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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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Josef Koudelka….not only a Magnum photographer.

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Czech nationality and now 78 years of age, spanning a photography career of over 55 years, multiple exhibitions all over the world, Koudelka has become one of the most important photographers in modern photograph. Street scenes and the Romani ( Gypsies from Romany) are subjects he has become famous for. Not only a Magnum photographer but also a photographer who found his subjects among people he cared about. They were not only his subjects. In the photographs you could see that he could come very close by and had become more of  a friend than the photographer who followed his subject.

I thought about Koudelka because i found a very interesting article about Koudelka in which is explained what the 10 most important lessons were Koudelka has taught a fellow photographer.

http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2013/03/28/10-lessons-josef-koudelka-has-taught-me-about-street-photography/

this is what the author Eric Kim says about Koudelka and i totally agree with him.

“To me, Josef Koudelka is one of the most brilliant photographers out there and a true master of black and white. Not only does his work carry a strong sense of composition, form, and geometry but they also carry an emotional impact. His photos are raw, gritty, and show both the hope and melancholy of life”

If you are interested in modern photography you must look at these breathtaking and intriguing photographs and certainly you will agree with me that this is a true master of black and white photography.

wilfried

book below is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Victor Vasarely

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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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Ellsworth Kelly

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The opening exhibition at the Museum Voorlinden will be an Ellsworth Kelly exhibition. I read this morning, that there are some very special drawings of the MOMA on loan within the exhibition. An exchange granted because the Museum Voorlinden lent their best of their Broodthaers drawings to the MOMA.

The weather is extremely nice in the Netherlands the last couple of days . If the weather stays like this and if we have some time we certainly go to visit the museum and their gardens by Piet Oudolf in the coming weeks and look for ourselves at the Kelly exhibition. I know that i have met him once when he was in the Netherlands for the opening of the Spiritual in Art exhibition. He even signed a catalogue for me, but i cannot remember the person, except that this was a friendly man. Since, i only know his works from the catalogues within my inventory and the occasional painting on show in the permanent collections of the larger museums in Europe.

This will be a great occasion to finally see more of one of the best Modern Artists from the last century.

( to be continued )

wilfried

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

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Pablo Picasso and Guernica

 

schermafbeelding-2016-09-08-om-19-32-09Personally i am not a great fan of Picasso. I understand his importance for Modern Art, but somehow he never appealed to me very much. One exception . In 1937 Picasso painted GUERNICA. The first time i saw this extremely large painting was in 1977 when i visited New York with my father. It was breathtaking!

So much to see in this painting. I shows the city of Guernica while it was bombarded by the Condor legion of the Luftwaffe. Pure panic and chaos on every painted part of the painting. This is a painting you must see in reality, because the sheer size is breathtaking already. It was one memory i brought home with me.

About 12 years ago the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag had the studies for Guernica in a special show and even on these much smaller studies you can see the struggle of the painter and the power of the subject.

A few years ago we went to the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid and saw this masterpiece again. The same experience…still breathtaking.

When you look at this painting you can see that it has influenced many painters. . For one, there is a dutch painter  ” Willy Boers” who borrowed the theme with the horse and made his own version of chaos and despair. The painting is called “La Quintessence” dated 1947/1948, 10 years after Guernicia was painted and is depicted in DOORBRAAK VAN DE MODERNE KUNST IN NEDERLAND. Can you spot the similarities too?

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wilfried

www.ftn-books.com

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DYLABY…Raysse+Tinguely+de Saint Phalle+Rauschenberg

DYLABY stands for Dynamisch Labyrint. It was one of the iconic sixties exhibitions (1962) in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam . A melting pot of modern art with some of the greatest names. Tinguely, Niki de Saint Phalle, Robert Rauschenberg and Martial Raysse. Planned “chaos”, but once you take a closer look and study the plan which came with the exhibition catalogue, you can clearly see that everything is planned. It now is over fifty years ago, but what still remains is the catalogue…. not only a souvenir, but an important art historic document, because of the event DYLABY was but also for its appearance. A complete inside in the exhibition.

…..and the series of photographs by Ed van der Elsken is one of the best he ever shot.

available at www.ftn-books.com

Artist/ Author: Robert Rauschenberg, Raysse, Niki de Saint Phalle, Daniel Spoerri, Jean Tinguely, Per Olaf Ultvedt Title : DYLABY ( Dynamisch Labyrint ) Publisher: Stedelijk Museum, 1962 Number of pages: 24 pages plus 4 page cover/ foldout page and separate plan of the exhibition Text / Language: dutch and english Measurements: 10.2 x 7.5 inches Condition: near mint extra information on this item: This DYLABY catalogue belongs to the top 3 of most wanted and searched Stedelijk Museum catalogues, but there is more this copy because it still holds the separate plan for the exhibition ( see picture). Catalogue photo’s by Ed van der Elsken which makes it even more special. This same catalogue is now in the permanent exhibition on the works by Jean Tinguely in the Tinguely Museum. Published with no.314

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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

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the Rietveld Schröderhuis

address :

Prins Hendriklaan 50, 3583 EP Utrecht, the Netherlands

Yes, you still can see and visit this iconic architectural masterpiece which was designed by Gerrit Rietveld at the time he was a “de Stijl” member. Together with Piet Mondriaan and Theo van Doesburg he was was one of the founders of the DE STIJL mouvement in the Netherlands.

Soon Theo van Doesburg dropped out of this mouvement because he found himself restricted by the horizontal and vertical lines the mouvement prescribed. He wanted to use the Diagonal line too, but Rietveld believed in these horizontal and vertical lines and used them together with the primary colors he loved so much and draw with them one of the most beautiful small buildings from the last century. When you visit Utrecht, visit the Schroderhuis too. BTW. the house got its name from the first inhabitant of the house. She commissioned Rietveld to build it for her. Truus Schröder-Schräder lived in it for her entire life.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice books on the Rietveld husi and a kit from which you can rebuild the house yourself in a much smaller scale.

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Edward Kienholz and the Beanery

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At the time the Stedelijk Museum reopened again after its long time restoration, I noticed the return of one of my favorites within its collection…..the Beanery. The Beanery is a one on one replica of the local bar Kienholz visited frequently and stands out for me, because of its originality.  It is almost like a surrealist environment in which heads are replaced with clocks.

Kienholz makes environments which you can enter and experience and this Beanery from 1965 is one of his best. Because of the regular wear and tear over the years it had to be restored. There is a nice video on You Tube which gives information on the restauration and shows the importance of this Kienholz work. Lately Kienholz made another project in the Netherlands called HOERENGRACHT of which the catalogue is also available at www.ftn-books.com

 

This is the text the Stedelijk Museum published on the Beanery:

ABOUT THE BEANERY

Edward Kienholz (1927–1994) made The Beanery in 1965, basing it on his local bar, The Original Beanery on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles. It took Kienholz six months to consolidate and replicate the bar’s content in an artwork. Everything in the installation is life size: from the figures –  inspired by Kienholz’s friends and acquaintances – to the bar, bottles of beer and spirits, ash trays, cash register, telephone book, and jukebox. Even the photos on the wall duplicate those of The Original Beanery.

Remarkably, Kienholz gave each person in his bar a clock for a face, a reference to his fascination with time. Only the barman, modeled after Barney, the bar-owner at that time, has a face. Smelling and sounding like an actual bar, the installation is an evocative sensory experience that visitors are allowed to enter. The typical bar smell is characteristic for the way Kienholz work. The artist made a special recipe: the smell has to be assembled from beer, rancid fat, urine, mothballs and cigarette ash. The scent paste has been made multiple times by the restoration team of the Stedelijk Museum (the urine has been replaced by ammoniac). By coating the work with a synthetic resin the artist instills a sense of mortality and transience, which is amplified by the brown color of the interior, with its evocations of age and decay.

The Beanery is also something of a time capsule. The sign warning “faggots stay out” clearly conveys the intolerant attitudes of American society at the time, while the headlines of the 1964 newspaper in a newspaper dispenser at the door indicate that the United States is on the brink of war with Vietnam. Kienholz came up with the idea of creating his own version of the Beanery in 1958 but commenced work on August 28, 1964, upon reading the headline Children Kill Children in Vietnam Riots while visiting the real bar. The harsh contrast between the “real time” represented by the newspaper headline and the “surreal time” of the bar’s customers impelled Kienholz to start work on the tableau.

wilfried

www.ftn-books.com