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Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967)

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If it had not been for the exhibition “SPIRITUAL IN ART ” in the Haags Gemeentemuseum, i probably would not have known Ad Reinhardt. Of course now i know him because of the Bottrop / Quadrat exhibition which was very impressive, but for most people in Europe Ad Reinhardt is far less familiar. His works are spread all over the world and can be admired in public Museums. The Stedelijk Museum only has a handful of prints which makes his works hard to find in the Netherlands. Still whenever one encounters a Reinhardt painting it always impresses me . Perhaps that is the reason why i bought some 9 years ago a beautiful Geert van Fastenhout, which is far more affordable than the steep prices Reinhardt fetch at auction nowadays , also a painting with the symbolic cross. An item which is frequently used by Reinhardt too.

left Reinhardt/ right van Fastenhout

In execution and intensity both painters are equal to each other. The difference…..van Fastenhout is known in France, Japan and the Netherlands, whereas Reinhardt is now known all over the world. www.ftn-books.com has recently added a beautiful German catalogue by the Kunsthalle Dusseldorf from 1972 , which includes an impressive original silkscreen with the depicting of the black/grey crosses.

 

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Herman de Vries/ Random Shapes cat. 578

 

This is one of those catalogues that has become famous. When i started collecting Stedelijk Museum catalogues some 20 years ago. The first “lot” i bought contained 2 of these and my first thought was….who in the world is interested in these catalogues, but his has changed over the years. 2 reasons….

1st. Herman de Vries has become one of the most important artists since he first presented his works in the Stedelijk Museum.

2nd. What i did not realize at that time, but which is realized by many nowadays is that these catalogues were not a catalogue at all, but true multiples that were published on the occasion af an exhibition. Among them, Soto, Hamilton, Paolozzi, Arp, Calder and…. certainly this RANDOM SHAPES by Herman de Vries.

It was published with no 578 and contained a white cover which contained a see through envelope containing the Random shapes by de Vries a6 page folder with explanation in dutch made it complete.

The Random Shapes has become iconic for the Stedelijk Museum catalogues and finally after a long time i managed to find me another copy which is available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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(Reinier) Lucassen (1939)

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Possibly the best known member of the NEW FIGURATION mouvement in the Netherlands is Lucassen. If i must describe his art, it is a mix between geometric colorfield and daily household objects like screens, plants and kitchenware, add some comics into it , stirr it and you have an early Lucassen painting .

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Later he developed this style into a very authentic and recognizable personal style. Making abstract compositions with shapes, numbers and letters. These paintings are intuitive compositions combining , more or less at random elements from his direct surroundings, but these can not be recognized as such. The compositions, titles, execution are like small poems executed on canvas.

www.ftn-books.com, has a large selection of Lucassen titles including the catalogues he made for his galerie Espace exhibitions.

 

 

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Arie van Geest (1948)

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Without realizing i have collected a beautiful small collection with works by Arie van Geest. Born in Maasland he stayed in the region and had several studios in Rotterdam. The friendship with Pat Andrea shows in his early works which were a little surreal, but in the mid eighties he changed in the approach of his painting. His works became abstract with realistic elements and that is the time i met Arie and bought my first drawing. Together with Mariette Josephus Jitta, as the curator in charge, he made the Tableau Mourant exhibition in which 98 watercolors were shown. This series was later bought by the van Gogh Museum. For the exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum 2 editions were made. One “ordinary edition” designed by Paul Stoute and the other a linnen bound one, with a drawing/watercolor by van Geest.

The style changed dramatically and personally i prefer this “new” Arie van Geest above his more realistic style. He stayed loyal to this new found abstract style for almost 20 years and changed again to a more a realistic way of painting in 2002. All three periods are important, but when you look at the museums that bought Arie van Geest ( Gemeentemuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Boymans van Beuningen ) , They all made their acquisitions in the abstract period, except for the Athens Museum which made purchases from his most recent period. Arie van Geest was represented by Delta Gallery. He now has frequent shows with Livingstone gallery.  I have decided to sell part of my Arie van Geest works, so please have a look at FTN art and for the book related material visit www.ftn-books.com

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Charlotte Dorothée barones van Pallandt (1898-1997)

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One of the more classic sculptors in the Netherlands. She is probably the most well known sculptor from the last century. Possibly the reason is, that it is believed that she gave lessons to the young Princess Beatrix , who is a gifted amateur sculptor herself and has always admired van Pallandt.

For me van Pallandt stands for one of the very best catalogues the Stedelijk Museum has ever published and Eja Siepman van den Berg, who was the first to win the Charlotte van Pallandt prize for sculpture. van Pallandt is a classic sculptor and a great technician, but besides her fantastic technique, i always get the same feeling when i see her sculptures. I am a little bored. Great for a first look , but when studied for a longer time i loose interest where as the sculptures by Eja Siepman van den Berg grow on you and with every possible angle and lighting the sculpture shows itself differently and fascinates. Better judge for yourself…..On the left a van Pallandt portrait , on the right ” stapje” . by Eja Siepman van den Berg.

One exception… the statue by van Pallandt of the former Queen Wilhelmina…almost abstract in its approach, but the outline and posture are certainly that of Wilhelmina. See it from a distance and it is an abstract blur, come closer and it is Queen Wilhelmina determined to lead a small country.

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www.ftn-books.com has some publications on van Pallandt available including the mentioned Stedelijk Museum catalogue.

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Larry Bell (1939)

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The last day in this cycle of blogs on Forgotten artists. The 5th blog is devoted to Larry Bell. I was in doubt if he really is forgotten, but concluded that at least in Europe he is forgotten. Where he had an initial important exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in 1968, for which Wim Crouwel designed the catalogue his name never showed up again in the Netherlands for participating in an exhibition ……but on the other side of the ocean it was different and his fame rose in the US from the early Seventies until now. The cubes he has made are magical and are a long time element in his oeuvre.  This is what he says on his site on his Cubes.

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CUBES

Larry Bell became interested in glass in the early 1960s. As a medium, it had three properties that interested: it could transmit, absorb and reflect light, and with specific treatment, it could do all three at the same time. He found the cube to be an ideal form with which to investigate the phenomena of light on surface. The first cubes were made using household mirrors from which he would scratch away parts of the reflective material. Later he discovered a plating process that would make the glass reflective on both sides. With the early cubes, he incorporated geometric imagery, including the ellipse, adding visual complexity and depth to the simple forms. Eventually he eliminated the imagery. With a technology that deposited exquisitely thin films of various metallic and non-metallic substances to the glass. The resulting visual spectrum of colors is in fact light reflected in different wavelengths off the surface of the glass. Bell has continued to revisit the cubes throughout his career.

To end : there is a discount code on every purchase of 10% for the readers of this blog.

use: forgotten10    and you will receive the discount on your order/ valid until the 30th of June 2018

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Pieter Laurens Mol / Cervo Pendulum

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Sometimes you know a book exists, never seen it, but from stories heard and publications read there is only one conclusion…it must be out there…somewhere.

Cervo Pendulum by Pieter Laurens Mol is such a publication. I learned the book was printed by Rosbeek. At the times i visited this printer in the late Nineties i had never seen a copy. All the times i visited book fairs, markets etc….no copy found. But now finally after over 24 years  i have a copy at www.ftn-books.com available.

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This book is rare, that is for certain, but it is also important. It is one of those little artists books which is worth collecting. Printed by Rosbeek and published on the occasion of the opening of the new medical faculty building of the University of Utrecht. Edition is said to be 250 copies only and of these few will have survived. Text is in dutch and in english, which makes this important book accessible to english collectors too.  An absolute “must have” for the Pieter Laurens Mol collector and it is not very likely that it will show up again in the coming years.

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Fernand Leger…wegbereider ( 1957)

If there is one book book from the Fifties published by the Stedelijk Museum and designed by Willem Sandberg, it is the catalogue no. 158…Fernand Leger / Wegbereider. The typography and book design is typical Sandberg and “stunning” and to mark the end of January this book is for a limited time (until the 5th of February) for sale for only $ 25.00 when you use the discount code “Sandbergforonly25”

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More Leger and Stedelijk Museum publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Jasper Johns (1930)

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Another great artist who surfaced in the Sixties was Jasper Johns. Starting his career at the end of the Fifties , he soon became one of the best known and expensive artists from his generation. At one time one of his flag paintings was the first to fetch an incredible 10 Million dollars at auction, making it the most expensive painting by a living artist.

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Now we are accustomed to these crazy prices collectors are paying for art, but at that time is was unbelievable that a living artist could fetch such a price. Because of his popularity Johns soon had an exhibitions in the Netherlands at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. A special print exhibition and this exhibition was for me personally the perfect one.

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It was one of the first exhibitions i ever visited in the Stedelijk. I had an interest in graphic art and , young as i was,  a rookie in the world of art, i had no idea of prices. I thought i could afford a small print. But no way, these were far too expensive for a young starting collector. What remains?   … i still have the catalogue for sale at www.ftn-books.com and cherish it together with my personal copy. Book design was done by Wim Crouwel and it is available at www.ftn-books.com together with other Jasper Johns titles.

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Paul Schuitema (1897-1973) and dutch design.

Just a screenshot from my computer when i searched for some information on Paul Schuitema and instantly you see the importance of Schuitema for dutch design.

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Here it is the ultimate combination between a spectacular lay out, great typography and photo montage resulting in a highly recognizable style….this is Paul Schuitema. Schuitema a contemporary of Piet Zwart, was not as well known as Piet Zwart , but both did their ground breaking work in the Interbellum and can be considered as extremely important for graphic design. Schuitema differs from Piet Zwart.

Where Piet Zwart excels in Typography and lay-out, the photo montage is the part in which Schuitema excels. Both are important, not only because they are essential in the development of dutch design, but more and more they are recognized as being important for graphic design all over the world in general and their influence can be found everywhere. This imporance is underlined by orderes on these 2 artists from all over the world.

The Gemeentemuseum has both artists in its collection and because of the former curator Flip Bool , these collections are possibly the most important in the world.

When you come to the Netherland check the exhibitions at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, maybe you are lucky and there is a special exhibition on one of them. If not know that www.ftn-books.com has some nice books available on both these graphic designers.