In the very long period that i am now active as a bookseller and collector i have seen many Alphabet books published and sold by the most famous of museums. Arguably one of the best, and certainly a personal best was the one designed by Gracia Lebbink. ( i only have a personal copy in my collection) but recently i bought another MUSEUM ALPHABET book which is nice and adventurous. It is the book published by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The museum published a 30 page hard paged book with details of some of the highlights within the collection, making the very youthful in a playful way familiar with the Museums collection. The book was designed and “written” by Gisela Voss and published in 1995 and is well worth collecting. There is nothing to be found on the internet on the author, but this book is one of a series of other books she made for the Boston Museum .This book is now available at www.ftn-books.com
The following blog has certainly to do with my personal fascination for the works of Tomas Rajlich. Rajlich has been a long time favorit of us and i was very happy that i finally could add the Art & Project Bulletin 134 from 1983 to our collection. Within the 4 pages the pages 2 and 3 are devoted to a beautiful golden composition with a fine mazed grid. This is a great composition and shows what Rajlich was doing at that time. Gold painted minimal compositions were painted and on it a grid in pencil was drawn. IN almost all cases the grid was 5 x 5 cm. squares in pencil. The Bulletin 134 is available at www.ftn-books.com
To be honest …i lost track of Jaap Berghuis in the last decades. Berghuis was educated at Ateliers 63 and one of the most promising young artists in the Seventies, but somehow after his shows at the gallery Art & Project, the collectors lost interest in his works and to me it now seems that this was not just.
Recently i encountered a truly wonderful painting at auction (i was outbid) and the amazing Art & Project BULLETIN publications that Berghuis made for van Ravesteijn and van Beijeren in their series of Bulletin publications. It shows now that Berghuis may have been ahead of his time since his painting now look as fresh as it must have been 40 years ago.
Mark Tobey is a great artist and well ahead of his time with his abstract painting. His works look to be coincidental, but these abstract paintings and drawings are far from accidentally. It is a bit like the painting by Hans Hartung. The sketches he makes are the starting point for the paintings. Tobey has influenced Jackson Pollock with his paintings, but never has become the household name that Pollock became after his death. Still his paintings are impressive and there are always parts to discover and admire. It is a way of modern painting, greatly influenced by Chinese calligraphy, that never grows old fashioned. It fascinates from beginning to end. Finding Tobey paintings in Europe is a hard job. There are some of them to be found in the Beyeler and Kunstmuseum Basel since he moved to Switzerland in the Sixties with his companion. But his paintings are rare, i am not completely sure, but according to my information, but even the Stedelijk Museum has no works by Tobey in its collection. They had an exhibition with Tobey in 1966, which catalogue was designed by Wim Crouwel and is one of the best Crouwel designed in the Sixties for the Stedelijk Museum (available at www.ftn-books.com), but that is all i could find. Still Tobey is well worth checking out, since he is the natural link between Jackson Pollock and the newest generation of Abstract painters.
Recently i acquired for my inventory one of the most important of all Calderara portfolio’s published just a few years before his death. It is the Tempo Spazio Luce portfolio published by the recently closed Galerie Nouvelles Images in 1975. The edition size, only 40 copies. 18 serigraphs….all signed with initials and numbered. Condition mint. I consider this period as Calderara’s best. The prints are as delicate as most of his prints from this period and these are not the small prints that are offered elsewhere but the large printed sheets that are 50 x 50 cm.
A beautiful and impressive set held togethjer in a special box, which is now 44 years and a rare offer for the Calderara fan. Box is Near Mint+, but all prints are in pristine /mint condition.
I am always looking for special publications on art and artists and this one i found with a Prague antiquarian. It is a publication on Hans Erni. There are nowadays many of Erni publications , ( Erni has become the oldest artist i have ever written about), but at the time of this publication in 1947 , Erni was hardly known and with this Czech publication had one of his very first publications realized. It is in its kind spectacular because the art within is presented in a small portfolio with 16 offset prints. Published by Vladimir Zikes in 1947 t….. a very nice and highly collectable Erni item.
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( wikipedia ays about erni) Erni was commissioned by the Lucerne Museum Fine Arts to organize an exhibit about Pablo Picasso. The Spanish artist remained grateful for that opportunity to show his art in Switzerland. In 1936 Erni started to work with abstract art. From 1940 to 1945 he was a soldier in the Swiss army and was engaged as a camouflage painter because of his experience with large-size murals. In 1948, he was a competitor in the 1948 Summer Olympics’ painting competitions. Between 1950 and 1952 he participated to exhibitions in Latin America. However his participation in the Biennale of São Paulo was not authorized by Federal Councillor Philipp Etter. After a stay in Mauritania and Guinea he painted African topics. In 1960 he organized with Alfred Pauletto, Celestino Piatti, Hugo Wetli and Kurt Wirth an exhibition in Olten about graphic design and painting. He participated to the 1964 Documenta exhibition in Kassel, in the graphic design department.
On 15 September 1979 the Swiss Museum of Transport opened a large personal collection of Erni’s works. He realized a 30 meter long mural for the Museum. Erni was very interested in sport and received the United States Sports Academy award of sport artist of the year in 1989. In 1993 his works were exhibited at the Pence Gallery in San Francisco.
He celebrated his 100th birthday in 2009. His sister, Maria Strebi-Erni (January 14, 1907 – January 29, 2014), died at the age of 107. Erni died on March 21, 2015, aged 106.
In an earlier blog I wrote something on the relation between Henry Miller and Pieter Brattinga, but there is much more importance found in the fact that Brattinga was a designer /publisher all by himself, who made some very prestigious publications in the late Fifties and early Sixties. Being the son of the director of Steendrukkerij de Jong he held exhibitions within the printing rooms of Steendrukkerij de Jong and even started his own publication KWADRAAT Blad making it an example of the qualities that the Steendrukkerij de Jong was possible of. In later years he organized numerous exhibitions and designed many other books and stamps for PTT ao.. Pieter Brattinga was important for the development of dutch graphic design from the last century. Many of the Kwadraat publications are available at www.ftn-books.com
Jacobus Willem (Ko) Oosterkerk. It has not been recently that Ko Oosterkerk was admired for his black and white , highly abstract etchings. Almost in a contstructivist way he builds his compositions, but always was free, where the constructivist set their limitations.
A few years ago (2016) there was an exhibition at the Kampen Museum, which showed all the qualities of his work through the years. Just have a look at all these wonderful works by searching with Google and you will be amazed how timeless these works are. I leafed through the van Abbemuseum catalogue from 1975 and noticed the quality of all his works. I can highly recommend this artist who is on the verge of becoming much more popular, but now still is very affordable.
Willem Sandberg has designed many publication for the Stedelijk Museum. Starting as early as 1939 until in the early 60’s he finished designing publications for the Stedelijk and Wim Crouwel took over this task. In those 25 years he rarely made a large sized publication. This book is the exception. In collaboration with Meulenhoff publishers the Stedelijk Museum published its highlights and asked Sandberg to be the designer. A Large sized book of 12.1 x 10.6 inches containing over 200 pages, linnen bound with dustcover. Sandberg took the typical elements ( use of multiple sorts of paper) of his Stedelijk designs and incorporated these in his own way into this much larger publication. The extra size makes the art even more impressive.
This book is now for sale at www.ftn-books.com and has been included in the ever expanding inventory of Stedelijk Museum catalogues. I know that sometimes these emerge and come to the market, but i rarely have seen one at a reasonable price. This one, includes the dustcover, which is almost every time missing ans it is now for sale. A Willem Sandberg masterpiece which has been under valued for far too long.
Artist/ Author: Oliver Boberg
Title : Memorial
Publisher: Oliver Boberg
Measurements: Frame measures 51 x 42 cm. original C print is 35 x 25 cm.
signed by Oliver Boberg in pen and numbered 14/20 from an edition of 20