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

 

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.

 

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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.

Henk Peeters a very special composition

Later this year i will devote another short blog to Henk Peeters. Peeters has become world famous for his contributions to the art world as a ZERO / NUL artist. Since yesterday i added a small composition by Henk Peeters to my inventory. A s good as his best Informal and Zero paintings, but on a very small scale this is a great little piece of art and now available at www.ftn-books.com

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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

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.

Rene Daniels (1950)

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His first exhibition was in Dusseldorf in 1977, but he nver joined the NEUE WILDEN . A group of painters who were in vogue in those days. He felt himself more comfortable when compared with painters like Broodthaers and Picabia, who had an extra layer in their paintings.

His paintings look abstract, but when you study them in more detail you see that they are a complete abstract reproduction of reality. . Piccadilly/London, WTC New York and old houses in Gent can all be distinguished when you look long enough at the paintings.

The paintings look simple, but in reality they are very thought over and are complex and typical Daniels.

Rene Daniels has not had a long career …in 1987 he had a stroke and because of that had to finish his career at that moment as a painter. Since 2006 he paints again , but his style and approach to painting has changed, because of his motor skills are far less than before. But what he made in that very short period of nearly 10 years is of the highest quality and the museums that have work by Daniels should feel lucky to have it in their collections. You can find work(s) by Daniels in the collections of a.o. the van Abbemuseum, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Stedelijk Museum, Dordrechts Museum, Groninger Museum and Bonnefanten Museum

and of course www.ftn-books.com has some nice titles on the artist

( and search on the site to find more Rene Daniels contributions to group exhibitions in which he participated)