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William Turnbull (1922-2012)

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In some ways the stone sculptures of William Turn bull remind of the ones i saw last year by the late Joost Barbiers. Rough pieces of stone, worked over in a way that a different object is created and which blends with its surroundings.

( above right is by Barbiers)

But where Turnbull developed his art into a colorful and sometimes joyful abstract modern art. Barbiers stayed sombre and kept working over the rough pieces of stone. Both i appreciate but in the longterm i would like to have an original Barbiers only for the outside and place it in the garden and let it blend with nature, whereas an original Turnbull would be admired and cherished inside the house and becoming an important part of the collection of Modern Art.

In 1952, he was included in the Young Sculptors exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) which had become the focal point for new art in London. Turnbull, along with Paolozzi ( a colleague and fellow art student)and Richard Hamilton and others, became a member of the Independent Group, a splinter group within the ICA which became an important forum for discussion and debate. The Independent Group has been cited as a progenitor of Pop Art, but soon after Turnbull was far from being another British Pop Art artist, going his own way and developing an art and style of his own.

Unknowingly Turnbull must have had a great influence on another dutch painter. Willem Hussem must have been inspired by Turnbull’s paintings since some of his compositions use the same patterns and colors.

and Willem HussemSchermafbeelding 2018-08-20 om 14.19.18

There are some nice early William Turnbull publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Luciano Fabro (1936-2007)

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Luciano Fabro…an italian artist rooted in the ARTE POVERA and perhaps a little bit forgotten nowadays.

But Fabro stays very imortant for Modern Art, since his works are very much in line with other great artist from that era. Castellani and Manzoni were of great influence to him and in 1958, after he saw Lucio Fontana’s work at Venice Biennale, Fabro moved to Milan where he spent the rest of his life pursuing his artistic career.

Fabro was involved in the Arte Povera group, which was interested in experimenting with industrial and natural materials, focusing on process, language and the body. Fabro’s best known works were sculptural reliefs of Italy made out of glass, steel, bronze, gold and even soft leather. The signature unorthodox, ‘poor’ materials in his works include steel tubes, cloth, newspapers, and wax; the artist, however, often used also traditional and expensive art materials such as gold, marble, and bronze. At the height of the ARTE POVERA group, the Boymans van Beuningen Museum organized and exhibition with the works by Luciano Fabro and after this exhibition other exhibitions followed in the Netherlands. The catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Henri Laurens (1885-1954)

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A long time i thought Laurens was not that important for Modern Art, but since i have seen his exhibition at the Museum Beelden aan Zee  ( catalogue available at www.ftn-books.com), I changed my ideas about his work. At first i thought him to be heavily inspired by Picasso, but in this show i discovered he really has a personal approach to art and a “signature” of his own.

left Picasso and right Laurens

He was a French sculptor best known for his Cubist collages, sculptures of nudes, and busts. The curving forms and simplified features of his oeuvre are reminiscent of ancient greek sculptures, though he also drew influence from his friendships with contemporary artists Georges Braque, Amedeo Modigiliani, Juan Gris, and Pablo Picasso. Born on February 18, 1885 in Paris, France, Laurens first worked as a stonemason before taking drawings classes and developing a strong interest in the works of Auguste Rodin. From 1914–1915 and extending until after the First World War, Laurens experimented with still lives and various new media, using wood and iron and eventually graduating to terracotta and bronze. He then went on to participate in the Venice Biennales of 1948 and 1950, and had a retrospective at the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris in 1951.

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Fausto Melotti (1901-1986) and Paul Klee

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One of the nicest and arguably best published catalogues i discovered recently is the catalogue which was published on the occasion of the KLEE-MELOTTI exhibition at the Musea d’Arte in the city of Lugano ( Suisse) in 2013. Personally i think the Suisse excel in their exhibitions and their catalogues which are published with these exhibitions. Take Zurich, Bern, Basel and Lugano. All cities house tremendous beautiful museums and each of them has its specialities.

This Klee-Melotti Catalogue fascinates in 383 pages and shows the relations between both artists. I did not know Melotti that well because i rarely encounter publications on him, but as soon as i laid my eyes on his works he became an instant favorite. His rows of staged sculptures look to have no connection at all, but look closely and they become one sculpture….

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i really love an artist who works in this way. For me Piet Dirkx has the same qualities. Dirkx combines objects and colors and present them as one sculpture.

The Klee-Melotti catalogue is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Beuys published by Bebert

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Pablo van Dijk is an illustrious name in dutch publishing. van Dijk founded the publishing house Bebert ( named after the cat of Celine).

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This publisher took the initiative to publish many , now famous and widely collected, art publications. There were the Pandora boxes ( named after his former wife Pandora) containing a multiple of works by contemporary artists. Among them Mapplethorpe and Vautier, but there were also lesser prestigious publications commissioned by art institutions and one of them was EEN GESPREK. An interview with Joseph Beuys by longtime admirer and collector Frits Bless. The book was published on the occasion of the van Reekum exhibition in 1987. A typical Bebert publication, spiral bound with carton cover and with an original photograph on the cover by Caroline Tisdall.

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The edition….only 1000 copies so pick this up while there are still copies available. Two are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Barbara Nanning (1957)..organic shapes in glass and ceramics.

Born in Den Haag, Barbara Nanning made herself an artist career in glass and ceramic objects. With one contant…. almost all her works look to be inspired by nature and organisms. Just take a look at this screenprint from Google and see for yourself what i mean. The objects look like corals, shells, plants and organs. These are heavily inspired by nature and the feeling i get from them differs. Some of them i wat to touch and caress and with others i feel unease. It is nice that these feelings are called on to you and it is a certwain quality of the art of Babara Nanning. The is one artist who gives me the same mixed feelings as Nanning does. Emil Schumacher has the same effect on me ( see the blog on Schumacher from a few years ago).

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There is an excellent book on Nanning for sale at www.,ftn-books.com

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Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)

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I have always thought that the large sculpture outside the Congresbouw / World forum( by Oud) in Den Haag was a sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, but just a few years ago i discovered that i was mistaken and that the sculpture was by Pevsner.

My mistake and when you really look more closely there is a large difference between the art of these two artists. The Hepworth sculptures are much more related to the sculptures by her fellow student and contemporary artist Henry Moore and her later husband Ben Nicholson. There are quite a few sculptures of her in the Netherlands because in the sixties several exhibitions were held at which occasions her works were sold.  Some of the best Hepworth catalogues are available at www.ftn-books.com

The Tate gallery has an excellent introductory text on Hepworth which they published on the 2015 Hepworth exhibition. Here is part of tghis text, but you can find the complete introduction at

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/dame-barbara-hepworth-1274/who-is-barbara-hepworth

Who is she? 

Barbara Hepworth was a British sculptor, who was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire in 1903. She was a leading figure in the international art scene throughout a career spanning five decades.

Who were her peers?

Hepworth studied at Leeds school of Art from 1920–1921 alongside fellow Yorkshire-born artist Henry Moore. Both students continued their studies in sculpture at the Royal College of Art in London. Both became leading practitioners of the avant-garde method of Direct Carving(working directly in to the chosen material) avoiding the more traditional process of making preparatory models and maquettes from which a craftsman would produce the finished work.

From 1924 Hepworth spent two years in Italy, and in 1925 married her first husband, the artist John Skeaping, in Florence; their marriage was to last until 1931. 

From 1932, she lived with the painter Ben Nicholson and, for a number of years, the two artists made work in close proximity to each other, developing a way of working that was almost like a collaboration. They spent periods of time travelling throughout Europe, and it was here that Hepworth met Georges Braque and Piet Mondrian, and visited the studios of PicassoConstantin Brancusi, and Jean Arp and Sophie Taueber-Arp. The experience was a hugely exciting one for Hepworth, for she not only found herself in the studios of some of Europe’s most influential artists, which helped her to approach her own career with renewed vigour and clarity, but also found there mutual respect. The School of Paris had a lasting effect on both Hepworth and Nicholson as they became key figures in an international network of abstract artists. 

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Dennis Oppenheim (1938-2011)

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An artist i never heard of before , but since the exhibition of Alice Aycock in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag i know of him and his art and later of course i found out that there was an excellent exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in 1974, which catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

Why is that?…Oppenheim was married to Alice Aycock and many of the exhibition venues presented both these artist shortly after each other

And what about Dennis Oppenheim? For me Oppenheim stands for conceptual and performance art. His “earthworks” have become famous and on the cover of the stedelijk Museum catalogue one is depicted. BTW. the Stedelijk catalogue was designed by Wim Crouwel and he made it, because of the use of a beautiful impressive photograph of one of the earthworks, stand out from the rest.

If i compare both artist , I definitely have more interest in the large sculptures by Alice Aycock, but Oppenheim is important too and time will tell which of them will be the most important one…. my guess it will be the wife …Alice Aycock.

In 2011 Oppenheim died of pancreas cancer

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Basel…the perfect museum city

 

We always travel the Alsace in the second half of the year between September and December, visit the Christmas markets and pick up some wine at our preferred wineries. If ever we have some spare time and only if there is a nice exhibition, we go to Basel city. You do not need a special “vignet” if you do not travel beyond the Basel / Bale city limits. Certainly do not lunch or drink a coffee in Basel because prices are far too high, but instead visit one of the 3 famous museums within the Basel city limits. First there is the Beyeler Museum ( By Renzo Piano), which is beside the Gemeentemuseum my favorite museum of all time, second there is the Kunstmuseum and third but not least there is the Tinguely Museum ( by Mario Botta). All worth visiting. Entrance fee of all three museums is steep too, but when you save on your coffee and lunch these three museums are well worth visiting. www.ftn-books.com has publications from all 3 museums available.

beyeler america a

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Ewerdt Hilgemann (1938)

 

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For me Hilgemann was one of the first Zero artists i learned to appreciate, but there is so  much more to Hilgemann as an artist. Here is an excellent article i found on Hilgemann  at the Borzo site / www.borzo.com

Borzo still sells his works and perhaps now is right the time  for Hilgemann.

A child of about six in the war, Ewerdt Hilgemann searches through the rubble of the bombed ruins of his hometown Dortmund for shrapnel. He finds them interesting, exciting too, these sharp-edged metal splinters.

Forty years later, and now an artist, Hilgemann works in the marble quarries of Carrara (1975-1985). A truck transports a perfectly sawn one and a half metre cube of marble that he has carefully polished, to the top and then with a thunderous crash sends it toppling off the steep mountainside. And a marble sphere of a similar size, polished to a perfect sheen, has explosives inserted and is then blown up.

Both conceptual ‘performances’ are recorded on film. The artist creates perfect forms, which are then deformed using forces of nature: a sort of reverse creative process.

Thirty years later, in the summer of 2014, Hilgemann exhibits his Magnum Opus. In response to an invitation from the City of New York he places a series of implosion sculptures on Park Avenue. ‘Dancers’, ‘Triples, ’Flowers’ and ‘Cubes’, six metres high, gleaming in the sun, the deformed surfaces of these Titans of steel distort and reflect the overwhelming architecture of the buildings on each side of Park Avenue.

From his earliest days in a devastated Dortmund to the Park Avenue manifestation in New York, Hilgemann has been consistent in his fascination and his art. In his own words: “To deform a perfect shape without me hammering on it”.

From the start the cube and the square are his best-loved shapes. Hilgemann studies and comes to understand these solid forms. He learns it at the Saarbrucken Art Academy under his tutor Oskar Holweck. (In 1958 Holweck had joined the Zero movement, founded that year by Mack and Piene). Here the young art student Hilgemann learns to respect material and form in their most elementary states. Plasticity is achieved through the effect of light on the surface and the – mathematic – interventions performed thereon by the artist.

In 1970 Hilgemann and his wife Antoinette settle in Gorinchem and here a close friendship develops with Ad Dekkers, Marinus Boezem and herman de vries. In these days Gorinchem is apparently a hotbed for avant-garde art. Irritated – provoked even – by a conservative artistic climate in this small town on the River Merwede, these artists discover common ground for their minimalistic and conceptual ideas.

Their haven at the time is Riekje Swart’s legendary Amsterdam gallery. Hilgemann exhibits his white objects oriented according to mathematical studies here from 1966.

In 1973 the four artist friends – and their partners! – take the initiative for a much discussed and now legendary symposium, whereby the town wants to be a centre for “examining the position of the visual arts in our society”. Fifteen European artists stay together in Gorinchem for six weeks. These include now famous artists such as Kenneth Martin, Morellet, Panamarenko, Pohl, Prantl and Winiarski. Exceptional works of art, lectures and performances fill the town. For Hilgemann ‘Gorinchem’ is an extraordinarily significant period in which his art reaches full maturity and he also establishes his international orientation.

Hilgemann produces his first sculpture created through implosion in 1984 for the exhibition “Beelden aan de Linge” by collector Piet Cleveringa from the neighbouring town of Acquoy. He moves to Amsterdam the same year and from that moment on this visual language of imploded constructions will always typify the art of the ‘air-smith’ Ewerdt Hilgemann.

m has some Hilgemann publications available.