Willem De Kooning(1904-1997) is a dutchman

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For many people in the US , Willem de Kooning is an American painter , however ….for us dutch, de Kooning is a dutchman. Born in Rotterdam and educated at the Rotterdam evening academy and working for the METZ department store as an interior decorator until he decided to go to the US in 1926. He went as a stowaway and would become the abstract expressionist painter we admire. He met artists from and became part of the Abstract expressionist mouvement. Meeting with Pollock, Still, Rothko and Newman made him aware of his qualities as an abstract painter developing a style of his own and building an important oeuvre from there on. He never lost touch with his homecountry the Netherlands and this resulted in a large and very important collection of De Kooning paintings in the Stedelijk Museum. Edy de Wilde was the director who made this happen and it is the luck of the visitors of the Stedelijk that in one spot they can discover and admire so many excellent De Kooning paintings.

and for some nice publications on De Kooning visit www.ftn-books.com

Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) at Tate Modern

I just received by Blouin art info the announcement that a large Giacometti retrospective will be held at Tate Modern. read the Blouin article below:

Tate Modern, London presents a retrospective exhibition of works by Alberto Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966), celebrated sculptor, painter, and draughtsman, traced the shifting enthusiasms of European art before and after the Second World War in his remarkable career. As a Surrealist in the 1930s, he devised innovative sculptural forms, sometimes reminiscent of toys and games. As an Existentialist after the war, he led the way in creating a style that summed up the philosophy’s interests in perception, alienation, and anxiety. Although his output extends into painting and drawing, Giacometti is most famous for his sculpture. He is perhaps best remembered for his figurative works that helped make the motif of the suffering human figure a popular symbol of post-war trauma.

The exhibition reasserts Giacometti’s place alongside the likes of Matisse, Picasso, and Degas as one of the great painter-sculptors of the 20th century. Through unparalleled access to the extraordinary collection and archive of the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris, this wide-ranging exhibition brings together over 250 works. It includes rarely seen plasters and drawings which have never been exhibited before and showcases the full evolution of Giacometti’s career across five decades.

The exhibition is on view through September 10, 2017 at Tate Modern, London, Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK.

Alberto Giacometti publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

 

Lee Bontecou and Will Leewens

It was for over 3 months in my mind that i had to visit the Lee Bontecou exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, but because of a full schedule i had to wait until the last day of the exhibition, which was yesterday. I already bought the catalogue , but did not look into it, so all works on exhibit were new to me and i must say that more than half was very impressive. There was a large Sandbox filled with little objects, the wall with sketches and some wall sculptures and “mobiles” which were very impressive, but part was sketches and other little objects which were far less fascinating, some even boring.

What struck me was that artists all over the world must influence each other. Here is an example of a work by Will Leewens and the one by Bontecou. Colors, size and even some of the 3d objects look the same. Both are finished in the early sixties and although i doubt that they have known each other . I ams sure bot were influenced in some way by others and excecuted their works in a similar way.

 

The exhibition is history now, but what remains is a great catalogue which is still available at the Gemeentemuseum shop and of course for older publications on Bontecou and Leewens you can visit www.ftn-books.com

Max Beckmann (1884-1950) …a new auction record

A few blogs ago , i argumented that auction records do not justice to the art itself. A record does not automatically mean that the work is of interest or belongs to the best the artist has ever made. But there are of course exceptions. On June 27 Christie’s London  achieved a record for a Max Beckmann painting.   “Hölle der Vögel (Birds’ Hell)” 1937-38 was sold to American art dealer Larry Gagosian for £36,005,000 / $45,834,365 / €40,865,675.

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Beckmann’s “visceral response to the rise of the Nazi regime in his native Germany is one of the most striking and important expressionist paintings ever made, because it comments on the political situation in Germany. He painted the painting in his Amsterdam studio. It is filled with symbols  The nude men scratched and mutilated, youth in the background bringing a Hitler salute and the Hell birds guarding the naked man. If ever there was a comment in art on the rise of Nazi Germany , it is this painting. It was part from an American private collection and probably become part of another private collection again and this is a pity because a work as important as Birds’ Hell should be visible to the public.  Is it worth as much money as now paid for. I don’t think so, …….but what an important painting this is.

Beckmann publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

Jan van der Vaart and the Wim Crouwel catalogue ( and of course Eva Besnyo).

 

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The picture by Eva Besnyo above, i encountered in a Museum Bulletin from 1999 in which Marjan Boot wrote an article on Potst and sculptures. Van der Vaart is a highly original ceramic artist who’s quality is the shapes he created his ceramics in. Forms and shapes which were never before used as a ceramic form, but van der Vaart invented them and made them into real ceramic objects.

The pictures tell a far better story than i can, but there are some remarks to be be made about this blog and the life and exhibitions by van der Vaart. First there is this great photograph of van der Vaart working which was made by Eva Besnyo and secondly one of the most beautiful catalogues Wim Crouwel ever designed was the van der Vaart catalogue from 1975.

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There are of course some other books available at www.ftn-books.com

, but this catalogue is very very impressive and in perfect condition.

Fernand Leger (1881-1955)

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I am still in doubt for myself if i must consider Leger as one of the great artists from last century…or does he uses a ‘Trick” to compose and impress with his paintings. If one sees an extremely large sized work …it is almost in every case impressive, but as soon as it is a smaller one, the attraction is gone. I will show this with to examples. The first painting is roughly 3 x 4 meters and in the collection of the Fondation Maeght. The send is Trois Camarades in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. The first has typical figures by Leger with an abstract pattern painred over them….. a beautiful and impressive Leger. The second one, is for me far less appealing and a “flat” painting.

Make up your mind yourself on Leger , but know that there are some excellent publications available at www.ftn-books.com including a famous Sandberg designed catalogue

Sculpture 10 days… Day 9 ..Tom Otterness (1952)

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Can sculpture be fun too?….Yes it can. Look at the works by Tom Otterness. Comic like figures, tumbling, standing, cheering, next to eachother Executed in bronze or other materials these sculptures are to be enjoyed…this is great fun. There is on the seaside in Scheveningen Museum Beelden aan Zee and they have on the outside of the building a large complex work by Otterness. This is free to visit and a must see for every art tourist in Scheveningen.

For books on Otterness take a look at www.ftn-books.com ( only one copy available)

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