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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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Charlotte Posenenske (1930-1985)

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The works of Charlotte Posenenske (Wiesbaden, 1930-Frankfurt am Main, 1985) consist of series in an unlimited edition. According to a number 0f rules, they can be made and repeated – also by others – and combined with each other. With her radical and ‘democratic’ ideas about material, production and authorship, Charlotte Posenenske influenced and shaped conceptual and minimalist art of the sixties.

Minimalist series

Charlotte Posenenske began as a painter, but she felt limited by the flat surface and soon moved on to creating spatial works. The forms of Series B (1967) are hung as reliefs on the wall, but also placed as objects in the spatial environment. This is followed in 1968 by Series D and Series DW, whose format and shape are reminiscent of ventilation shafts.

Participation

Although Charlotte Posenenske did not consider herself to be a political artist, she had a clear and strong vision of societal relations, which in her view had to be rational, concrete, accessible and democratic. With her work she wanted to set a standard for this: the materials which she used like cardboard and steel are cheap, the works are sold for a fixed low price and the assembly and installation of her modular systems can be done by ‘everyone’: buyers, exhibition makers, and even the public. Posenenske’s social engagement is also expressed through the installations she created in public spaces, such as airports, train stations, conference rooms and on the street.

Contemporary artists and Posenenske

Disappointed in the social scope of art, Charlotte Posenenske left the art world in 1968 to study sociology. Her work and views remain however points of reference for younger generations of artists. The text above comes from the Museum Kroller Muller site. This Museum has a retrospective exhibition on Posenenske until the 15th of September

www.ftn-books.com has some nice publications in which Posenenske made some contributins. Since there is a longtime connection between the Netherlands  and the artist it happens that some of the most important publications have been published in the Netherlands. Specially the former Art & Project has presented her works on several occasions.

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Hap Grieshaber (1909-1981)

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Hap Grieshaber is one of the great graphik artist from the 20th Century.

Personally i consider Hap Grieshaber, H.N.Werkman and Josua Reichert to be the top in graphic artists from the 20th century. Reichert is the best, but Grieshaber and Werkman are close in second spot.

Grieshaber is a typical 50’s /60’s artist. The first time i encountered his works i had a strong asscociation with the Catholic bid prints, inserted and collected in bibles by young people in the early 60’s.

But there is so much more to be discovered in his works than simple figures. The combination of abstract patterns in the background of slhouetted figures are typical Greishaber and make the composition to appear totally abstract. Willem Sandberg was a Grieshaber admirer and together they made one of the most iconic of all Sandberg / Stedelijk Museum catalogues

grieshaber cata a

This and other Grieshaber publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

Grieshaber was honoured with numerous prizes and retrospective exhibitions. He exhibited works at the documenta in 1959 and 1964. In honor of his 70th birthday in 1979, large retrospectives were shown in various museums in both parts of Germany. The last prize that Grieshaber was awarded in 1980 was the art prize of the town of Konstanz. Grieshaber died in 1981 in Eningen unter Achalm aged 72 years.

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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.

weiner sm a

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Donald Judd – sculpture, Untitled object

 

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It must have been somewhere around 1985. After a trip to the US and whta must have been a visit to Donald Judd’s studio, Flip Book, curator of the Modern Art department of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag came back with the story of a purchase he had made of a Donald Judd sculpture. I heard that the price paid was around 60.000 guilders and personally i thought it unheard that a sculpture like this would have such an elevated price tag. I thought it much to expensive for a sculpture like this, but as time progresses. i became wiser and it became clear to me that Flip had made a wonderful and very important acquisition for the Gemeentemuseum. The sculpture has been since in the Beeldentuin of the Gemeentemuseum and is still as, or perhaps even more, impressive as it originally was.

I realized that the important purchases for the collections of the Gemeentemuseum were all done from the late Sixties until the first years of the Nineties. It started with Minimal art by LeWitt, Judd and Andre, continued with some Schoonhoven, Weiner in the Eighties and perhaps the last important acquisition is the carrousel by Bruce Nauman. Since very little important acquisitions have been made, with one exception. I think the Paul Thek object will prove to be important in the future.

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On all the mentioned artists, publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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John Zinsser (1961)

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A master in Blue . A bit like Yves Klein had his favorit color too  and executed many of his paintings in Blue. Zinsser uses the available commercial paints with their standard bright colors.

John Zinsser’s abstract paintings investigate formal properties of gestures, supports, color, and paint through simple actions and two-toned compositions that explore the relationship between figure and ground. After studying art history at Yale, Zinsser relocated to New York, where he has remained since the 1980s. Color is a preeminent concern for Zinsser; he typically works with naturally occurring commercially available colors such as cobalt blue or cadmium red. The properties and values of the ground determine what colors and forms he chooses to include in the foreground. “I always put a faith in materials first—that paint has a kind of authority of its own,” he says. “Paint has a unique power to assert tactile reality, pushing toward a larger visual and bodily response.”

For me personally il compare his paintings with the one Tomas Rajlich has done in the last 2 decades / also monochrome paintings with working the paint over that it the paint is moulded into a shape. Both arftists i like very much, but for me personally i prefer the Rajlich paintings , because i have met Tomas on several occasions and beside an excellent painter he is a an aimable person.

www.ftn-books.com has a nice Zinsser catalogue available.

zinsser

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William Kentridge (1955)

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The South African born William Kentridge is not the usual mediocre artist you may have heard of. His focus differs from others. His preferred medium is paper to make drawings, graphic art and animated films.

These animated films are truly impressive and strong animations filled with a messages that stay with you for a very long time once you have seen it.. They are constructed by filming a drawing, making erasures and changes, and filming it again. He continues this process meticulously, giving each change to the drawing a quarter of a second to two seconds’ screen time. A single drawing will be altered and filmed this way until the end of a scene. These palimpsest-like drawings are later displayed along with the films as finished pieces of art.

These animated films have become one of the pillars of his art, but that does not mean that his other works are not interesting. They are equally interesting but are perhaps a little less special than his animated films. One thing they share with the animeted films. They are filled with the “social injustice” Kentridge experienced through the decades in South Africa.

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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.

soutine paris

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Sigfrido Martin Begue (1959-2010)

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Mix Gino Severini with Hergé and put in some of the great poster art of the 20th century and you will have an idea of the works of Sigfrido Martin Begue. He is the third of the lesser known artists i would like to propose to you.

The first time i heard about Begue was when he was having an exhibition at the Living Room. I did not see the exhibition myself, but years later i acquired the catalogue for my inventory and saw for the first time why thsi artist is so attractive to me.

It is is this mix of the absurd and the comic like style i like so much. Just take a look at these 2 examples and you know exactly what i am talking about.

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