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William Turnbull (1922-2012)

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In some ways the stone sculptures of William Turn bull remind of the ones i saw last year by the late Joost Barbiers. Rough pieces of stone, worked over in a way that a different object is created and which blends with its surroundings.

( above right is by Barbiers)

But where Turnbull developed his art into a colorful and sometimes joyful abstract modern art. Barbiers stayed sombre and kept working over the rough pieces of stone. Both i appreciate but in the longterm i would like to have an original Barbiers only for the outside and place it in the garden and let it blend with nature, whereas an original Turnbull would be admired and cherished inside the house and becoming an important part of the collection of Modern Art.

In 1952, he was included in the Young Sculptors exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) which had become the focal point for new art in London. Turnbull, along with Paolozzi ( a colleague and fellow art student)and Richard Hamilton and others, became a member of the Independent Group, a splinter group within the ICA which became an important forum for discussion and debate. The Independent Group has been cited as a progenitor of Pop Art, but soon after Turnbull was far from being another British Pop Art artist, going his own way and developing an art and style of his own.

Unknowingly Turnbull must have had a great influence on another dutch painter. Willem Hussem must have been inspired by Turnbull’s paintings since some of his compositions use the same patterns and colors.

and Willem HussemSchermafbeelding 2018-08-20 om 14.19.18

There are some nice early William Turnbull publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Hans Hartung (1904-1989)

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One of the exhibitions i thought to be one of the very best during the time i was working at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, was one curated by Franz Kaiser on the abstract artist Hans Hartung . Just one word describes the exhibition….impressive.

It showed that the art Hartung created was not just random, but a well thought over creation of abstract art in which a small sketch was turned into a large painting.

Here is the text on the exhibition:

Hans Hartung (b. Dresden, 1904) was regarded as one of the founding fathers of French Lyric Abstractionism, the European counterpart of American Abstract Expressionism: a term in which the word Expressionism refers to an extremely physical and spontaneous manner of painting. The members of the movement wanted, as it were, to work out their emotions on the canvas without any form of symbolism.

Hartung’s paintings displayed a plain ground covered with rough and apparently spontaneous brushwork, with all the paint spatters and brush marks that go with that way of painting. After his death, therefore, people were astounded when the study of unfinished pictures revealed that his paintings had not in fact been created in a wild and spontaneous way, but by carefully filling in predetermined outlines based in every detail, right down to the smallest flecks of paint, on sketches prepared in advance. This exhibition, which the Gemeentemuseum is holding to mark the hundredth anniversary of Hartung’s birth, reveals an artist who would better be described as a conceptual artist, were it not for the fact that conceptual art did not exist as a movement when he produced his works. In this first Dutch retrospective of Hans Hartung’s work, early drawings are presented next to the equivalent paintings, and early versions alongside later versions. The similarities in terms of motif are astonishing.

More about Hans Hartung: www.fondationhartungbergman.fr

There are some nice publications on Hartung available at www.ftn-books.com

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Edgar Fernhout (1912-1974)

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Edgar Fernhout comes from an interesting background. His grandfather was Jan Toorop and his mother Charley Toorop. This meant he was raised among artists and writers. An inspiring surroundings in which art took centre stage. He specially moved to Bergen after the divorce of his mother , where his grandfather has built the house/studio de VLERKEN specially for the family of his daughter to raise her children and create her own works of art. The interesting part of Fernhout for me personally was his transition from realism into abstract art. Fernhout being one of the first in the Netherland together with M0ndrian to discover abstract art as a genre.

the other aspect i like of his history is that when he received his first large museum presentation in the Netherlands at the van Abbemuseum , the catalogue with exhibition was designed by Wim Crouwel. This being one of the first publications he made for a large museum in the Netherlands. This catalogue is of course available at www.ftn-books.com

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Minimal Art at the Haags Gemeentemuseum

minimal gm a

 

It was in the early Eighties that i learned of the Minimal Art collection and history of the Haags Gemeentemuseum.

Crucial for the collection was the interest of almost all modern art curators in Minimal Art. Starting with Enno Develing who introduced the key artists of the Minimal Art scene for the first time in a large exhibition in 1968. Among them Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Carl Andre and of course Sol LeWitt. Many of them would receive solo prentations in the years to follow, but this first time was a breakthrough for Minimal Art. The catalogue is arare book nowadays and i am lucky to have a copy for sale at www.ftn-books.com

After this first exhibition many exhibitions would follow. Enno Develing, Flip Bool, Rudi Fuchs and Franz Kaiser all took an interest in Minimal Art and because of this interest , exhibitions with LeWitt, Andre and Judd were organized in the decades after this first  1968 Minimal Art exhibition. I doubt that none was as important as this very first one, because after this first one Minimal Art was established as an art form, but another aspect that makes this first ( Develing ) exhibition important is that the relationship between the Gemeentemuseum and these artist was not only an artistic one.  The museum and its curators became friends with practically all Minimal Art artists, resulting in an ever growing collection of Minimal Art.

There is a nice link to a tribute to Sol LeWitt to be found over here:

http://www.gem-online.nl/files/media/gem/2016/sol_lewitt._a_tribute/ebook_sollewitt_web.pdf

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Herman Bieling (1887-1964)

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Born in Germany, but living near Rotterdam for almost his entire life, Bieling has somehow not become the great and well known artist he was expected to become. His art is a very personal kind of art. With influences of cubists and realism he composes paintings that are only part abstract , but for the most part one can recognize the scene.

left Bieling and right Boers

I have always been fascinated by Bieling, not that i want to own a Bieling for my collection , but more in a way that i think that Bieling stands for typical Forties art in the Netherlands in the past century. He is a kind of link between the “old” realistic” way of painting and the emerging art of abstraction. In the same way i am fascinated by Willy Boers, who is a far better artist and of who i think he was important in developing abstract art in the Netherlands. www.ftn-books.com has on both mentioned artists books available.

 

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Jean Messagier (1920-1999)

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Personally i think Jean Messagier was a true Avant Garde artist. He explored paths and ways of painting well before others did and researched and developed a kind of painting which was typical for his art.

An almost spontaneous movement with the brush makes paintings and watercolors that feel organic, but these works are far from spontaneous, but well thought over works of art . It is the same as with Hans Hartung. The works look existed from some movements with pencil or brush, but designs and sketches prove that the gesture is not spontane and the result not just abstract, but a very well thought over abstract composition which is enlarged for the painting.

The same with Jean Messagier works . It is not necessary to buy an expensive painting by Messagier, because the Maeght gallery made some very nice Derriere le Miroir publication with Messagier and www.ftn-books.com has one of the most sought after CARGO publications with work by Jean Messagier available at its site.

cargo 3 a

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Konrad Klapheck (1935)

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It is still not clear to me if i should call the art by Konrad Klapheck the german equivalent of Pop Art or German realism. …Just tell me what you think yourself?

Fact is that his art is highly recognizable and emerged in an era where ordinary items like typewriters and teakettles were blown up, abstracted and enhanced and painted on canvas. The art of Konrad Klapheck could be described as a typical “east german” kind of art the use of green and brown are very present in his paintings, but where this comes from is not clear, because he was born , raised and even studied in Dusseldorf. But his use of these specific colors makes this not the happy kind of Pop Art like the Pop Art of the Americans or the French, but a restrained kind of Pop Art. His subsequent paintings, often large in scale, are precise and seemingly realistic depictions of technical equipment, machinery and everyday objects, but strangely alienated; they are “monumental, amusingly absurd and sexually suggestive”.

Klapheck’s subjects through the years have included (in order of introduction) typewriters, sewing machines, water taps and showers, telephones, irons, shoes, keys, saws, car tires, bicycle bells and clocks. Influenced by Duchamp, Man Ray, and Max Ernst, Klapheck’s “ironic treatment of everyday mechanics” prefigures Pop art in its magnification of the trivial. www.ftn-books.com has some Klapheck titles available

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Giovanni Nicolai ( continued )

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This is to announce that FTN Art will represent Giovanni Nicolai with his art work.

From now on a selection of his art will be available in the FTN Art section of these pages. Feel free to contact me if you want more information. The start will be  a series of affordable sketches at euro 150,–. Executed in different techniques with Crayon , pencil and paint on paper. If you desire information on his paintings please sent me a mail and i will propose you  a selection of paintings currently available.

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Luciano Fabro (1936-2007)

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Luciano Fabro…an italian artist rooted in the ARTE POVERA and perhaps a little bit forgotten nowadays.

But Fabro stays very imortant for Modern Art, since his works are very much in line with other great artist from that era. Castellani and Manzoni were of great influence to him and in 1958, after he saw Lucio Fontana’s work at Venice Biennale, Fabro moved to Milan where he spent the rest of his life pursuing his artistic career.

Fabro was involved in the Arte Povera group, which was interested in experimenting with industrial and natural materials, focusing on process, language and the body. Fabro’s best known works were sculptural reliefs of Italy made out of glass, steel, bronze, gold and even soft leather. The signature unorthodox, ‘poor’ materials in his works include steel tubes, cloth, newspapers, and wax; the artist, however, often used also traditional and expensive art materials such as gold, marble, and bronze. At the height of the ARTE POVERA group, the Boymans van Beuningen Museum organized and exhibition with the works by Luciano Fabro and after this exhibition other exhibitions followed in the Netherlands. The catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Nicolas de Stael (1914-1955)

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Another artists artist is Nicolas de Stael. You can find some of his works in french museum and possibly there are some works in the Netherlands in collections, but the main part of his paintings that are in public collections can be found in French museum, because in France de Stael is known.  Undeservedly de Stael has not become the great name in art he deserves to be. He should be known worldwide , because his abstract art is a highly personal voyage through the landscape of Modern Art. In his short life he experimented with lyrical geometric abstract forms , using less prominent colors than many of his contemporaries.

Every decade there is another large retrospective exhibition in which is tried to explain the importance of de Stael, but so far without success. Still it is neccessary that curators from all over the world present again and again this groundbreaking atist until the greater public becomes familiar with his kind of forms , shiftings and paintings and starts to appreciate this great artist. Preferably not in a way that in every household a reproduction is hung on the wall because it is fashionable to have a “DE STAEL’ on your wall, but in a way that a large public can grow accustomed  to and appreciate this great artist. to start….

www.ftn-books.com has some great titles available