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Antonio Calderara (1903-1978)

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Because of a sale today, i was reminded of the very nice Antonio Calderara catalogue published by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 1977. The catalogue was designed by Wim Crouwel and what this one makes really special are the 3 original silkscreen prints within this publication. Thin, only  16 pages but with 3 striking silkscreens i consider this as one of the very best seventies Stedelijk Museum publications. Published with Sm catalogue number 616 the catalogue stands out from the others published in the same period. One of the silkscreens is used as cover ( orange /red) and 2 are within ( yellow and sky blue). The very little text and the beautiful impressive photograph of Calderara complete this exquisite publication. This one and others on Antonio Calderara are available at www.ftn-books.com

 

 

 

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Bernard Buffet and TOXIQUE by Sagan

Why Bernard Buffet in this blog. …an hour ago i was reflecting on my early youth and i remembered we had a reproduction of a Clown by Bernard Buffet hanging on the wall.

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In the early sixties, Buffet was one of the most famous young artists who was appreciated by the great public. A recognizable style and what is more important…. No abstraction what so ever. A stylized reproduction of reality in portraits, landscapes and still lives and made available for a large audience through reproductions .

This resulted in an overkill of Buffet’s on the market and meant his work was not in fashion for at least 3o years, but now this is changing. Large retrospectives are being held and one now realizes that his works are part of the evolution in Modern Art. One of his very best 60’s artist publications is TOXIQUE , By Francoise Sagan

 

and available at www.ftn-books.com, but looking through the inventory and reading some of his older catalogues you must admire the very personal style of Bernard Buffet and understand why he is now considered as one of the great artists from the 20th century.

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Henri Michaux ( 1899-1984)

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Henri Michaux had two talents. For me, above all , he was a painter, but others would say he was a poet/writer. Michaux was good with language and because of that it was easy for him to derive from his letters, signs and bend them into a completely different language of art and make an abstract composition with them.

If i had not known a little more about Michaux and of his background as a writer i easily would have categorized him among the ZERO artists. (on the left there is a drawing by Michaux and on the right there is a drawing by Jan Schoonhoven.)

But his “signs” are not made randomly. Some of his most intriguing ones are done under the influence of LSD and Mescaline with which he experimented. Two separate methods in creating great art by 2 artists, resulting in almost the same composition, some 10 years apart from each other ( 1963 and 1974), but both highly intriguing.

The books are all available at www.ftn-books.com

blog is published on www.ftn-blog.com

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Pierre Alechinsky…. a perfect publication.

 

The end of this year is near and almost 300 blogs have been published since I started blogging on WordPress. www.ftn-blog.com grew in an excellent way and i am looking forward to keep you informed on my inventory and exploits in art.

And what better way to end this year with a PERFECT publication by Pierre Alechinsky. In the sixties Alechinsky used original lithographs as cover for his exhibition publications and one of these is the no. 391 he made for the Stedelijk Museum in 1966 for his graphic exhibition. Photographs by Suzy Embo ( see earlier blog this month) and designed by Wim Crouwel. (available at www.ftn-books.com)

Arguably this is one of the top 5 publications the Stedelijk Museum made in the sixties, but for me this is perfection. Simple clean Crouwel design. the photographs are all excellent and the lithograph printed by Bramsen & Georges makes this one really stand out.

A perfect catalogue to end this year and start the New Year.

My best wishes to all my readers and followers for the New Year 2017.

wilfried

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Luc Tuymans (1958)

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Luc Tuymans is probably one of the most interesting living artist of our times. Not only his art, but also his views on society are at least as fascinating.

Luc Tuymans (born 1958) is a Belgian contemporary artist, considered one of today’s most influential painters.
Tuymans was born in Mortsel, Belgium. He began to study fine art at the Sint-Lukas instituut in Brussels in 1976, and subsequently also studied art history at Vrije Universiteit in Brussels. He first exhibited in 1985. His first U.S. exhibition was at The Renaissance Society in Chicago in 1995.
Tuymans’ work is figurative and makes extensive use of techniques from photography, television and film, such as cropping, framing, sequencing and (sometimes extreme) close-ups. His palette usually tends toward monochrome. Subjects of his paintings range from the historic, for example covering the Holocaust or colonial politics in Belgian Congo, to the very banal, depicting everyday objects. Some of his paintings represent abstract emotions. For a while he abandoned painting completely to make films. Tuymans lives and works in Antwerp. Recently some of his work has been exhibited in “The Triumph of Painting” exhibition in the Saatchi Gallery in London.
Tuymans is married to a Venezuelan artist, Carla Arocha, recent exhibitions at the Chicago Institute of Art, Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago and Andre Schlechtriem Gallery, New York.

But these are only the facts about Tuymans, Tuymans is much much more… His work was recently being discussed as being copied from another artist, but was this true or is it the interpretation from this artist of a very familiar photograph?.. He is very strongly opposed against the right wing Vlaams Belang and his leader Bart de Wever and makes this his personal crusade, but he also is a great thinker and influencer, because every discussion he starts makes you think about it. The same with his art. His drawings /paintings and graphic art are accessible and realistic, but in many cases they are not complete and one has to fill in the blanks yourself. For me that is what great art is all about.

Some nice Tuymans publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Rodin at the Groninger Museum

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August Rodin…. a legend among sculptors and a sculptor who is appreciated by young and old. The Musee Rodin in Paris receives over 700.000 visitors each year and now some great works from their collection are on loan at the Groninger Museum. In total 140 sculptures and 20 works on paper are in the Rodin exhibition, which makes it the largest Rodin exhibition in the Netherlands ever. So this is a great opportunity to visit the Mendini designed museum in the north of the Netherlands and visit the Rodin exhibition ( until the 30th of April 2017).

Groninger Museum, Museumeiland 1
9711 ME Groningen

What makes me look really forward to this exhibition, is the special part by Erwin Olaf. I know the sculptures by Rodin quit well, because i have visited the Musee Rodin and saw his exhibition in the Museum Het Paleis ( 1995) in The Hague multiple times. But these Olaf photographs are a first. Olaf photographed dancers of the National Ballet in typical Rodin poses, creating an atmosphere as if these photographs are taken in the Rodin studio. Spectacular photographs of these talented dancers with bodies like they were sculpted by Rodin himself.

For more information on Rodin look at these available books at www.ftn-books.com and the site of the Groninger Museum….www.groningermuseum.nl

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Agnes Martin (1912-2004)

The 3rd blog on a female artist. Tate, Moma, Lacma, Guggenheim, Centre Pompidou, Stedelijk Museum…..They all have in common that they have a work or works by Agnes Martin in their Permanent collections. Martin is considered by most as a Minimal artist but she herself thinks more of herself as an abstract expressionist painter. Anyway ,she is absolutely one of the most important and original artists from the 20th century. Personally i think her paintings have a unique quality. More Minimal than abstract, but made with a technique that is typical Agnes Martin. The Guardian says the following on Martin.

A late starter, Martin kept on going, working at the height of her powers right through her 80s; a stocky figure with apple cheeks and cropped silver hair, dressed in overalls and Indian shirts. She produced the last of her masterpieces a few months before her death in 2004, at the grand old age of 92. But she was also so deeply ambivalent about pride and success and the ego-driven business of making a name for yourself that in the 1960s she abandoned the art world altogether, packing up her New York studio, giving away her materials and disappearing in a pickup truck, surfacing 18 months later on a remote mesa in New Mexico.

When she returned to painting in 1971, the grids had gone, replaced by horizontal or vertical lines, the old palette of grey and white and brown giving way to glowing stripes and bands of very pale pink and blue and yellow. “Sippy cup colours”, the critic Terry Castle once called them, and their titles likewise address states of pre-verbal, infantile bliss. Little Children Loving Love, I Love the Whole World, Lovely Life, even Infant Response to Love. And yet these images of absolute calm did not arise from a life replete with love or ease, but rather out of turbulence, solitude and hardship. Though inspired, they represent an act of dogged will and extreme effort, and their perfection is hard-won.

Martin’s work is in museums and collections across the world, and changes hands for millions of dollars at a time. All the same, she hasn’t achieved quite the renown of her mostly male contemporaries in abstraction, partly because the subtleties of her paintings are almost impossible to reproduce in print.
I think there is one exception. the excellent poster that was an original silkscreen for the Quadrat Bottrop exhibition. It is still available at www.ftn-books.com
please follow this blog on www.ftn-blog.com
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Suzy Embo and Louise Nevelson(1899-1988)

The next 3 days will be with short blogs on female artists that i admire very much. Today’s one is on Louise Nevelson who’s portrait by Suzy Embo is for sale at www.ftn-books.com.

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Next year , starting at 23rd of june 2017 a large retrospective on Embo’s photographs will be organized at the FOMU /FotoMuseum Antwerpen. The photograph i have for sale was a lucky find , because it was hidden in one of the great Nevelson catalogues i bought years ago. Excellent condition of the photograph and the strong image of Louise Nevelson makes this one of my favorite artists photographs i have ever seen.

Louise Nevelson is in European undervalued artist, who made assemblages from left over materials and who was not that well known some 30 years ago. She had her exhibitions and retrospectives, but only since a few decades her works appear at auctions and in group exhibitions by Abstract expressionists. Stil she had a loyal following of admirers in the Netherlands and Belgium. In Belgium she even had a solo exhibition in the Paleis voor Schone Kunsten in 197 and you can visit one of the large works at the Centre Pompidou museum in Metz, but for the most of us in Europe this artist was a mystery….(and still is). The case in the US was a total different one. She was recognized as one of the most important sculptors from the 20th century from the early 60’s and onwards.

Major museums began purchasing Nevelson’s wall sculptures in the late 1950s, and she was included in the landmark “Sixteen Americans” exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1959. In the following decades she earned commissions for large-scale sculptures from institutions such as Princeton University (Atmosphere and Environment X, 1969), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Transparent Horizon, 1975), and the Philadelphia Federal Courthouse (Bicentennial Dawn, 1976). In 1967 the first major retrospective of her work was presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. During the 1970s and ’80s Nevelson expanded the variety of materials used in her sculptures, incorporating objects made of aluminum, Plexiglas, and Lucite. Not until she was in her 60s did Nevelson win recognition as one of the foremost sculptors of the 20th century.

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Gemeentemseum Den Haag..From Rodin to Bourgeois

It was an exhibition i was really looking forward to. I know the collection of sculptures the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag has very well and thought they would make a superb exhibition with them. Last weekend we visited the exhibition and….i must say i was disappointed. The statues and sculptures were grouped  and i could distinguish themes and periods within the groups, but what struck me most is that there were too many sculptures on too little space. For me sculptures must have space around them. That is the reason sculptures outside work so well. In the Gemeentemuseum there were too many on too little space and on top of it, the epic spider by Louise Bourgeois was not shown within the exhibition, but was squeezed into one of the smallest cabinets of the museum.

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This sculpture exhibition competes with too many other exhibitions at the same time and far too many objects within the exhibitions, made the museum visit one of the least attractive ones of the last years.

I love the museum, but this collection deserves far better than the way it now is exposed to the public. Far too many objects. No space between them….no air to breathe at all . The SCHATKAMER in which the STIJL period is exhibited on the ground floor is one of the worst museum spaces i know of in the Netherlands and now that the inner garden is (unfortunately) covered( see photos), because they wanted a space to drink coffee ( beside the restaurant), read some magazines and sell some books( beside the museumstore), the beautiful Bourgeois sculpture is now squeezed into a cabinet and is no longer a part of the sculpture exhibition FROM RODIN TO BOURGEOIS, because it is placed out of the exhibition on the other side of the building. So please free the inner garden space from everything in it and make this an exhibition space and put the Bourgeois, Nauman, Carl Andre in it or better…. use it for the Sol LeWitt,Serieel project nr. 1: Groep B (1966-1970). These sculptures really deserve some space and a better exposure. That would be a real “tribute to Sol LeWitt”. Go and see what space can do for a beautiful sculpture. Visit the Serra in the Guggenheim in Bilbao or the Giacometti in the Beyeler and see how it must be done to present them in the best way possible. Space and air is what these great sculptures need.

A last remark, the Museum shop is turning into a souvenir shop. If that is what they feel the museum needs, the museum certainly must follow that path, but i feel strongly that it is nice to learn something about the great art which is shown in  a museum and for that you need other products than scarves, cups, pencils and the occasional postcard. For books on the Gemeentemuseum and its collection and exhibitions there is still another place to visit ….please visit www.ftn-books.com and find here the publications this great museum has published over the last 60 years.

One positive thing about the current exhibitions. The Tomas Rajlich exhibition is exquisite ( blog next week) and the Ravesteyn room with the Givenchy dresses and the Audrey Hepburn filmclips in the background is great.

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Alexander Calder (1898-1976)

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Born in the 19th century . Calder has become for me one of the pioneers in Modern Art. The public knows Calder by name for his mobiles, but for me Calder is the first artist who explored the extreme sizes in sculpture. Later, this was followed by Serra, but Calder must have been one of the very first to make sculptures bigger than a building. A few of these can be found in STORM KING, but these are not the only ones. These very large sculptures are scattered all over the world.

From Denmark to Brazil, the Calder statues are the highlights among other statues in sculpture parks all over the world. It is a pity there is only one large sized Calder in dutch collections. It is the “anteater” from the collection of the Rijksmuseum.

So do not miss them when you are abroad or there is a special exhibition on Calder because they are among the very best in Modern sculpture. I am fortunate to have some great classic Calder publications within the inventory of www.ftn-books.com