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Nicolaas Wijnberg as a poster artist

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At one time Pieter Brattinga, who knew every good poster artist in the Netherlands , was asked who were the best poster designers. His answer, Crouwel, Sandberg, Treumann and Bons, but the very best was Nicolaas Wijnberg. Because his father was the director of the famous Steendrukkerij de Jong he had seen their works for some decades  being printed on the presses of his father company.  Because he had seen them all, his opinion is important and when you look at the posters by Wijnberg you can see why these were liked so much. His posters are not the ones with the beautiful clean lay-out. Nor the ones which stand out because of the use of color. No……. the Wijnberg posters are special because each of them tells a small story. This is not the poster who draws your attention for an event. The Wijnberg posters reaches out to you with a part of the performance or event. This makes you curious and therefore you will remember it.

The book on the Nicolaas WIJNBERG posters is available at www.ftn-books.com

wijnberg affiches

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Babs Haenen (1948)

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If you are looking for the most complicated ceramic art , then Babs Haenen her objects will be in the top three.

The first time i encountered work by Babs Haenen was when the Haags Gemeentemuseum has bought two vases for its collection. What struck me was that these vases had very delicate colors and were looking not like the ordinary ceramics from the collection. They looked like sculptured vases . Her method of building a vase is simple. Porcelain clay is coloured with pigments and afterwards rolled out into thin sheets. The choice of porcelain clay is dictated by the wish to be able to produce bright colours. The basis for a piece at work is made by cutting up the different coloured sheets and joining them together again in various patterns.
Round a plaster core is placed a thin piece of textile, which serves to prevent the clay from sticking to the core. The core is then inverted and the sheets of clay are draped around the textile.This is done from the bottom, so that at first the pot is shaped upside down.

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When the piece has reached a given height, it is removed from the core. a short drying period and then built up further the right way up. At that point it has often not yet reached half its eventual height. Hence the form at the plaster care only determines the final form of the pot to a very minor extent.
Between the additions at new sheets of clay the piece is dried with a hairdryer, so that the form soon acquires a degree of certainty. In its further built-up a great freedom prevails in respect of designing by distorting and modelling.
After being thoroughly dried, the pieces are given a biscuit firing, then glazed and given repeated reduction firings in a gas kiln at a temperature of 1260 C.

The above text comes from the book which is now available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Franz Eggenschwiller (1930-2000)

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Discovering “new” artists is one of the nicer thing of writing a daily blog. And writing a blog on this artist is a pleasurable experience since i like his art .  Mix total astraction wit constructivist art and use very delicate colors and you get an impression of the art Eggenschwiller stands for. Born in 1930 het must have known the abstract painters from his generation, but this does not show. His art is original and although not very well known, deserves to be presented in exhibitions and galeries. This is one of the goals the Eggenschwiller-Wiggli foundation has set for themselves.

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Eggenschwillers works must be known with a much larger public than these are known now. Works by Franz Eggenschwiller are present in the Solothurn Museum and http://www.ftn-books.com has the most important publication on this artist available.

eggenschwiler

 

 

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Erwin Olaf special 1:1 by Floris Vos

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It has been some years ago that there was an exhibition by Erwin Olaf. The sets/ stage design was done by Floris Vos who recently died. Floris Vos was important to Erwin Olaf since the staging of his photographs is so important and a part which makes his photographs recognizable and stand out. Every detail counts and the result is a photograph which is truly remarkable. Of course the talent of Erwin Olaf is undoubtedly present in every photograph he takes, but the staging by Floris Vos will be missed in the future. I dare to say that the future Olaf photographs will be different and that is probably not a bad thing, because now Olaf must use a different set director, which means different photographs for sure and taking a new road into the staged photography he excels in.

set for “Grief”

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www.ftn-books.com has the HET NIEUWE INSTITUUT folder/invitation for the exhibition from 2013 available for sale.

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Wim Oepts (1904-1988)

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Wim Oepts , always reminds of the more abstract brother of Vincent van Gogh. The choice of colors even reminds of van Gogh and in many cases his landscapes are the same kind of Landscapes van Gogh preferred to paint. The days that Oepsts started to paint were the same days that van Gogh was finally recognized as being one of the great painters of all time. This meant that Oepts must have known his paintings very well and admired them. This also meant that he never followed the road into abstraction . His paintings were always colorful and the subjects recognizable. Friendly paintings for those who want an ” easy” work of art on the wall. Affordable certainly , artistically important? ….i doubt it.

left Oepts / Right van Gogh

 

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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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Oskar Lens (1930)

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This is one of those artist who is hardly known outside the Den Haag region. He knew Nanninga, was a friend of Jan Snoeck and even had a duo exhibition with him at the Museum Jan van der Togt a few years ago.

Personally i am not too familiar with the works by Lens, but when you look at them, you can see some influences of Cobra painting and ….Kees van Bohemen who he must have known from the cafes in Den Haag where the artist gathered  ( de Posthoorn is very well known). Being a member of Pulchri artist studio he regularly had his exhibitions , but it took until 2005 before he had his first major retrospective exhibition at the Jan van der Togt museum . This catalogue is now available at www.ftn-books.com

 

 

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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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Alberto Burri (1915-1995)

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A blog on Burri since i acquired a very MIce 1961 catalogue by Galerie de France on Burri. Numbered 495 from an edition of only 1600 copies and in excellent condition.

Burri i have known for his MATTER paintings. A bit created like the ones Jaap Wagemaker made in the Netherlands. But there is so much mofre . His “paintings” are like three dimensional sculptures and make in some way a bridge to the zero art from a decade later.

He remained a reserved artist, ceaselessly working and creating, initially in a small studio in Via Margutta but frequently moving out. As a matter of fact, Milton Gendel – an American journalist who visited Burri’s studio in 1954 –, later reported: “The studio is thick-walled, whitewashed, neat and ascetic; his work is ‘blood and flesh,’ reddened torn fabric that seems to parallel the staunching of wounds that Burri experienced in wartime.”

Burri’s first solo figurative artworks exhibition took place on 10 July 1947 at the gallery-cum-bookshop La Margherita, in Rome, presented by the poets Leonardo Sinisgalli and Libero De Libero. However, Burri’s artistic production flowed definitively into abstract forms before the end of the same year, the use of small format tempera resulting from the influence of such artists as Jean Dubuffet and Joan Miró, whose studio was visited by Burri during a trip to Paris in the winter of 1948.

In the sixties Burri has had several exhibitions all over Europe and one, in 1961, was at the galerie de France. Who made a beautiful catalogue for it.

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Jan Roëde (1914-2007)

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Jan Roëde was a contemporary of Piet Ouborg, Jaap Nanninga and Wim Sinemus, whom he met regularly in The Hague at the cafe DE POSTHOORN.. He was influenced by Miró’s form of abstract Surrealism. His paintings, populated by figures and shapes, are the result of a search for a world of forms that arose from him personally. Abstract or figurative was all the same to him. In fact the process of painting was more important than the forms that came out of it. In the last 2 decades. The Miro liked shaped forms almost disappeared from his painting and in their place came almost childish figures that populated the canvasses from that time on. On many a small bird appeared like a sort of extra signature.

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Jan Roede is now part of our collection, since we managed to buy a very nice painting at auction last October. Jan Roëde was married to the sister of Will Leewens another artist which is in our collection and both have in common that during the 70’s and 80’s both sold their work on a regular basis to the Artoteek/HEDEN. This work, like so many others, comes originally from the HEDEN collection.

http://www.ftn-books.com has of course some nice publications on Jan Roëde