One of my first blogs was devoted to the museum Belvedere where i encountered some wonderful paintings by Gerrit Benner. This blog is solely devoted to Benner because he deserves it. His paintings are among the first abstract paintings which still hold a link with realism in the Netherlands . These paintings are definitely inspired by nature. Skies, meadows and even an abstract cow can be determined in the compositions. Benner is a painter “pur sang” who’s works are rooted in the dutch tradition of abstract paintings. For instance Mondrian used these abstracted landscapes in his own painting from the early 20th century.
on the left a painting by Benner with Red cloud on the right Landscape with Red cloud by Piet Mondriaan
Benner is a great painter who deserves to be known outside the Netherlands and for those visiting the Netherlands. When you visit the Stedelijk, Gemeentemuseum, Belvedere and Museum Twente you surely will encounter a Benner painting in their permanent collections.
Another discovery from the Josef Albers Museum/Quadrat Bottrop is the artist Manfred MOhf of whom i had not heard until 8 years ago, but who i discovered at the Quadrat Museum, because they had some very nice limited prints available. Later i remembered that he also featured within the Blank Page set which i acquired some 25 years ago for my personal collection.
Mohr is a digital Art pioneer and strangely enough this has no relation at all with his early years as an artist in which he was a jazz musician and action painter. I really love the works by Mohr, because they look simple compositions and almost the same , but when you look at the closely you will notice the difference and subtle changes which result in a completely different composition.
The publications by MOhr have all the same qualities. Oblong sized and showing these little differences in sequence resulting in a different composition. I love these kind of books. Small editions, artist like books, in most cases designed by the artist and really showing what the art is about and www.ftn-books.com has some of these books by Mohr available.
Mel Ramos made hyperrealistic paintings , but if i had to decide what kind of artist he was , i would rather say he was first and foremost a Pop Art artist.
Ramos is best known for his paintings of superheroes and voluptuous female nudes emerging from cornstalks or Chiquita bananas, popping up from candy wrappers or lounging in martini glasses.
Ramos was among the first wave of Pop Art artists who gained recognition for their art. His art was hidden for a long time for us dutch. No publications were available and the nude paintings/illustrations we had in magazines over here were practically all done by Alberto Vargas, the famous Playboy illustrator, but none by Mel Ramos
Ramos received his first important recognition in the early 1960s; since 1959 he has participated in more than 120 group shows. Along with Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, he was one of the first artists to do paintings of images from comic books, and works of the three were exhibited together at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1963. Along with Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, Tom Wesselman and Wayne Thiebaud, Ramos produced art works that celebrated aspects of popular culture as represented in mass media. His paintings have been shown in major exhibitions of Pop art in the U.S. and in Europe, and reproduced in books, catalogs, and periodicals throughout the world.
PS. i started to write this blog knowing for sure i had a great publication on Ramos in my stock, but unfortunately it was sold some years ago and it is not available any longer at www.ftn-books.com
Here is my 3rd input to my FTN blogs on Giovanni Nicolai. We developed a very more than friendly contact and this time we helped each other. Giovanni paid with some of his drawings part part of his invoice with 3 new drawings to our collection. 3 beautiful drawings were added. I learned to appreciate his drawings and paintings over the last year. Since he expressed his interest in his fellow artist Massimo Rao (1950-1996), who we both admire, i traced his works and found them interesting, original and classic all at the same time with a very personal approach to drawing. His classic men’s heads look to be rooted in the 17th century, but they are not , these drawings are classic drawing of modern perhaps a little androgyn men. If you are interested please let me know and i will gladly supply you with the information i have on this contemporary young italian artist… and now the 3 new drawings.
Stylized paintings are a trademark of Julian Opie. In the Netherlands one would compare him with Joost Swarte who uses a thick outline for his drawings. With this he emphasizes his compositions and makes it look stylized, but still realistic.
He is a very influential figure on the British art scene in the 1980’s who created humourous art. His sculptures have been said to be a cross between architecture and art. His portraits had a pop art feel to them and his most famous piece is probably the cover of a Blur album. Julian Opie’s work is extremely distinctive and although many people have created pieces of work inspired by him, you can always tell that his work has been made by him from the block colors and simple facial features and the thick black lines. His minimalist portraits are so unique because of the simplicity of them.
On the left there is an example of Opie on the right there is an example of Swarte.If i must describe the portraits by Opie…these are simplified portraits of the essence of a face The same technique as Joost Swarte uses but less realistic and more suitable for the use in comics and illustrations.
www.ftn-books.com has some Julian Opie titles available
Perhaps not very well known is that Pat Andrea had a career as an illustrator before his paintings rose to fame . Interesting to know is that the strange atmosphere and surreal situations in his paintings have an origin and that origin is his many illustrations he has made during his life. In the Seventies a series of books by herman Pieter de Boer were published by Elsevier in which all illustrations were done by Pat Andrea.
The series was quite popular but the quality of the illustrations was realized by many after Pat Andrea had received a retrospective abroad and people could see the link between the illustrations and his larger scaled works. The series is hard to find nowadays ( www.ftn-books.com has it available) and for those that understand and can read dutch the stories are all excellent and a little bit like Roald Dahl short stories, but for all remain the illustrations within each volume. Each book contains approximately 25 illustrations all exclusively done by Pat Andrea and all specially made to fit the story. I love these illustrations, because in many of them one can recognize later subjects for is beautiful paintings. These books deserve to be collected.
Eli Content …Born in Switzerland , but living for most of his life in Amsterdam, has become somehow a local known artist. He is world famous in Amsterdam. His art is rooted within the Jewish fate, but apart from that you can look at it without knowing that background and what is left is “pure” abstract painting. His commissions are in many cases religion related . For instance he decorated the Portugese Synagoge in Amsterdam and the titles of his work reflect in many cases his Jewish background.
Eli Content is represented by galerie Onrust in Amsterdam and www.ftn-books.com has one title on Content available.
This brilliant title is given by William N. Copley to a painting he made in 1966. Copley must be one of the wittiest artists.
He had no trouble at all in finding or coming up with original titles. ( a little like Piet Dirkx/ follow the Piet Dirkx daily at this blog). I love Copley and artists who can come up with original and fun titles for their works. Compare the above and for example” Mount Venus and the Hula-Hula Graces in the Glade” to titles like composition I and composition II. This does not mean that “composition” is a worse painting, but when there is a story in a title it says something about the artist himself. Looking for some more great titles for paintings? visit www.ftn-books.com for other Copley publications.
( and search within my blog to find another blog on Copley)
I once read a story of a collector who had sold over half of his collection to finally buy his ideal “dream” painting. It was a painting by Philip Guston. I knew some of his works because i had some books in my inventory of www.ftn-books.com, including the Sandberg designed stedelijk
Stedelijk Museum catalogue, but could not understand why one wants to trade in half of a collection, collected over decades, for a Philip Guston.
I finally had a chance to see some of these painting a few years ago and i must say i was impressed by them. Personally i would not sell half of my collection, but these works have a strange appeal. A little like the Dubuffet paintings. They are ugly but bold and they represent another world. A world which can only exist in the artist mind.
Anton Pieck, perhaps the best known illustrator in the Netherlands was responsible for the artistic creations in the very first Efteling amusement park. The Fairy Ttale forest was executed after the designs and illustrations by Anton Pieck and he stayed partly responsible for all the extensions of the forest and the new attractions until the late Seventies. Pieck his career is one of many disciplines. He foremost was a book illustrator, but later his illustrations were used in greeting and birthday cards. What people do not know is that he was also a gifted graphic artist and painter. Personally i do not think he was the best from his generation. I prefer the simplicity of Rie Cramer with her thick outlines, but i fully understand why Pieck is so popular. His scenes are scenes from a long forgotten world, but a world which is still associated with the country side i the Netherlands. There are still a few places which look like true Pieck villages like Doesburg/ Deventer, but his illustrations stand for a long forgotten world and scenes like in his illustrations are nowhere to be found anymore.
For those seeking the atmosphere and possibly some nice merchandise. Visit the official Anton Pieck Museum in Hattem.
Last Sunday me and Linda visited the Tomas Rajlich exhibition in the Boijmans van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam. I had to see it , because i am a long time admirer of the works by Rajlich. Fundamental paintings almost like Minimal art , Rajlich stayed loyal to his monochrome paintings, with or without a grid with or without a very precise space of 5 cm. in between the lines just paint. I admire his gold paintings with the pencil grids, but his grids can appear in very different ways. white lines, black lines, pencil or painted with the fingers or the entire hand. The ones in the Boijmans have a vertical grid which is applied with some sort of comb and like the smaller sketches/drawings in the adjacent room, glitter is applied on the surface which gives an extra dimension. Still the execution of the paintings is almost the same like some 30 years ago.
Look at the details of one of his gold paintings and the much more recent red painting. At the bottom of the painting it looks like paint is dripping from the canvas. as if all sites matter except the bottom. Rajlich is for my personally one of the most fascinating artist whom i have met and his art is timelesss. I am glad this show is organized with a great and impressive overview of some of his best recent paintings ( 2003) which he has lent on an extended loan to the Boijmans van Beuningen.
Painting was declared dead in the early 1970s. Tomas Rajlich (1940) opposed this notion and revived painting by making the act of painting itself the subject of his canvases. In 1975 he was one of the most important exponents of Fundamental painting: a collective term for works in which idea and materials are inseparable. Rajlich still considers himself a Fundamental painter and has continued to develop as such to the present day.
The grids that were so characteristic of Rajlich’s early works seem to have disappeared from his recent monochrome canvases. The grid has become simply one of the elements, like the paint, glitter and linen that Rajlich uses to build up his extravagant paintings.
Since the early eighties i admire Geer van Velde. When i first entered our offices at the Gemeentemuseum, there was original art on the wall . Chosen by employees of the Gemeentemuseum the painting on the wall of our offices was an original large painting by Geer van Velde.
Geer van Velde was Bram van Velde’s younger brother they differ 3 years in age but their art differs even far more. Both influenced by fellow artists also living in Paris, Geer became known for his paintings winning Prizes and being admitted into the Salon des Independants . He is considered to be a member of the Ecole de Paris. The works by Geer van Velde are highly recognizable being abstract but still showing some realism in them. The use of color?? subdued not the bright colors his brother is known for. They come from the same nest but their works could not be more different .
Where Geer was known and admired is his early years, the case with Bram was totally different. It is now since 30 years that the works by Bram are more admired. They are “classic” made in the 50’s , 60’s and 70’s, but study them closely and you will sense that they belong in the present. These are bold and highly sensitive paintings. Both these van Velde brothers have their qualities, but maybe, in the long run, i prefer Geer.