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Robert Olaf Stoof (1945-1999)…and Real Free Press.

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Why this blog on a publisher? It is just plain simple…. Stoof is one of the most influential European publishers who paved the way for the alternative comic scene of which for instance , Joost Swarte, was one.

Robert Olaf Stoop was born in Amsterdam and grew up with his grandmother in Indonesia. He grew up to be a full-blooded anarchist, putting provocational pamphlets in the newspapers of non-suspecting travellers when he was working at the AKO in Schiphol Airport. He made posters for Provo magazine, and got involved with comics during the 1960s. In 1966, he self-published his comic ‘De Lotgevallen van Roza’, which can be considered the first European underground comic.

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He founded publishing house The Real Free Press in Amsterdam, “the lost connection for solid facts” which imported American underground comics and reprinted the work of long-forgotten geniuses such as George Herriman, Winsor McCay, Gustave Verbeck and George McManus. Stoop also published magazine De Real Free Press Illustratie, which featured many old and new comic artists, and ran from 1968 until 1974.

Olaf Stoop was one of the first to recognize the talent of Joost Swarte, and published his work in several forms, such as ‘De Papalagi’, which became famous world-wide, and Swarte’s first comic, ‘Modern Art’ (1980).

Stoop can be considered the founder of the Dutch alternative comics scene. An intriguing personality, he lived his whole life as an anarchist and a free mind. He died of a heart attack at the age of 52.

www.ftn-books.com has found of the Real Free Press papers with works by a.o Robert Crumb and has them for sale .

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Wim Crouwel / Total Design- 20 jaar verzamelen / Stedelijk Museum, 1984

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Followers of this blog know of my special interest in the publications of the Stedelijk Museum. I have many titles avaialable and ftn-books.com is one of the first sources that is consulted when it comes to publications of and on the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Yet…. one learns every day, even when you have so many catalogues by the Stedelijk Museum available as i do. It has been years ago that i last saw this catalogue which was published by the Stedelijk in 1984 which gives the best and complete overview of their collecting in the period 1963-1984.

Why is this important? Personally i think that this is the period in which the SM made their best and most important purchases. How about important acquisitions like the ones by Kelly, Dubuffet, LeWitt, de Kooning , Mangold , Lichtenstein and Warhol. Just a few names that belong to the most famous ones, but among the hundreds of these acquisitions there is so much quality art acquired that only with these acquisitions one can fill an entire collection and become  with this collection one of the most important Modern Art Museums in the world. The book was compiled by Joosten and designed by Total Design/ Wim Crouwel, which makes it even more worthwhile collecting . It is now available at www.ftn-book.com

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Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967)

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If it had not been for the exhibition “SPIRITUAL IN ART ” in the Haags Gemeentemuseum, i probably would not have known Ad Reinhardt. Of course now i know him because of the Bottrop / Quadrat exhibition which was very impressive, but for most people in Europe Ad Reinhardt is far less familiar. His works are spread all over the world and can be admired in public Museums. The Stedelijk Museum only has a handful of prints which makes his works hard to find in the Netherlands. Still whenever one encounters a Reinhardt painting it always impresses me . Perhaps that is the reason why i bought some 9 years ago a beautiful Geert van Fastenhout, which is far more affordable than the steep prices Reinhardt fetch at auction nowadays , also a painting with the symbolic cross. An item which is frequently used by Reinhardt too.

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In execution and intensity both painters are equal to each other. The difference…..van Fastenhout is known in France, Japan and the Netherlands, whereas Reinhardt is now known all over the world. www.ftn-books.com has recently added a beautiful German catalogue by the Kunsthalle Dusseldorf from 1972 , which includes an impressive original silkscreen with the depicting of the black/grey crosses.

 

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Pol Bury (1922-2005) and kinetic art

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Pol Bury, painter and sculptor, but his importance comes from his early participation in the Kinetic arts mouvement. It has been a long time before i appreciated Pol Bury art., but since i collected some of his Derniere Le Miroir publications by Maeght i started to know his works a little better and the time i saw one of his sculptures at Bottrop , i was convinced of the importance of Pol Bury for Modern Art. The sculpture i refer to is in the permanent collection of Bottrop and  acquired at the time of my visit the signed poster for the Bury exhibition in 1990. The poster shows the sculpture of the Bury kinetic sculpture. Like a giant flying saucer it stand in the middle of a pond , water coming out its opening. Mouvement and form , making it into a giant kinetic sculpture. This signed poster is available at www.ftn-books.com

Pol Bury about his own work:

Pol Bury: I see no point in revealing the technical details of the mechanism that drives the movement [in my sculptures]. We are too quick, nowadays, in this particular art form, to equip ourselves with the engineer’s compasses and slide rule. For me movement is a medium, like colour and line for painters. No one asks a painter for a chemical analysis of his chosen medium. The perception of movement should be immediate and obvious to the viewer; most importantly, the means used to create the animation should be invisible, and readily forgotten.

While making this blog on Bury i encountered an excellent site with many quotes on Bury and his importance. For those interested please visit:

https://www.christies.com/features/The-master-of-slowness-An-oral-history-of-Pol-Bury-6848-1.aspx

and the ones that want to inform themselves on Bury. There is a nice selection of publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Paul Schuitema (1897-1973) and dutch design.

Just a screenshot from my computer when i searched for some information on Paul Schuitema and instantly you see the importance of Schuitema for dutch design.

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Here it is the ultimate combination between a spectacular lay out, great typography and photo montage resulting in a highly recognizable style….this is Paul Schuitema. Schuitema a contemporary of Piet Zwart, was not as well known as Piet Zwart , but both did their ground breaking work in the Interbellum and can be considered as extremely important for graphic design. Schuitema differs from Piet Zwart.

Where Piet Zwart excels in Typography and lay-out, the photo montage is the part in which Schuitema excels. Both are important, not only because they are essential in the development of dutch design, but more and more they are recognized as being important for graphic design all over the world in general and their influence can be found everywhere. This imporance is underlined by orderes on these 2 artists from all over the world.

The Gemeentemuseum has both artists in its collection and because of the former curator Flip Bool , these collections are possibly the most important in the world.

When you come to the Netherland check the exhibitions at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, maybe you are lucky and there is a special exhibition on one of them. If not know that www.ftn-books.com has some nice books available on both these graphic designers.

 

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László Moholy-Nagy ( 1895-1946)

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László Moholy-Nagy  born László Weisz; July 20, 1895 – November 24, 1946) was a Hungarian painter and photographer as well as a professor in the Bauhaus school. He was highly influenced by constructivism and a strong advocate of the integration of technology and industry into the arts.

This is how the Wikipedia article on László Moholy-Nagy begins. I know the art by him as complicated constructions of threads and pieces of metal, but it was not until some 15 years ago that i discovered a book on his “photograms” and it immediately fascinated me. It was the link between painting and photography, showing details of hands and objects turning them into abstract works of art.

With his photograms, such as Photogram with Eiffel Tower (1925-1929), Moholy-Nagy experimented with the abstract potential of a traditionally documentary medium. The artist’s photography was also distinguished by its abstract qualities achieved through his bold experimentation with perspective. Among Moholy-Nagy’s three-dimensional works, the best known is Light Prop for an Electric Stage (1930), a mechanical sculpture that used light as a material and cast shifting shadows on the walls around it.

Www.ftn-books.com has some very nice László Moholy-Nagy publications available

 

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Wim Crouwel..design of the Atelier series for the Stedelijk Museum.

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The focus of this blog is on the covers of a very impressive series Wim Crouwel designed for the Stedelijk Museum during a period of roughly 14 years in the Sixties and Seventies ( between 1965 and 1979). This series has the typical Crouwel layout and typography and beside these elements these designs are ” clean” without any frills ….just function. These were done when the Total Design agency had their “GOLDEN YEARS” and Wim Crouwel was one of the most important members of Total Design ( founded in 1963). This is a great series of 16 publications . Some with loose pages in portfolio, others in the shape of posters or just ordinary booklets, but all have the quality design Wim Crouwel stands for. Most of these publications are available at www.ftn-books.com and if your are looking for other Crouwel publications search for them at the same site.

 

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Agnes Martin …the Islands (2004)

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Yesterday i spoke about the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop and their excellent poster publications. Today i will present the very best of them. It is the magnificent Agnes Martin poster for the “the ISLANDS’ exhibition. Executed as an original silkscreen this poster is a true work of art.

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Publisher: Quadrat /Josef Albers Museum, 2011 Measurements: 31.4 x 24 inches Condition: mint-

This is a highly collectable and important poster> not only because the exhibition was important, but because of the printing technique this is a masterpiece.

Poster and exhibition catalogue are both available through www.ftn-books.com

catalogue design by Walter Nikkels

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Manfred Mohr (1938)

 

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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.

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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.

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Piet Dirkx….the publications (1)

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During the time i filled my Piet Dirkx daily in the last 2 years, i frequently looked into the publications that i have on and by Piet Dirkx and each time it struck me that these were all quite special. Covers out of the ordinary, special binding and one even one resembling the famous Moleskine notebooks that Piet uses for his notes and drawings nowadays.

Some of these are still available at www.ftn-books.com. Not all are listed… so inquire for the ones in store, but if not in the inventory of www.ftn-books.com keep looking and searching for them , they really are still out there to be picked up.

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