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Hiroshi Sugimoto (1947)….杉本博司

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A few days ago i read an article on the portraits by Hiroshi Sugimoto and i remembered the book i had available at www.ftn-books.com. I searched for it and looked through it and noticed that style wise there is no difference the photographs he makes presently compared to the ones he made some 20 years ago. These photographs are truly fascinating and prove that Hiroshi Sugimoto is an outstanding photographer.

Here follows the article by Spencer Bokat-Lindell who makes his observations on the recently published “Portraits” book by Sugimoto.

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Hiroshi Sugimoto has spent a career photographing fictions. When he moved to New York from Japan in 1974, by way of Los Angeles, he intended to find work as a wedding photographer. Instead, he took his camera to the Museum of Natural History, where he developed a lifelong fascination with dioramas. He photographed the taxidermy there, already frozen in their meticulously staged tableaux, and, as he writes, “I realized that I too could bring time to a stop. My camera could stop time in the dioramas—where time had already been halted once—for a second time.” This doubling of perspective, which has since become a signature of Sugimoto’s work, can produce unexpected and uncanny transformations: a 1976 photo from his “Dioramas” series, for example, shows a stuffed polar bear on a faux icescape, looming over a seal, its teeth bared, as though ready to strike. Twice removed from its natural setting, the scene unfreezes. It could easily be confused for a photo of a real bear, a real icescape. “My life as an artist began,” Sugimoto writes, “when I saw with my own eyes that I had succeeded in bringing the bear back to life on film.”

Sugimoto achieves similar feats in his latest collection, “Portraits,” which will publish this month. For this series, Sugimoto traveled to the Madame Tussauds wax museums in London and Amsterdam, where he selected subjects that span some two thousand years of history. As in his Diorama series, the imposition of photographic distance has a kind of embalming effect on Sugimoto’s subjects, rendered somehow more lifelike in the act of preservation. “Photographs,” Susan Sontag once wrote, “are a way of imprisoning reality.” But in Portraits, Sugimoto uses his camera to opposite effect, creating counterfeit realities that give history back to the dead: “However fake the subject,” he writes, “once photographed, it’s as good as real.”—Spencer Bokat-Lindell

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Alfons Mucha (1860-1939)

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For me Mucha was a great way to start appreciating art. Together with Henri de Toulouse Lautrec ( roughly from the same period), Alfons Mucha was the artist i appreciated the most in my mid teenage period. Accessible art and still a little bit more avant garde than the Impressionist painters who were widely appreciated in those days. Mucha was THE Art Nouveau artist and together with some French and Belgian artist was the top in Art Nouveau art. The art of Alfons Mucha is highly recognizable. The use of women models who look straight at you is one of his trademarks.

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Since for me personally a lot has changed. From the accessible Art Nouveau by Mucha i made a “travel” through art history which resulted in appreciating Minimal and conceptual art. Still Mucha has a lot of quality and for those seeking a nice work by an Art Nouveau , please include the works by Mucha, since there are many extremely nice prints now available since this artist is copyright free. For those looking for some publications on Mucha , visit www.ftn-books.com

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Marrie Bot (1946)

 

Two reasons why i want to write a short article on Marrie Bot. The first is that Marrie Bot makes photographs that have one quality in common. Each photograph shows the essence of things. This is shown probably the best way in the series GELIEFDEN/TIMELESS LOVE. These are elderly couples photographed while they are making love. This is not arousing at all, but shows tenderness and one realizes, whatever age you have, that making love and enjoying, it is really timeless . But this is not the only series in which she excels. Her series of LOURDES is breathtaking too. www.ftn-books.com has some titles by Bot available.

The works by Marrie Bot have been included in many Public an private collections. among them :

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
The National Institute for the Arts,Amsterdam
Museum for Jewish History, Amsterdam
Museum for Art and Religion, Uden
Erasmus University, Rotterdam
The Print collection of the University of Leiden
Art Foundation of Rotterdam
The Municipal Archive of Rotterdam
The Municipal Archive of Amsterdam
Bibliothèque National, Paris
Municipal Collection Château d’Eau,Toulouse
Museum Nicéphore Niepce, Châlon sur Saône
Graham Nash Collection, Pasadena
Heineken Art Collection, Amsterdam
Helmut Gernsheim Collection in the Reiss-Engelhorn- Museum, Germany
Private Collections in the Netherlands and abroad

 

BTW. Just look at the resemblance i noticed between Marrie Bot and the painting Bertha by Pyke Kock ( over 60 years in between both portraits)

 

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Anton Pieck …de NEDERLANDEN

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Readers who know something about dutch illustrators most know the name Anton Pieck.

Pieck became famous by designing the Fairy Tale park of the original DE EFTELING amusement park. for which he designed the caracters and secenery. Beside de Efteling he is very well known in the Netherlands for his Romantic Dickensian illustrations of which many aere/are used as Christmas cards. But there is also a more serious “romantic” artist in Anton Pieck and this shows best in his books he illustrated on Amsterdam and specially the book DE NEDERLANDEN. It is the more romantic , but still original part of the Netherlands he shows in his drawings etchinsg and paintings. The book de NEDERLANDEN is available at www.ftn-books.com and personalluy i think this title belongs to the best of the books illustrated by Anton Pieck.

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Erich Heckel (1883-1970)

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Germany has a great history of Woodblock printing. Dürer was one of the arliest of great artists who used the technique but the 20th century had his own group of great aretists who used the technique. Tere were of course the rtaist of the BLAUE REITER, but there was also the group of the BRÜCker to which Heckel belonged. Heckel is arguably one of the most abstract Brücke artists, but his technique is as good as all the other together, Personally i like Heckel very much and this has resulted in a nice selection of publications available at www.ftn-books.com

Heckel and other members of Die Brücke greatly admired the work of Edvard Munch, and aimed to make a “bridge” between traditional neo-romantic German painting and modern expressionist painting. The four founding members made much use of the print as a cheap and quick medium with which to produce affordable art.

Primitive art was also an inspiration to the members of the Die Brücke. It was Heckel’s brother who introduced the group to African sculpture, and it is noted that their acceptance of primitive art, which was to fortify decisively the expressive yearnings of European artists- Was unequivocal. It is through this style that they found a source of strength in the barbaric figures.

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My personal bookcase

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I have had questions in the past….what is your personal interest in books?…. and…..you must have a very nice collection after so many years of being a bookseller. These questions and remarks can be answered simply. I have a large inventory of about 10.000 books that are for sale including some very nice and hard to find titles, but every book in my personal bookcase has a small story attached to it. There are books of exhibitions being held at the Gemeentemuseum while i was a publisher/bookseller at that museum and some were given to me by artists i collect.

About half of the books in my personal bookcase are very small publications related to the artists in our art collection and the remainder is about the artists i like very much and admire. I can say that none of them is very valuable, but for me these books are valuable and important, because they belong to the publication history of the artists i admire. Curious?….just “zoom in” on the picture and discover that of many of these titles i have multiple copies available at www.ftn-books.com. So make this your personal interactive blog and find/discover the titles at www.ftn-books.com

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Klaus Fußmann / Fussmann (1938)

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Klaus Fussmann is not very well known outside Germany, but still important enough to devote a blog to this painter. My interest in Fussmann grew when i bought a signed copy of a 30 years old book. It is interesting to see that his style developed into a much more abstract approach to his subjects. If i must compare his works it might me with the later works of the dutch painter Contant. Both found a more realistic style in their paintings with lots of abstract elements. I think Fussmann’s fame stay in Germany only and not cross the border, but for those interested in this fascinating painter, know that www.ftn-books.com has some nice (signed) publications available.

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Nicolaas Petrus de Koo (1881-1960)

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de Koo was one of the most important of all PTT employed designers. He started as an interior and book designer, but soon after found his way into designing for the dutch postal service PTT. PTT has a long standing history with the best designers in the Netherlands. Schuitema, Piet Zwart and also de Koo have had their history with PTT.

( Piet Zwart designed HET BOEK VAN PTT, available at www.ftn-books.com)

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de Koo designed some of the most iconic of all PTT designs. Among them letterboxes,  printed matter, labels and signs.

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The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag had a special exhibition on de Koo in 1988 and with it a very nice thini catalogue was published for this occasion. The book was originally published in 400 copies, but there was no interest in this publication and at the time the Berlage building was renovated , all of the remaining copies were destroyed. My guess is ther are some 100 copies being sold over time, making this one of the rarest of all Eighties publ;ications of the Gemeentemuseum and i now have an excelent copy for sale at www.ftn-books.com

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Gerard Petrus Fieret / Foto en Copyright Vol. 2

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Gerard Petrus Fieret Foto en Copyright volume 1 is arguably the most important recent photography publication from the last 20 years in the Netherlands, but there is also Volume 2 from 2010, of which i now have some copies in stock. It is an even beautiful and nice publication as the volume 1 is. The volume 1 is sold out even with the atiquarian booksellers and it is a rare book to find, but now i have the Volume 2 available and still at a reasonable price. So buy your copy when there still is a chance to add it to your collection of photography books.

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Josef Albers ( 1888-1976 ), an invitation

 

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It was sold within 24 hours to a customer in Arizona, but this is so important i want to share this with you. In 1968 there was a Josef Albers exhibition at the Landesmuseum in Munster (Germany). For thiss exhibition. Josef Albers made a special print for within the catalogue and the smaller version for the invitation to the opening. Both were silkscreened prints. If you are lucky you will find a catalogue, but the invitation is probably one of the rarest Josef Albers collectibles and here it is……

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There are other Josef Albers items still availabel at www.ftn-books.com