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L wig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969)qΩ“Ω~ |’| §

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When i think about Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, three of his designs i remember instantly. The first …a chair by Mies van der Rohe, One i always wanted to own and when i finally had one i did not think it was comfortable enough so i sold it. The chair… a Barcelona chair.

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The one he designed for the Barcelona Pavillion. It was designed for the World exhibition from 1929 and after the exhibition it was demolished, but a group of spanish architects recognized its importance and had it rebuild in the Eighties from last century. I finally had a chance to see it for myself when i visited Barcelona for the first time around 2005. We walked over there since it is only a 10 minutes walk from the Fundacio Joan Miro.

The last one is the Seagram building which is one of the skyscrapers i admired when i first visited New York together with my father. A building i remembered well and of which i recognized style elements when i visited the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin some 30 years later. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is a force in design and has made his mark on many of last centuries greatest designs. Some of his classic publications are availabel at www.ftn-books.com

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Bernard WILLEM Holtrop (1941)

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When i compare artist with each other  , the artist that comes to mind is  Pettibon. I think the best way to compare WILLEM is by comparing his drawings with the ones made by Raymond Pettibon.Prins Bernhard comic by Willempettibon brush a

Put them next too eachother and you see a resemblance in the directness and of course the use of black and white within them. But WILLEM is not only known for his Black / white drawings , but also for his political drawings and … some great illustrations. Among them… the illustrations he had done for FROM A -> Z by Rebecca Rass, published by Thomas Rapp in 1969 and available at www.ftn-books.com

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Here is a part of the biography on WILLEM published by the Lambiek gallery:

Born and bred in de Veluwe, one of the most conservative regions of Holland, Willem has become one of the world’s most unpredictable and sardonic cartoonists. While studying Fine Arts between 1962 and 1967, it all started with some early comix and cartoons for magazines like De Legerkoerier (The Army Courier), and with Willem’s contributions to the legendary student magazine Propria Cures. There, he got in touch with Roel van Duyn, the editor of the paper for the hippie movement Provo.

Since Provo at that time didn’t have an illustrator, Willem started working for them right away. In 1966 he caused quite a stir by portraying the Dutch queen Juliana as a prostitute in one of his cartoons for the Provo publication God, Nederland & Oranje. What followed was a persecution for lese majesty and a fine of 200 guilders. Following the demise of the Provo movement, his work appeared in De Nieuwe Linie in 1967. He moved to Paris, France in the following year, where his first cartooning work were contributions to L’Enragé during the May 1968 student strikes in Paris.

He subsequently became a regular contributor to Hara Kiri as well as its follow-up Charlie Hebdo. Willem’s beloved themes such as fat women, biological warfare, crabs, small children and police violence were all represented in the many political cartoons, illustrations, puzzles, comix and texts for the magazine. He also served as a promotor of Dutch comic abroad with his own publication Surprise. He was eventually editor-in-chief of Charlie Mensuel. He also appeared in Benoît Lamy’s documentary ‘Cartoon Circus’ (1972), a Belgian documentary about cartoons and comics,  in which he was interviewed alongside SinéPichaRoland ToporCabuJean-Marc Reiser, François Cavanna, Professeur Choron, GalGeorges Wolinski, Joke and Jules Feiffer.

Ever since the late seventies, Willem has been contributing controversial daily cartoons to the French left-wing daily Libération. All through these years his output has been prolific, resulting in a veritable mountain of book publications, which are almost without exception hard to find. Luckily, in 1998, the editor Jean-Pierre Faur published the anthology ‘Deadlines’, a beautiful overview of the works of one of the most internationally renowned Dutch graphic artists.

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JESS Collins ( 1923-2004 )

I became interested in this artist because i recently i acquired one of Jess his first publications, which is available at www.ftn-books.com An artist on the cross roads of  Modern Art, collage and comics

For more information on the artist you must visit jesscollins.org where i found the following text:

JESS was born in 1923 in Long Beach, California, the younger son of a civil engineer and a homemaker. Originally named Burgess Franklin Collins, he later broke with his family and changed his name to “Jess.” In childhood, Jess read the L. Frank Baum Oz books, Poe and Proust; listened to the music of Beethoven, Mahler, Sibelius and Brahms; and made scrapbooks with a great-aunt, which he credited as one origin of his later collage work.

In 1942, Jess began studying chemistry at the California Institute of Technology but was drafted into the Army Corps of Engineers in 1943. In a very junior role, he worked until 1946 at the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on the production of plutonium for the atomic bomb. Following the war, he completed his degree at Cal Tech with honors in radiochemistry and went to work at the Hanford Atomic Energy Project in Washington.

During his time at Hanford, Jess began to study painting in adult education classes, while at the same time growing concerned about the nature of his participation in atomic energy work: “I was involved with nuclear energy, the direction it was going seemed questionable, nightmarish in many ways.” In 1948, he was visited by a terrifying dream that foretold the destruction of the world in 1975. Within months, he had left his job, decided to pursue art full-time, moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and found his way first to the University of California at Berkeley and soon to the California School of Fine Arts, now the San Francisco Art Institute.

At CSFA, he studied with Elmer Bischoff, Edward Corbett, David Park, Hassel Smith and Clyfford Still. Taking inspiration from Clifford Still’s aesthetic breadth and tolerance, Jess explored both abstraction and figuration, learning from Still “a poetics of materials.” As he said later to Michael Auping, “I personally didn’t see any reason to make a dichotomy between abstraction and representation… It was all paint.” His interest lay in the redemptive powers of imagination and myth, which he regarded as one with the materials: “I don’t see that much difference between the spiritual and the material. All matter is energy, and all matter and energy are infused with spirit.”

Jess & Robert Duncan Biography

When Jess met poet Robert Duncan in 1950, they soon discovered their shared love of Baum’s Oz books and James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, and the future of their lifelong romantic relationship, domestic household, and artistic collaboration was established. The 2013-14 exhibition and catalogue, An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan and their Circle, documented the brilliant artistic fecundity of their bond and its importance to San Francisco artistic and literary communities. Their idea of the “household,” a place of domestic love but also of spirited, generative collaboration, became central to the development of their art and poetry.

Throughout the fifties, Jess experimented with technique in still lifes, portraits, and landscapes, paintings that shimmer with narrative potential. Jess described some of these works as “mythic landscapes, in the sense that a certain abstract chaos is slowly coming to order. All of the creation myths depict some kind of chaos transforming into order or image. I sometimes thought of these early landscapes as vaguely analogous to a creation myth.”

Inspired in part by a gift from Duncan of Max Ernst’s surrealist collage book Une semaine de bonté  (1934), Jess also began making collages, or in his term, “paste-ups,” in the early fifties, combining text and image fragments of engravings, photographs, comic strips, and jigsaw puzzle pieces. These works, becoming ever more complex over time until they were comprised of hundreds or even thousands of distinct elements, led critic Jed Perl to compare Jess and Joseph Cornell as “….American originals, highly sophisticated artists who weren’t afraid to be seen as outliers or cranks.”

The thirty-two works in Jess’s important Translation series, begun in 1959, are painted, enlarged reproductions of found images including photographs, children’s book illustrations, post cards, pages from old Scientific American magazines, Krazy Kat cartoons, and illustrations of art, science and math subjects. Every image is combined, either within the painted surface or on the backs of the canvases, with literary texts from a wide variety of sources including Wordsworth, Blake, Gertrude Stein, Plato, Aztec and Mayan poems, scientific texts, Kandinsky, Gaelic songs and Edward Lear.

Jess biography

Thickly painted, the surfaces are highly textured, sometimes rough, and occasionally billowing. Describing the colors, Jess explained, “I want to get the level of light that was in the original. My colors are absolutely imaginary, not realistic. At my best, I want to pay homage to the original and a completely imaginary complex of color that is my translation of that original.” Of the Translations, Michael Auping has said, “The mysterious irony of the ‘Translations’ is that they are highly reverent copies that are, in themselves, entirely original, which of course brings into question whether or not they are copies at all. The ‘Translations’ are not secondary to the ‘originals’ but are, in Jess’s words, ‘spiritually coexistent’ with them.”

For his later Salvages series, instead of copying, or “translating” a painting onto a canvas from a found object, Jess painted, or repainted, directly over his own earlier discarded canvases or paintings found in thrift shops. Leaving the thinner surface of the original painting bare in places, he built up a thicker layer of paint around fragments of the original images, adding texture and new images, encouraging unexpected meaning to develop. Like the Paste-Ups and Translations, the Salvages derive from images and texts found and saved, and add new beauty and mystery as the found materials are reinterpreted, expanding allegorical dimension in the process.

Jess on a beach near Pigeon Point biography

Narkissos, Jess’s most ambitious project, was begun in 1959 as a pencil drawing for a painting to be based on the myth of Narcissus but gradually evolved into a large scale mixed media work. It combines a monumental graphite rendering of the figure of Narcissus with pasted-up fragments of Jess’s own hand-drawn images as well as found sources of the Narcissus myth and its many iterations in literature, art and popular culture. The magnificent “unfinished” work is now in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Although it has often been written that Jess was a recluse who rarely left the house, in fact, though he did avoid crowds and large social gatherings, he was a domestic flaneur, a householder walking the streets of San Francisco to buy groceries, visit the post office, drop in on friends, lunch in his favorite Mission District eateries, and most importantly, to scavenge his way through the multitude of thrift and used book stores liberally sprinkled throughout the city in search of the materials that formed the foundation of nearly all his artwork. As he told Michael Auping when asked about the title of his Salvages painting series, “I’m always out shopping….Really all my work – Paste-Ups, Assemblies, Translations – comes from salvaging. I salvage loved images that for some reason have been discarded and I come across them…….I put forward a new layer of sentiment that, combined with the old, may hopefully allow the image to have a new life or at least a half-life.”

Jess 1994 biography

Aside from a period of travel with Duncan in the mid-fifties to Europe and Black Mountain College, Jess lived and worked in San Francisco for the remainder of his life. His large, Victorian home with Robert Duncan in the Mission District became a treasure house of art and literature, a household filled with artworks by Jess and their many friends, Robert Duncan’s vast library, their recorded music collection, and the many beautiful, rare and often slightly chipped or worn domestic objects salvaged from thrift shops with which they entertained their large but intimate circle of friends. In this home these two men, both passionately engaged with the world, created a world of imagination.

Jess’s first solo show was in 1950 at the Helvie Makela Gallery in San Francisco, soon followed by a show at the King Ubu Gallery, a small but important venue for alternative art founded in 1952 by Jess, Duncan and their close friend Harry Jacobus. Gradually Jess’s work became widely known through solo and group exhibitions in prestigious galleries and museums throughout the country. Works by Jess are now included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Musuem, The Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and numerous other major museums. Attention to his work continues to grow, most recently as a result of the touring exhibit, “An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle.” Acknowledging the mark of a painter whose work was nourished by a community of affection, art critic Peter Frank wrote, “He sought approval of his friends – as well he should, given their own poetic standards – but not of the art world; even so, his art paralleled and even anticipated so much of his time’s art.”

paste ups

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Studio Dumbar and Memphis/ Artifort

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In 1985 the design studio of Gert Dumbar was consigned a series of posters for Artifort furniture. At that time it was a totally new idea ( and certainly inspired by the Memphis design mouvement ) to ” shape” the posters and use special printing techniques to make them stand out. Dumbar succeeded and since these series of posters for Artifort have become higly collectible poster art and are sought after by collectors worldwide. www.ftn-books.com has two of these iconic posters now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Lewin Alcopley (1910 – 1992)

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Do not make the mistake i originally made. Lewin Alcopley and Al Copley (cply) are 2 completely different artist where CPLY is rooted in the Pop Art scene. Alcopley is the more abstract artist and rooted in abstract expressionism.   I now have added one of the rarest of his publication to the inventory of www.ftn-books.com. It is a book published in a roman numbered edition by galerie Parnass in 1961 and one of only 65 roman numbered copies which contains, beside 32 prints in black on white paper, a beautiful and impressive lithograph used as special cover. Book in slipcase and signed by the artist and author. Numbered in inkt. This book is numberXXXIX from LXV This book is very special and an absolute must have for the serious Alcopley collector.

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Swip Stolk (1944-2019)

 

Schermafbeelding 2019-03-12 om 11.13.44Swip Stolk is certainly one of the great names in dutch graphic design. He died last sunday at the age of 75 . There are some iconic designs by Stolk that are worldwide famous. Specially the peeing poster for the Serrano exhibition drew attention from all over the world. There was a typical Swip Stolk styke of design. He broke with the minimal designs of the sixties ( Crouwel and Wissing) and invented his own exuberant style of design which was soon to become the “house style” of the Groninger Museum for which museum he made for nearly two decades many important book and publication designs.

there are several important Swip Stolk designs availabel at www.ftn-books.com

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Peter Pontiac (1951-2015)….Infanticide

 

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This is the farewell exhibition of the Groninger Stripmuseum . It stops after this appealing exhibition in which comic artist show that beside their talents as comic artists they are in many cases also serious and very accomplished painters. Here is the painting that struck me most. It is INFANTICIDE by the late Peter Pontiac.

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I am an admirer of Peter Pontiac for a long time now and this painting shows in an excellent way that there is more to his art than his stand alone comics. www.ftn-books.com has some nice Peter Pontiac items and limited editions available.

 

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Eduard Steinberg (1937-2012)

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Eduard Steinberg is the first Steinberg i write a blog about. He is far lesser known than his brother in art Saul Steinberg, but for me personally he is the better artist. Where Saul Steiberg leans towards art & illustration, Eduard Steinberg is the abstract artist who “invents” and impresses me much more.

A creator of geometrical abstract paintings, Eduard Steinberg was born into the family of poet, translator, and artist A.A. Steinberg.
Shortly after his birth, his father was arrested by the Stalin regime and thrown into prison. Upon his release, the family settled in Tarusa and Eduard helped his parents in their pursuits, though he had no professional artistic education. He lived in Tarusa from 1957 to 1961, teaching himself to paint by making copies of still lives, portraits and landscape paintings of Tarusa.
Moving to Moscow in 1962, he actively participated in the nonconformist movement.
In the 1970s Steinberg began creating his own version of geometrical abstraction (meta-geometry), where a plastic construction is seen as a consequence of a spiritual impulse.

I did not see the exhibition he had at the Josef Albers Museum and think it is a pity, because exhibitions on Eduard Steinberg are rare occasions. Still www.ftn-books.com has the signed exhibition poster of this important Steinberg exhibition.

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Christian Megert (1936)

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Todays blog on Christian Megert, because next Saturday afternoon an important Christian Megert exhibition will be opened at de Rijk/ Chabot fine art. Suisse born and one of the earliest ZERO artists, he researched space and composition mainly by using mirrors and reflecting materials .

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Because of the reflections created this way his art is also very close to the Kinetic art which was made in those days. Megert stayed true to his discoveries in creating his compositions with reflecting materials (mainly mirrors) and is increasingly becoming more appreciated and collected by important collectors all over the world.

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This is an exhibition not to be missed and any serious (ZERO) collector should pay a visit to the Megert exhibition at de Rijk/Chabot Fine Art.

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there are multiple publications on ZERO artist available at www.ftn-books.com

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Paul van der Eerden (1954)

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Perhaps it is because we are from the same generation, but i find the drawings and paintings by Paul van der Eerden highly attractive. Recently i acquired, beside the publications i already have in stock at www.ftn-books.com , two triptychs by Paul avnder Eerden. Both fromthe late Eighties /early nineties, one reminded me very much of the abstract US action painetrs ( this is SOld now) the other is like the best Tapies has done. devided over three frames there are 3 abstract composition froming the triptych. This one is still available.

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Paul van der Eerden is collected by dutch museum adn collectors and serves to have an audience outside the Netherlands too.