceptual artists, among them Bas Jan Ader, Terry Allen, Michael Asher, Daniel Buren, Jan Dibbets, Ger Van Elk, On Kawara, Joseph Kosuth, avid Lamelas, William Leavitt, Allan McCollum, and Allen Ruppersberg. ( part of the above information was found on Wikipedia)

Antonio Saura (1930-1998)

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When you mix Jackson Pollock with Jean Dubuffet with a topping of a little bit Picasso you get Antonio Saura. Abstraction at his best, because within the composition one always can recognize something realistic. A face , a body , some houses they are all there if you find the rest to study these great paintings. This is not simple, easy art, but it needs to be savored in a slow way. Because the fist impression is chaos, one tends to walk away from it, but just give it a minute or two and the paintings opens up to you.

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La grande foule, 1963, oil on canvas, 220 x 515 cm

It is a pity that there are so few of these fascinating Saura paintings in the Netherlands, but once you have a chance to visit the modern art museums in Spain they are easy to spot and to enjoy. www.ftn-books.com is fortunate to have a nice selection of books on Saura including the Stedelijk Museum catalogue by Wim Crouwel.

Tate Modern….SOUL OF A NATION: ART IN THE AGE OF BLACK POWER

 

This morning the Volkskrant mentioned and reviewed another Tate Modern exhibition in which afro-american artists have the leading role. I did not visit this exhibition , but it will be on my list should i visit London in the coming months. The exhibition will be open until the 22nd of October and shows the importance of afro-american artists in the sixties and seventies. None of them have become the household names in Modern Art as we know now and perhaps the only artist who reached “star” status by the end of the eighties was Jean-Michel Basquiat, but he originally was born in Brooklyn and part Haitian, not Afro American.  Then i realized that my inventory has very few books on or by Afro American artist. Is it because their art is less appealing? I do not think so, The Dawoud Bey and Kara Walker books i have, show great art, but i think the true reason is that Afro American artists did not get a good platform to show their art in the best possible way. Fewer Museum and gallery exhibitions have been organized  with them than with non afro-american artists and that is the reason this exhibition is important and possibly paves the way for artists from other cultures and countries which are lesser known. The mentioned artists Bey and Walker are available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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