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Irma Boom…the most original and best book designer in the world.

Of course , the title of this blog is my way of thinking about Irma Boom, who  first made a career with SDU publishers before she started her own office in 1991. But without a doubt she is one of the greatest living graphical designers of the world.

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One of the first who had complete faith in the abilities and quality of Irma Boom was Paul Fentener van Vlissingen who commissioned the SVH jubilee publication of over 2000 pages ….. a classic in book design, finished in 1996 and done  in the very special Irma Boom way with no limitations in the execution and with a complete rethinking of the classic book design.

A true DUTCH DESIGN classic which was the starting point of the Irma Boom designs as we know them. Other clients followed . Vitra , Chanel and Ferrari among them, but…..not only the larger companies and brand names wanted to use the design qualities of Irma Boom. There were smaller ones like dutch museums and the Siewe gallery , who presented a solo exhibition of her earlier this year with which they published a special Irma Boom limited edition.

http://www.slewe.nl/exhibitions/2016#irmaboomundercover.

and beside this special exhibition they commissioned some of their gallery publication to mrs Boom. My personal favorite Irma Boom publication is a small book on Tomas Rajlich which was published some 15 year ago and which has all the subtleties of a great book design. Now is the time to start collecting Irma Boom publications…wait another couple of years and none are there to be found. Irma Boom her designs and publications are collected by practically all of the large dutch museums and of course the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice Irma Boom publications available

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Bridget Riley…the Curve paintings

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An exhibition with these intriguing paintings by Bridget Riley is now held at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. Large size canvasses with hypnotizing waves of color patterns. Riley is one of those artists you learn to appreciate when you see more of her works over a longer period of time. Started in the early sixties . Influenced by Vasarely she soon became one of the most important members of the op-art mouvement and had her first major overseas exhibition in the MOMA in New York in 1965. She was one of the artist of the RESPONSIVE EYE exhibition. Since, she developed her very recognizable style and moved more and more away from the typical op-art paintings and developed the Bridget Riley style as we know it now. The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag has a history with Riley. A few year ago they held a very nice exhibition for which they published a leperello which is still available at www.ftn-books.com

wilfried

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Roland Topor…an original drawing

It was about 15 years ago that the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag produced some original Karel Appel lithographs and sold them through galerie Vogtschmidt in Amsterdam. All were sold but none were paid. So after a long time arguing about the payment we decided to go there ourselves and “rescue” what was left. A colleague of mine and i went to Amsterdam and chose some art from the stock of galerie Vogtschmidt and among these items was this Roland Topor drawing which i bought privately in an auction which i organized among the personnel of the Gemeentemuseum . This together with a series of prints was mine. At a fair price, but not as cheap as i hoped for , because others were bidding with me on these items. Now some 15 years later the purchase price is forgotten and what remains is the memory of the auction and the many nice items which were for sale at that time. I wish i had bid on the Henk Peeters set and the light drawing by Roland Topor but you can not have everything. and for the dutch….Martin Bril zei’ Je mist meer dan je meemaakt’

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In the Netherlands many of the (special) publications were published because Topor received a lot of attention by publishers and curators. Because of this, one can regularly find nice publications, but since Fluxus is getting popular every year now, it becomes more and more difficult to find the  nice ones

, but please take a look at my inventory at www.ftn-books.com and find the Topor books that i have at the moment.

wilfried

 

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Jesus Rafael Soto and the Josef Albers Museum

A few years ago we went to the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop. An excellent museum with a small museum shop. Small but with a very interesting inventory. The shop sells catalogues and prints from over 20 years of Josef Albers Museum exhibitions and some of them are rare and collectable. Beside the books they have a publishing program of A0 posters for each of the exhibitions they organize. Inside these editions they have the artist sign about 10 copies and sell these separately at a higher price plus……….they publish their own special editions.

On my first visit i bought a very nice silkscreened poster by Jesus Rafael Soto, signed and one of the 3 available. Half a year ago we went again for a visit and i had hopes for 2 more of these beauties , but too late…they had sold out. However i was lucky, because the special edition of the Soto print , signed and numbered by Soto was still available. Unfortunately at a much higher price than anticipated, but  still too good to be true, so i bought it. It now is for sale at www.ftn-books.com  (inquire for more pictures).

The Soto is one of those prints that will be in high demand in the next 10 years, but beside this Soto, there are many more extremely nice posters published by the Josef Albers Museum. If you live outside Germany they can not/ will not sell you because they only sell within Germany, but there is a selection of these posters/prints available in my shop , because i chose some for my stock. Search for Quadrat / Bottrop or Josef Albers Museum and you will find about 35 of them for sale……and the signed SOTO sccreenprint.

 

wilfried

www.ftn-books.com

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Klaas Gubbels….something special

Possibly you know Klaas Gubbels of his sculptures, lithographs, paintings etc. on teapots and chairs, but it is a rare occasion that you encounter a Gubbels out of the ordinary. A few years ago i encountered a 3D table with 4 wooden apples on it. The table ( used as pied de stalle) and the apples were all made of wooden pieces and glued together . On the Pied de stalle the signature of Klaas Gubbels. A handmade Gubbels was mine! A true find because this was something very special and at the same time typical for Gubbels. My guess is it was made in the mid eighties and was rarely exhibited because it came straight out of a private collection. So this is to share this special Gubbels with you and of course there are some nice Gubbels publications at www.ftn-books.com if you want to learn more on Klaas Gubbels.

 

wilfried

www.ftn-books.com

 

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Edward Kienholz and the Beanery

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At the time the Stedelijk Museum reopened again after its long time restoration, I noticed the return of one of my favorites within its collection…..the Beanery. The Beanery is a one on one replica of the local bar Kienholz visited frequently and stands out for me, because of its originality.  It is almost like a surrealist environment in which heads are replaced with clocks.

Kienholz makes environments which you can enter and experience and this Beanery from 1965 is one of his best. Because of the regular wear and tear over the years it had to be restored. There is a nice video on You Tube which gives information on the restauration and shows the importance of this Kienholz work. Lately Kienholz made another project in the Netherlands called HOERENGRACHT of which the catalogue is also available at www.ftn-books.com

 

This is the text the Stedelijk Museum published on the Beanery:

ABOUT THE BEANERY

Edward Kienholz (1927–1994) made The Beanery in 1965, basing it on his local bar, The Original Beanery on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles. It took Kienholz six months to consolidate and replicate the bar’s content in an artwork. Everything in the installation is life size: from the figures –  inspired by Kienholz’s friends and acquaintances – to the bar, bottles of beer and spirits, ash trays, cash register, telephone book, and jukebox. Even the photos on the wall duplicate those of The Original Beanery.

Remarkably, Kienholz gave each person in his bar a clock for a face, a reference to his fascination with time. Only the barman, modeled after Barney, the bar-owner at that time, has a face. Smelling and sounding like an actual bar, the installation is an evocative sensory experience that visitors are allowed to enter. The typical bar smell is characteristic for the way Kienholz work. The artist made a special recipe: the smell has to be assembled from beer, rancid fat, urine, mothballs and cigarette ash. The scent paste has been made multiple times by the restoration team of the Stedelijk Museum (the urine has been replaced by ammoniac). By coating the work with a synthetic resin the artist instills a sense of mortality and transience, which is amplified by the brown color of the interior, with its evocations of age and decay.

The Beanery is also something of a time capsule. The sign warning “faggots stay out” clearly conveys the intolerant attitudes of American society at the time, while the headlines of the 1964 newspaper in a newspaper dispenser at the door indicate that the United States is on the brink of war with Vietnam. Kienholz came up with the idea of creating his own version of the Beanery in 1958 but commenced work on August 28, 1964, upon reading the headline Children Kill Children in Vietnam Riots while visiting the real bar. The harsh contrast between the “real time” represented by the newspaper headline and the “surreal time” of the bar’s customers impelled Kienholz to start work on the tableau.

wilfried

www.ftn-books.com

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Eja Siepman van den Berg…a studio visit

 

A few month ago i contacted Eja Siepman van den Berg and inquired after a small statue she had made in an edition. The first contact resulted in an invitation to come and visit her in her studio in Beetsterzwaag, but because of circumstances it was impossible for us to make an appointment to visit.

Time passes and circumstances change so we finally had a chance to take some days off and decided to go to Friesland and yes …there is also the studio of Eja. We contacted each other again and found a time to visit on the 10th of august. I really looked forward to visit this fascinating artist because i never visited a real sculptors studio.

The morning of the 10th it was raining again and we run towards the entrance where we were met by Eja Siepman van den Berg. Turned to the left and walked right into the studio gallery where there was a special exhibition by a Chinese artist Xinjian Lu ( blog in a few days ), together with the statues by Eja. The abstraction of the large paintings by Xinjiang with the bronzes by Eja worked extremely well. Each showed its qualities together with the works by the other and nowhere a work dominated . I took some pictures which show just what i mean. This was a perfect setting for both artists.

After showing us the gallery and the works which were on show we soon chose our favorites and it appeared that the more abstraction was within the sculpture the more we admired it. Not that the full body sculptures were not appealing, but we thought that the sculptures with the focus on a specific body part were more abstract and had more strength

The next room, where we drank coffee, was the artist studio. Decorated with a magnificent photograph by Eja on the wall together with a work by JCJ van der Heijden.

I never knew she was a gifted photographer as well , but she explained that she made photographs during the time she had a shoulder injury and it was almost impossible for her to sculpt. The Large JCJ van der Heijden was the remainder of an exhibition which was one time held in the gallery. An extremely organized studio, with a special spot with mirrors to make the sculptures. The one that she was busy with was modelled after a photograph and in most cases Eja uses photographs to model after. Eja explained that the editions of the sculptures is protected by french law in which is stated that the maximum number of sculptures which is allowed to be made from one cast is eight. Above this number one speaks of an edition which of course can be limited too.

It takes an extremely lot of work before the final result can be shown in the gallery or museum and one can only admire the patience any sculptor must have before the final result can be shown. Sculptors must be a different kind of artist breed and one can only have the greatest respect for the path they have chosen to show their art to us…. their public.

 

wilfried

Books available on www.ftn-books.com

site for Eja Siepman van den Berg : http://www.ejasiepmanvandenberg.nl

http://www.hetdepot.nl

 

 

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Helmut Newton….only in Taschen publications?

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The story is known to every book collector. Some 10 years ago Benedikt Taschen had the idea to publish the largest and heaviest book on Helmut Newton ever published. Asked Philippe Starck to design a stand for the book , set the edition size……. and sold all books over some years. Now and then these books surface and draw lots of interest. Antiquarian booksellers are trying to sell these for USD. 10.000 or even more. Taschen produced 3 years ago a much smaller reedition of the book for euro 99.00 with the same photographs within this title, but because of the much better price they could sell it again and i predict that the same title will be presented in a few years within a bargain edition ( printed in China ;-)). What makes this so special…..i really do not know . I consider Taschen as one of the best art publishers in the world , but with such large editions they are hardly interesting for the serious collector. I love the photography of Helmut Newton, but would only use the Taschen books to get an excellent overview of his works. If you are a book collector it is better to focus on the gallery and museum publications from which the Repertinum/ Salzburg one is maybe the best from the last decade.

wilfried

 

www.ftn-books.com

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M.C. Escher….not only prints

Maurits Cornelis Escher was one of the most gifted pupils of Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita (1868-1944). His teacher died at the end of WWII in a Nazi concentration camp and was commemorated by Escher in a text which was published in a catalogue on the art of Jessurun de Mesquita and Mendes da Costa  ( 1863-1939) who had an exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam right after the war to honor them both.

This is believed to be the first printed text by Escher. The catalogue with this text is still available at www.ftn-books.com

and is one of the first to be published by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam after WWII. Since, Escher has had many other publications with text and of course prints , but the text on his former teacher is special and touching. The design of the book is done by Willem Sandberg himself and all these ingredients put together in one publication makes it very special indeed. I very much like the works by Jessurun de Mesquita and admire the artist he was. His woodcuts are fabulous and when you admire the Escher prints, do not forget that perhaps his teacher Jessurun de Mesquita was even a greater artist, but unfortunately has not become as famous as his pupil. ( later this month a blog on Jessurun de Mesquita with a special offer).

wilfried

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Günter Tuzina …not a minimal artist, but minimalistic art.

 

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The second time i met Günter Tuzina was with his exhibition in 1992 in The Haags Gemeentemuseum and noticed that he still followed his own artistic path. Making variations on his windows with crossed lines in color schemes which were very recognizable and typical for the works by Tuzina. At the time Tuzina executed a walldrawing for one of the staircases in the Gemeentmuseum which is beside the LeWitt, Toroni and Forg staircase drawings still on show. I think Tuzina is one of those artists you can see work of and immediately know it is by Tuzina. A few years ago i was impressed by a work which was for sale at Christie’s but unfortunately it was out of my budget and sold for twice+ the estimation, but one can get lucky too, because a little before that i noticed these 2 beautiful drawings on the local book market, which were made in a series of 55 for the Bebert publishing house. Both are signed and numbered and all the drawing on each of them is done by hand and all have a different background color. These are from the same edition of 55 copies but the background colors vary and therefore these are unique and…..these beauties are now for sale at

www.ftn-books.com

It is hard to find good publications on this artist but ftn-books also has some nice titles available.

wilfried