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the brilliant “Jong Amerika Schildert” catalogue from 1958

The year is 1958, …the curator Willem Sandberg. The exhibition JONG AMERIKA SCHILDERT, organized by the Stedelijk Museum together with the Museum Of Modern Art,

This is arguably Sandberg his most important exhibition, because this was for the years to come the foundation under all Stedelijk Museum Exhibitions. The artists list now reads like an all time greatest list with many of them record breaking artists. Not only in auction results, but certainly with the total number of exhibition visitors. Just some of the now very famous names who were not that well known in those days. Pollock, Newman, Rothko, de Kooning and Kline are now among the most appreciated artists ever and all were in this one exhibition. Willem Sandberg wrote history with this exhibition and what makes the catalogue even more worth wile is not only the typical Sandberg design but the special art  by Pollock and Gottlieb which is used for the cover. This catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Felix Vallotton (1865-1925)

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Felix Valotton is without a doubt one of those less familiar names in Modern Art, but still he is very important for the development of modern Art as we know it, because when you look at his works more closely you can discover the fundaments of abstraction.

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In 1893, he became a member of Les Nabis, a semi-secret, semi-mystical group of young artists, mostly from the Academie Julian, which included Pierre Bonnard, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Maurice Denis, and Édouard Vuillard, with whom Vallotton was to form a lifelong friendship. While the Nabis shared certain common ideas and goals, their styles were quite different and personal. While he was a member of the Nabis, he kept his distance; his jocular title among the Nabis was “The Foreign Nabi”, [10] Vallotton’s paintings in this period reflected the style of his woodcuts, with flat areas of color, hard edges, and simplification of detail. His subjects included genre scenes, portraits and nudes. Examples of his Nabi style are the deliberately awkward Bathers on a Summer Evening (1892–93), now in the Kunsthaus Zürich, and the symbolist Moonlight(1895), in the Musée d’Orsay.

His paintings began to be noticed by the public and critics; Bathers on a Summer Evening, presented at the Salon des Indépendents, was met with harsh criticism and laughter.  But they also woodcuts also attracted considerable and growing attention and clients, and he became financially secure. Between 1893 and 1897, he received many commissions for illustrations from notable French newspapers and magazines, including La Revue Blanche, and from foreign art publications, including The Chap-Book of Chicago. He also made woodcuts for the covers of theater programs and book illustrations. One of his prominent patrons was Thadée Natanson, the publisher of the Revue Blanche, and his wife Misia, who commissioned many important decorative works from the Nabis. Through the Natansons Vallotton was introduced to the avant-garde elite of Paris, including Stéphane Mallarmé, Marcel Proust, Eric Satie, and Claude Debussy.

During the Nabi period, he also produced a remarkable series of woodcuts. His woodcut subjects included domestic scenes, bathing women, portrait heads, and several images of street crowds and demonstrations—notably, several scenes of police attacking anarchists. He usually depicted types rather than individuals, eschewed the expression of strong emotion, and “fuse[d] a graphic wit with an acerbic if not ironic humor”. Vallotton’s graphic art reached its highest development in Intimités (Intimacies), a series of ten interiors published in 1898 by the Revue Blanche, which deal with tension between men and women. Vallotton’s woodcuts were widely disseminated in periodicals and books in Europe as well as in the United States, and have been suggested as a significant influence on the graphic art of Edvard Munch, Aubrey Beardsley, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. In 1898, he produced one of his most important series of woodcuts,

By 1900, the Nabis had drifted apart. One source of the division was the Dreyfus affair, the case of a Jewish army officer falsely accused of aiding the Germans. The Nabis were divided, with Vallotton passionately defending Dreyfus. He produced a series of satirical woodcuts on the affair, including The age of the Newspaper,which were published on the first page of Le Cri de Paris on January 23, 1898, at the height of the affair.

Another major event during this period was his marriage to Gabrielle Rodrigues-Hénriques, a upper middle class member of the Paris artistic and social elite. The union also brought to his household three children from her previous marriage. After a brief honeymoon in Switzerland, they moved to a large apartment on near the Gare Saint-Lazare train station. He also established a solid relationship with the Bernheim family and their gallery, which presented a special exhibition devoted the Nabis, including ten of his works. The marriage brought him financial security, and he gradually abandoned woodcuts as his main source of income. Thereafter he devoted his attention almost entirely to painting. www. ftn-books.com has some titles on vallotton available.

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Jan van Munster (1939)

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Jan van Munster stands for me personally as the artist who experimenst with Neon and Pyrographics and using these to create Minimal objects and sculptures. I noticed his works for the first time when a work of him was presented at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. It weas a neon sculpture and made in an edition of a few copies and for sale at the museum shop. Unfortunately i did not have the insight at that time to buy it, but the memory remains, because it was the first van Munster i had seen. This is not the easiest of art to admire, but once you follow his career and search back throught the decades that he has made his art, you conclude that he always stayed true to his origins. One of the characteristics that keep reappearing is that he uses frequently two elements on his covers of the catalogues that are published with his works.

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First…many of his covers are embossed and second. ….in many cases there is a special Pyrographic made/burnt into the cover of his catalogues, making these original, one of a kind works of art at a more than reasonable price. www.ftn-books.com has some nice van Munster titles available.

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Graham Sutherland (1903-1980)

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When i looked for information on Sutherland I found this excellent article on the WIDEWALLS site.

One of the leading British artists of the 20th century, Graham Sutherland was widely known for his prints and paintings. Despite some other names coming to mind before him when talking about the art history, such as David HockneyFrancis Bacon, or Lucian Freud, there was a time when Sutherland ruled undisputed. From mid-1930’s, when he established his identity as a modern painter, to the 1950s, when his influence began to wane, there was a widespread consensus amongst fellow artists and critics that Sutherland was the most exciting and compelling voice in contemporary British painting.[1] He was even commissioned to paint a portrait of Winston Churchill, in what turned out to be one of the most famous cases of the subject disliking the artwork, which eventually led to its destruction.

Sutherland’s artistic career included several significant changes in direction. After specializing in engraving and etching, he began achieving fame as a printmaker. His early pastoral prints display the influence of the English Romantic Samuel Palmer, whereby prefiguring Sutherland’s later involvement within the Neo-Romantic movement in Britain. However, the famous 1929 Wall Street Crash bankrupted many of his collectors, thus forcing Sutherland to turn to other sources of income. He worked as an illustrator until he visited Pembrokeshire, becoming completely captivated by it, and subsequently, turning to painting as a primary medium for his expression. The artist continued to draw inspiration from Pembrokeshire countryside and its enthralling anthropomorphic natural forms for the rest of his life.[2] When working on landscapes, Sutherland’s working method included seizing on a detail such as a dead tree, boulder, thorn bush, everything that according to the artist, required a separate existence. He would sketch this on the spot, and later a studio painting would evolve. Sutherland wasn’t the first to do so – many landscape artists before him had done pretty much the same, but his studio hand moved considerable further from what his outdoor eye had seen. Neo-romantic at the core, his work inspired others such as Paul NashJohn Craxton, and John Piper. Over time, Sutherland began to reveal himself as a vivid colorist with an original sense of harmonies. He somewhat banished the dark and heavy tones which he had used earlier, though preserving the sharp black and white oppositions and using acid pinks and mauves, orange and light blue, emerald, chrome yellow, and scarlet.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice Graham Sutherland titles available

 

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the early Andy Warhol (1928-1987)

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Andy Warhol is known for his Pop Art and Factory years mostly, but at one time there was an early Andy Warhol . An artist who tried to survivve by taking up illustration jobs and what i personally like about these years is that his art is more poetic, you can even call it “sweet”. Cats, boots, lace everything that was in later years not used as an art object you can find in these early years.

Perhaps artistically these are not the strongest years of Warhol as an artist  and certainly not the most appreciated, but his drawings are very detailed and in some cases amazing. The cats and shoes are lovely, but for me nothing out of the ordinary. But how about these 2 heads…one a detailed pen drawing the other almost the saem but filled in with gold leaf, making it a spectacular drawing and a drawing to admire.

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There are not many books on these early years available, but there is one i can truly recommend. It is a german catalogue for an exhibition held in 2000 in the Hamburger Hof, where the Marx collcetion of early Warhol was presented. The book is availabel at www.ftn-books.com

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the oldest Stedelijk Museum i have in stock is on Aug. Legras

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To be honest … i had never heard of Legras before, but the catalogue is impkrtant enough to add it to my inventory. Since this is rare. Published in a time that the world was at war and the Netherlands was neutral. What struck me, is that like many of his fellow artists Legras was charmed by North Africa. he visited countries and villages and translated his observations into drawings and paintings. This catalogue is special and a very welcome addition to all who collect the Stedelijk Museum catalogues.

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Stuart Davis(1894-1964)

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Not many Europeans are familiar with the works by Stuart Davis. Davis is for the Americans the equivalent of what matisse is for the Europeans. Of course Matisse is far more known than Davis ever will become, but study his works closely and you can similarities between the appraoch of the composition and the elements within the composition. Sandberg was an admirer so was Gielijn Escher

left Davis/ right Gielijn Escher

 

Rudi Fuchs wrote an excellent text on Stuart Davis in the Stedelijk Museum Bulletin from 1998 . The publication is available at www.ftn-books.com. It explains why Davis works are lesser known , but for me the conclusion was …please give me more. These works are fascinating and a joy to look at.

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The article below comes from Wikipedia:

Stuart Davis, (born December 7, 1894, PhiladelphiaPennsylvania, U.S.—died June 24, 1964, New York, New York), American abstract artist whose idiosyncratic Cubist paintings of urban landscapes presaged the use of commercial art and advertising by Pop artists of the 1960s.

Davis grew up in an artistic environment. His father was a graphic artist and art editor of a Philadelphia newspaper, where he worked with William J. Glackens, George Luks, John Sloan, and Everett Shinn, all later famous as members of the Ashcan school of American painting. His parents encouraged his interest in art, and at age 16 he quit high school to study painting in New York City under Robert Henri, leader of the group known as The Eight (later absorbed into the Ashcan school), whose teaching emphasized the importance of taking subject matter from urban life.

By 1913 Davis was competent enough to show five watercolours in the Armory Show. This was the first large exhibit in the United States of avant-garde European art, and the event marked a turning point in his career. Over the next few years he strove to achieve the compositional order, nonimitative colour, and shallow picture space characteristic of the new European painting. He began to experiment with collage (a recently invented technique of making compositions from bits of paper and objects glued to a surface) and sometimes varied the usual process by making paintings of his collages, as in Lucky Strike (1921), finally arriving at a completely nonillusionistic style, which culminated in his Egg Beater series of 1927–30.

In 1928 Davis traveled to France, where he spent a year painting relatively realistic street scenes in Paris. Back in the United States during the Great Depression of the 1930s, he developed a new style based on the rhythmic contrast between geometric areas of flat colour and objects clearly defined in linear perspective. During these years, Davis was an outspoken opponent of fascism and, in 1938, became the national chairman of the American Artists’ Congress.

After the mid-1940s, Davis produced many of his most important works, such as The Mellow Pad(1945–51) and Little Giant Still Life (1950). These meticulously planned and executed paintings possess a wit and gaiety in contrast to Abstract Expressionism, the then-dominant style of art. Davis was inspired by taxis, storefronts, and neon signs. The dissonant colours and lively, repetitive rhythms in his work can be seen as visual analogs to jazz music, which he loved.

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Lawrence Weiner (1942) + discount

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Lawrence Weiner and the Netherlands is a combination which now exists for almost 50 years. His connections with dutch directors and curators is legendary and he has made several special projects with them in dutch. Weiner is considered as a post minimal artist and one of the founders of Conceptual art and that is the reason why his works blend so well within the collections of the more important dutch museum. The van Abbemuseum, Stedelijk and Gemeentemuseum have all works by Weiner in their collections.

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But Weiner is much more than a conceptual artist. He is a book designer and poet at the same time  and these little sketches with words can be blown up into facades and objects with words. One of the most memorable to me was the facade at the Ljubljana Modern Art museum with a Weiner object on one of the outside museum walls. Impredssive, recognizable. So to celebrate the longtime history that Lawrence Weiner has with the Netherlands there is a discount this week of 10%  on all items at www.ftn-books.com . use the discountcode : LawrenceWeiner10 and receive a 10% discount on all items including some marvelous Lawrence Weiner publications.

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Ed van der Elsken ( continued )

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A just reason to devote another blog to Ed van der Elsken. Van der Elsken is without a doubt one of our greatest photographers from last century, but what makes van der Elsken special for me personally is that his photographs are the scenes and events i remember from my youth. Artistically they are among the very best, but emotionally there is an extra quality for me personally. The exhibitions showing a selection of his best color photography is now on show at the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam ( https://www.nederlandsfotomuseum.nl) and is very well worth visiting. In the cellar there is an extra asset to this exhibition….. a 15 minute slideshow which is among the very best and informative slide shows i have ever seen. The exhibition is on view until the 6th of October 2019.

www.ftn-books.com has some classic van der Elsken books available.

 

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Chaim Soutine (1893-1943)

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Soutine is what you call an artists artist. Somebody who fame grew because of the admirations of his contemporary artists. For me personally stands for three moments in time . All related to art. The first was a moment i witnessed the auction of a Soutine painting in the mid Seventies nad i was amazed because it fetched  an unexpected serious high bid, The second was when i read the spectacular story by Roald Dahl. The one in which a sailor is tatooed on his back by Soutine and an art dealer who tries to obtain this painting and last the timne i visited a dutch gallery and saw a painting of a dead ox by Marc Mulders and it instantly reminded of the Soutine paintings i had seen at one time. ( left Soutine/ right Marc Mulders)

Now i finally have another Soutine catalogue available. Soutine publications are scarce and this one is once again part of my inventory . Now it is for sale at www.ftn-books.com . This is the first one i found in the last 10 years.

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