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Hans Bellmer ( 1902 -1975)

Hans Bellmer poster
Hans Bellmer poster

Is Bellmer a dadaist or a surrealist painter?

A discussion which is held for decades now, but to me he is more  a surrealist artist than a Dada one.

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Born in Poland, but living most of his life in Paris he led a secluded life and died a lonely man in 1975. After his dead the appreciation for his art began. Books were published, exhibitions held and his works were sold all over the world, but during his lifetime he was not that well known, nor popular because of his chosen subjects.

Finally in the last decade of his life he was considered one of the leading surrealist artist from his time and specially the photo series on the doll/ “La poupée”  he made received international praise. His main theme in practically all of his works is an erotic approach to his subjects. Fetishism, voyeurism and sado masochism can frequently be found in his subjects, but the erotic content is not easily discovered. In most cases you have to study the composition of the work to distinguish the erotic parts within.

Finally in 1959 and 1964 he received some recognition by being invited for the Documenta in Kassel.

From 1953 Bellmer lived together with the writer Unica Zürn . A sad relationship , lonely , without any social activities, living in a secluded way in hotel de l’Esperance in Paris. Unica threw herself out of the window in 1970 and Bellmer died a lonely man in 1975. A sad life of a great artist . If you do not know anything about Bellmer start with Wikipedia and learn something about him and begin to discover the surreal world he has created.There are some great titles at www.ftn-books.com to be found on this fascinating artist.

 

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Vera Molnár and computer art

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Yesterday i added a very nice publication on Vera Molnar to my inventory and realized that she was the artist i was most impressed with the time i visited the Vasarely Museum in Budapest. Molnar born 1924 studied with the art school of Budapest and was one of the first artists worldwide to experiment with computers in her art.

In 1968 she began working with computers, where she began to create algorithmic paintings based on simple geometric shapes geometrical themes.

Patterns and compositions were made with help the computer and since, her art developed in something very special.

In the 1960s, Molnar co-founded several artist research groups: GRAV who investigate collaborative approaches to mechanical and kinetic art, and Art et Informatique, with a focus on art and computing. Molnar learned the early programming languages of Fortran and Basic, and gained access to a computer at a research lab in Paris where she began to make computer graphic drawings on a plotter, several of which are included in a 2015 retrospective exhibition in New York called “Regarding the Infinite | Drawings 1950-1987.

Her works are now found in collections and museums all over the world, but the best museum to see her works is the Vasarely Museum in Budapest.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice Molnar publications in its collection. including a signed and original print.

molnar

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Walt Disney in Art

Yesterday, the post on Wim Delvoye made me think about the influence Walt Disney had on art during the last 50 years. The influence must be extremely large because many of the great Modern artists from the last half century used Disney icons for their art. Wim Delvoye made me think about this relation because his signature is crafted after the original Walt Disney signature. But there is also Jeff Koons who uses Snow White and Mickey Mouse.

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The skull that is in the picture is a combination between 2 iconic elements in art. The skull by Damien Hirst and the ears of Mickey Mouse. Kitsch, art and a laugh combined in one work…..beautiful ;-). Andy Warhol began making silkscreened prints of Mickey Mouse , when he realized that beside the celebrities he used for his silkscreens he made in the factory, Mickey Mouse was such a celebrity too and needed to be depicted in a large silkscreen to honor him.

Just about a year ago the art world was surprised with a complete new amusement park. Dismaland…. a Disney inspired park by the famous Banksy in which he uses Disney themes and make these his own by making his own interpretation on these classic Disney themes and gives comments on the world around him.

Finally Keith Haring…..Haring uses the Mickey Mouse ears almost every time he makes a selfportrait. Showing that his art is rooted within the comic art of Walt Disney….great art by great artists and all inspired by the master of animation and comics…Walt Disney.

 

 

wilfried / www. ftn-books.com

 

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Anni Albers

 

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

She chose her own way and always has made her art in the shadow of her husband…Josef Albers. When you first see her work, her works are far more complex than those of Josef Albers, but where Josef uses the square and rectangle as his main subjects, Anni choses more complex patterns. They look like patterns in fabric, woven and knitted but all with a regularity and balance. No wonder, because Anni Albers was one of the foremost textile artists from the 20th century. Whenever you visit the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop you can encounter some nice works , but for the larger part of her oeuvre you have to be in the USA where she found many loyal admirers. www.ftn-books.com has some nice titles on both, but will focus this time on Anni Albers, because she deserves it for being the original artist she was.

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Victor Vasarely

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It must have been the early 70’s. There was an art dealer in the Hoogstraat in The Hague, who had in his window 2 silkscreen prints by Vasarely. I thought them wonderful, but lost interest in them because the edition size was 100 numbered /signed copies. At that moment i never had heard of art published in an edition. Nowadays it is common practice. Artists make a living out of these editions and people can purchase an affordable original piece of art. I should have bought them at that time, but time passes and one forgets about these. All of Vasarely’s works are practically forgotten in the 3 decades to follow, but now in the present days, Vasarely works are sought after and well worth collecting…even the one’s which are published in editions of over 100 copies.

Vasarely has become one of the leading artists from the Geometric Abstract art/ optical art movement and the interest in his works is well deserved. With a highly original point of view and approach to Modern Art he has made many beautiful and impressive works of art and you can encounter them in all the large museums of the world.

When you travel Budapest do not forget to visit the Vasarely museum on the outskirts of this town. ( half an hour by tram ). It is not a museum as we nowadays have grown used to, but the art by Vasarely within this “basic” Museum is fantastic and the best OP ART you will seen gathered within one place .

It even has in a showcase one of the Kriwin catalogues which is depicted below.

It is nice to know that the Vasarely catalogue published by the Stedelijk Museum has on the backside of the cover an original relief print in black and white. (above)

wilfried

www.ftn-books.comwww.ftn-books.com

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Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita teached Maurits Cornelis Escher

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Did you know that Jessurun de Mesquita was the teacher of M.C. Escher?

Escher developed his woodcutting skills under the supervision of Jessurun de Mesquita. From both sides there was a great admiration and respect for the other and Escher wrote the text on the commemorative exhibition Jessurun de Mesquita and Mendes da Costa received right after WWII in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. An exhibition curated by another “star” from the forties an fifties, Willem Sandberg. Sandberg started right after WWII with this exhibition because he wanted to show the world the great loss of these 2 great jewish artists that did not survive the war. But lets focus on the works by Jessurun de Mesquita. Technically one of the very best at that time and with subjects that stood very nearby daily life and some surrealistic / Sensivistic drawings.

Many animals were depicted because the Artis Zoo was allways nearby and a much appreciated source for all his animal drawings and woodcuts.  Nature, art deco and the best possible technique in the art of the woodcut print resulted in almost all of the cases in the best dutch art prints from that time.

Some excellent publications at www.ftn-books.com and for those reading the blog and want to order the very special Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita by Wassenaar/van Es  from 1928. Use the code JESSURUNes and receive 10% discount on this title. Only 1 available and valid in september 2016.

This title from 1928 is the highlight in the book publications by Jessurun de Mesquita. It contains 2 original woodcuts on the inside and one original on the cover ( owl).

There is one other publication i can recommend and it is the monograph on Jessurun de Mesquita by the late Jonieke van Es, who wrote it and put one of the most complete catalogue Raisone’s together on any artist. This one for Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita is very special indeed.

And finally . for all readers of this blog….I have a nice set of Jessurun de Mesquita available 7 postcards for $15.00 including Worldwide shipping.

wilfried

www.ftn-books.com

jessurun set a

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Günther Förg and the gallery van Krimpen edition.

The year 1988…the exhibition…the first major Günther Förg exhibition organized by the Haags Gemeentemuseum and curated by Rudi Fuchs. On show large lead paintings with constructivist patterns on them and emphasized by Günther Förg his photography of blown up architecture and portraits. Impressive exhibition and one of the first Fuchs curated for the Gemeentemuseum. In Amsterdam a little earlier in time, Wim van Krimpen,  who became director himself of the Gemeentemuseum, organized a Günther Förg show and published with this show a beautiful set of lithographs in a very small edition of 25 ( 1987). Large sized sheets of quality paper printed with 4 typical Günther Förg works. I bought the set and had it on the wall for over 10 years, removed it from the wall and forgot about it until….Wim van Krimpen became the director of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and i told him we had met before on the occasion of me buying this set in his gallery. He said i was lucky to have the complete set. I asked him why. He told me he stocked what was left after the show in his basement to “save them for a rainy day”, but unfortunately he had a leakage in his basement and all were damaged and destroyed. I asked him how many series there were left within the edition and he told me that more than half was destroyed. This would mean that only 10 copies of each print have survived.

A great loss, but still there are some to be found if you keep searching for them 😉

Günther Förg publications are of course available at www.ftn-books.com

wilfried

and….

PS. I searched years and years for a second set and finally found one ….it is now for sale.

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Jesus Rafael Soto and the Josef Albers Museum

A few years ago we went to the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop. An excellent museum with a small museum shop. Small but with a very interesting inventory. The shop sells catalogues and prints from over 20 years of Josef Albers Museum exhibitions and some of them are rare and collectable. Beside the books they have a publishing program of A0 posters for each of the exhibitions they organize. Inside these editions they have the artist sign about 10 copies and sell these separately at a higher price plus……….they publish their own special editions.

On my first visit i bought a very nice silkscreened poster by Jesus Rafael Soto, signed and one of the 3 available. Half a year ago we went again for a visit and i had hopes for 2 more of these beauties , but too late…they had sold out. However i was lucky, because the special edition of the Soto print , signed and numbered by Soto was still available. Unfortunately at a much higher price than anticipated, but  still too good to be true, so i bought it. It now is for sale at www.ftn-books.com  (inquire for more pictures).

The Soto is one of those prints that will be in high demand in the next 10 years, but beside this Soto, there are many more extremely nice posters published by the Josef Albers Museum. If you live outside Germany they can not/ will not sell you because they only sell within Germany, but there is a selection of these posters/prints available in my shop , because i chose some for my stock. Search for Quadrat / Bottrop or Josef Albers Museum and you will find about 35 of them for sale……and the signed SOTO sccreenprint.

 

wilfried

www.ftn-books.com

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Loustal….the crossover between comics and art.

From the early eighties on i a am an admirer of the french comic book artist…. Jacques de Loustal, better known as Loustal. He invented a comic book art form which is based on illustrations in which a complete scene/story is drawn within one drawing and with these illustrations he tells a complete story and challenges your imagination. Now his books are published all over the world. In the Netherlands they are mainly published by Oog & Blik, but in his early days his books and prints were almost all published in his native country France. One of the books that really stands out is WHAT HE EXPECTED OF HER. an adult view on marriage and relations. A highly recommended title of this fascinating artist. Available at www.ftn-books.com

 

wilfried

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M.C. Escher….not only prints

Maurits Cornelis Escher was one of the most gifted pupils of Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita (1868-1944). His teacher died at the end of WWII in a Nazi concentration camp and was commemorated by Escher in a text which was published in a catalogue on the art of Jessurun de Mesquita and Mendes da Costa  ( 1863-1939) who had an exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam right after the war to honor them both.

This is believed to be the first printed text by Escher. The catalogue with this text is still available at www.ftn-books.com

and is one of the first to be published by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam after WWII. Since, Escher has had many other publications with text and of course prints , but the text on his former teacher is special and touching. The design of the book is done by Willem Sandberg himself and all these ingredients put together in one publication makes it very special indeed. I very much like the works by Jessurun de Mesquita and admire the artist he was. His woodcuts are fabulous and when you admire the Escher prints, do not forget that perhaps his teacher Jessurun de Mesquita was even a greater artist, but unfortunately has not become as famous as his pupil. ( later this month a blog on Jessurun de Mesquita with a special offer).

wilfried