Giorgio di Chirico (1888-1978)… surrealist?

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Di Chirico was the founder the scuola metafisica art movement, which profoundly influenced the surrealists. But was he a surrealist or more a classic baroque painter  who by chance composed his compositions in surreal surroundings and there fore looked like a surreal painter. Any way he was considered by many surrealists to be an example for them and for sure one can see influences of di Chirico in the early paintings by Dali. Empty land and cityscapes with an occasional figure in them.

Di Chiricos pictures are different and most famous for the eerie mood and strange artificiality of the cityscapes he painted in the 1910s. Their great achievement lies in the fact that he treats the scenes not as conventional cityscapes – as perspectives on places full of movement and everyday incident – but rather as the kinds of haunted streets we might encounter in dreams. They are backdrops for pregnant symbols or even, at times, for collections of objects that resemble still lifes. De Chirico’s innovative approach to these pictures – an approach rather like that of a theatrical set designer – has encouraged critics to describe them as “dream writings.” They are, in other words, disordered collections of symbols. And this points to their difference from the so-called “dream images” of later Surrealists such as Salvador Dalí, which appear to want to capture the contents of a dream with a camera. www.ftn-books.com

 

Polish art and typography

While leafing through my documents, I noticed some very nice and interesting publications from and on Polish art and typography. These are a combination of Russian and western art and typography, making them stand out and being typical for Poland. It is the same with Japanese typography.

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A style of typography of its own , but with influences from western typography and design. But back to Poland. This very unique way of design was recognized by Willem Sandberg, who organized an exhibition on Polish posters. Whenever i visit a  book) market i always pick them up , because of their appearance and some are worth collecting and selling. Take a look at www.ftn-books.com

to find some of these very nice publications.

William N. Copley / CPLY (1919-1996)

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I always believed that Copley was as much appreciated in the US as he was appreciated in the Netherlands and Germany, But the reality must have been different since i read a short article on his life. His sixties works were not appreciated and understood in the US. People thought his work was pornographic, but in Europe there was a different understanding about these works . Here they were thought to be erotic and because of this different approach to these great works, they were presented in a solo exhibition within the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 1966. Accompanied by a great Wim Crouwel catalogue, which is available at www.ftn-books.com.

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This appreciation of his art in the Netherlands, must have resulted in the admiration for dutch artist from the sixties and seventies by his daughter Claire who had an influential gallery in the early seventies in which she presented Ader, Dibbets and van Elk who all have become well known outside the Netherlands

If you look at these paintings now you can only ask yourself why these are being found to be pornographic…..These are great “erotic” Pop Art paintings.

 

CPLY X-Rated

Copley’s works in the 1970s focused on his own understating of differences and challenges between men and women in romantic and sexual relationships. His works were now erotic, even pornographic. In 1974 he exhibited these new works at what was then the New York Cultural Center in Columbus Circle, New York in a show titled “CPLY X-Rated.” These pieces were a sudden change from his previous romantic whimsical periods. The American public had difficulty with the material, for which Copley expressed, “Americans… don’t know the difference between eroticism and pornography. Because eroticism has always existed in art. And pornography has never necessarily been in art. Copley’s experienced greater feedback in Europe, where the work was then well received. In conjunction with the New York Cultural Center Show there was a special “CPLY X-Rated Poster and Catalog.

The Claire S. Copley Gallery was a Los Angeles gallery on La Cienega Boulevard that existed from 1973-1977. Together with the galleries of Eugenia Butler, Rolf Nelson, Nick Wilder, and Riko Mizuno, the Claire Copley Gallery played an important role in the Los Angeles art scene of the 1960s and 1970sThe gallery provided a venue for emerging American and European minimalist and Conceptual artists, among them Bas Jan Ader, Terry Allen, Michael Asher, Daniel Buren, Jan Dibbets, Ger Van Elk, On Kawara, Joseph Kosuth, avid Lamelas, William Leavitt, Allan McCollum, and Allen Ruppersberg. ( part of the above information was found on Wikipedia)

Antonio Saura (1930-1998)

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When you mix Jackson Pollock with Jean Dubuffet with a topping of a little bit Picasso you get Antonio Saura. Abstraction at his best, because within the composition one always can recognize something realistic. A face , a body , some houses they are all there if you find the rest to study these great paintings. This is not simple, easy art, but it needs to be savored in a slow way. Because the fist impression is chaos, one tends to walk away from it, but just give it a minute or two and the paintings opens up to you.

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La grande foule, 1963, oil on canvas, 220 x 515 cm

It is a pity that there are so few of these fascinating Saura paintings in the Netherlands, but once you have a chance to visit the modern art museums in Spain they are easy to spot and to enjoy. www.ftn-books.com is fortunate to have a nice selection of books on Saura including the Stedelijk Museum catalogue by Wim Crouwel.

Ugo La Pietra (1938) / Edizioni Flaviana…Serie Minimultipli.

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Yesterday, the first of my new acquisitions was discussed in my blog. Today the second one will be presented to my readers. This one is another one from the 1967 publications by Edizioni Flaviana within their series of Minimultipli. Title …..Campo Tissurale….Condition of this one too is excellent and another one well worth collecting now, because these beautiful publications are getting more scarce every month and i believe to be the only seller on the internet who is offering 2 of these rare publications. Ugo La Pietra is still active as an artist and designer, but none of his work is considered more important than his sixties work in which he showed his admiration and close relationship to other ZERO / NUL artists. This exquisite small publication shows why and is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Enrico Castellani (1930) / Edizioni Flaviana…Serie Minimultipli.

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Manzoni, La Pietra, Colombo, Christo and Enrico Castellani. What do they have in common?. Yes , they were all artists who started their careers in the early sixties, but an another lesser known fact is that they were all chosen to publish within the Minimultipli series by Edizioni Flaviana a small, but also art collection worthy, work of art. The ones which i added today to the inventory of my store are considered to be the best of the series. Tomorrow the Ugo de La Pietra. But here is the Superficie Oro by Enrico Castellani from 1967.

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This Enrico Castellani is believed to have been published in an edition of only 1000 copies ( others within the series were published  also in 1000 copies) of which few will have survived as good as this one. The “envelope”, plastic covered inlay and the multiple are all in exceptional condition . Published in 1967. This Castellani is a true ZERO work of art. He encountered many dutch and german artist who belonged to the ZERO and NUL mouvements in Germany and the Netherlands and he himself , as his friends Fontana and Manzoni, were influenced by the ideas of these groups of artists. The ” Superficie Oro” shows it in the smallest scale possible, but even at this size, it truly is an outstanding work of art and now available at www.ftn-books.com.

John Heartfield ( Helmut Herzfeld 1891-1968) ….a DaDa artist

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John Heartfield is considered as one of the inventors of the PHOTOMONTAGE. Together with George Grosz he experimented with this new technique. Because of this  new technique he made some of the most powerful anti Nazi statements in art.

On the back of a photograph which was taken in 1912 his name is written as “Helmut.” While living in Berlin, in 1917, he anglicised his name from “Helmut Herzfeld” to “John Heartfield,” an English name to protest against the anti-British fervour sweeping Germany. In 1916, crowds in the street were shouting, “Gott strafe England!” (“May God punish England!”)

In 1917, Heartfield became a member of Berlin Club Dada. Heartfield later became active in the Dada movement, helping to organise the Erste Internationale Dada-Messe (First International Dada Fair) in Berlin in 1920. Dadaists were the young lions of the German art scene, provocateurs who disrupted public art gatherings and ridiculed the participants. They labeled traditional art trivial and bourgeois. Heartfield was a member of a circle of German titans that included Erwin Piscator, Bertolt Brecht, Hannah Höch, and a host of others.

Heartfield built theatre sets for Erwin Piscator and Bertolt Brecht. Using Heartfield’s minimal props and stark stages, Brecht interrupted his plays at key junctures to have the audience to be part of the action and not to lose themselves in it.

He is best known for the 240 political art photomontages  he created from 1930 to 1938 to expose fascism and The Third Reich. These famous works of political photomontage were an astounding cohesive critique of the rise of fascism.

Heartfield’s artistic output was prolific. His 240 political montages appeared as covers for the Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ, Workers’ Illustrated Newspaper) from 1930 to 1938, a popular weekly whose circulation (as large as 500,000 copies at its height) rivaled any magazine in Germany during the nineteen thirties. Heartfield’s anti-nazi photomontages were featured monthly on the AIZ cover, an important point, because most copies of the AIZ were sold at newsstands. His anti-fascist art mocked Hitler, fascism, and The Third Reich on major street corners throughout Berlin where Heartfield lived until he nearly escaped assassination by the SS in April, 1933.

It was some 30 years ago that the art / photomontage were first recognized as true works of art and the van Abbemuseum presented them in a special exhibition of which the catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com