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Piet Dirkx weekly

A cherished one…..this is one of a small homemade edition. Send as a Xmas gift.

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Dolf Henkes (1903-1989)

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Without knowing i have collected a number of important Dolf Henkes titles and what struck me is that the interest in his works is something which is still here and constant over the past six decades . Henkes was an artist creating on the crossroads of realism and abstraction and this shows in his paintings.

Born and raised in Rotterdam, moving to Paris and staying at Curacao for a while all these places shaped the art Dolf Henkes was creating. His painting touch is vivid and light and the city of Rotterdam valued the art of Henkes and presented him with a beautiful retrospective exhibition in 1988 to memorate his 85th birthday. Shortly after he died, but his name is still very much alive and used for the Henkes art price , which is each year presented to a young aspiring artist from Rotterdam. The Museum Boymans van Beuningen ( now closed for renovation) has a large collection of important Dolf Henkes paintings. www.ftn-books.com has some nice Dolf Henkes publications available.

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Johan van Loon (1934)

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Johan van Loon is without a doubt one of the most creative and important ceramic artists from the Netherlands. He is original in his approach to the material and his designs reflect his creative mind. His use of colors and the use of layers in his ceramic designs .

He bends, shapes and builds his creations in a very personal and original way, making these objects stand out from all their peers. Johan van Loon is an important ceramic artist and this is emphasized by the many exhibitions he has had in his career. One of the highlights was the 1991 Stedelijk Museum exhibition ( catalogue available at www.ftn-books.com) together with van der Vaart and Stockmans, but since many other s have followed. ao others the ones with the gallery Loes & Reinier ( https://loes-reinier.com/kunstenaar/johan-van-loon/).

 

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Milan Kunc (1944)

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Milan Kunc makes art on the cross roads of Memphis design meeting Picasso with a dash of childrens drawings and with a color palet that is endless. I managed to collect quite some titles by Kunc during the last two decades, because the Netherlands was fortunate to hold exhibitions at the galerie Swart , Groninger Museum ( 1984, large retrospective curated by Frans Haks), Stedelijk Museum and the Boymans van Beuningen museum. Many publications were the result , add to these the catalogues that were published with every gallery presentation in Europe and the result is a stack of publications , many artists would wish they had the same number of publications.

What strikes me every time i leaf through these books i find his work appealing, but in many cases i find it just too much absurd fantasies by the artist. Still this is, according to others, one of the qualities Kunc has. He exaggerates and creates scenes with many layers, but for me after some time they stop working and i am in need of a new ” surprising” composition. Milan Kunc is certainly a great artist, with many beautiful publications, but personally i prefer other artists. www.ftn-books.com has some nice Milan Kunc publications available.

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James Brown (1951)

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Of course James Brown deserves a blog. It is one of those artists who has become important for us Europeans since he has had exhibitions in the Netherlands ( Livingstone gallery ao) and Belgium in the last few decades in which we could see his paintings . Some of these catalogues are available at www.ftn-books.com. What follows now is the information you can find on Brown on Wikipedia.

Born in Los Angeles, California, he received at BFA from Immaculate Heart College, Hollywood. He then spent years in Paris, and attended the Ecole Superieure des Beaux Arts, Paris, France. He rebelled against the classical training there, which he considered irrelevant, but stayed as he wanted to stay in Paris. Tours of Europe seeing renaissance and especially medieval painting of Italy influenced his work. During the 1980s, his paintings, mixing the modernist tradition of painterly application and adherence to the picture surface with clear influences from tribal art. In the early 1980s he began exhibiting in New York, and in this decade this work became a hit in the galleries and art press, sharing a look with the Bad Painting and young neo-expressionism of the East Village painters of the time. On 12 September 1987 he married Alexandra Condon, who was studying History of Art at NYU at the time. They had known each other for little more than ten years. Despite some time on the East and West coast of New York, he continued to live in Paris. With the fading of the East Village art scene he had increasingly shown in European galleries, where his work was now seen in the context of a post-war European modernism in the tradition of Jean Dubuffet. James and Alexandra had their first child, Degenhart Maria Grey Brown, on 24 September 1989 in New York. In 1991 their second boy, Cosmas And Damian Maria Todosantos Brown, was born on 6 June in Paris. On 16 April 1993, their daughter was born, Dagmar Maria Jane Brown, in New York. In 1995 he moved out to the valley of Oaxaca (Mexico) with his family, where they lived in a hacienda for nine years. During that time, James Brown continued exhibiting in Europe, the United States and Mexico. He and his wife collaborated with various artists, making rugs in a village in the mountains of Oaxaca. The rugs were made in the traditional Mexican fashion, weaved by hand on large wooden frames. Jamaes and Alexandra then decided to start making books with artists, so they started Cape Diem Press. Like the rugs, these books are printed in Oaxaca using old-fashioned and traditional methods. The books are printed in limited editions, and Carpe Diem Press continues to collaborate with artists. In 2004, they moved to the city of Mérida, in the Yucatán. Since then James Brown has been spending much time in Europe, exhibiting his work in France, Germany, Italy and Holland. He has been working mostly in Paris.

His work has taken on several styles over the years, but maintains a hand-made look combining concerns of the modernist tradition with motifs and spiritual interests from tribal art. Much of his work is a non-realistic but contains depictions or signs of recognizable faces or objects. More recently he has done more in an abstract mode. However, the line between representation and abstraction is often a difficult one in his work, such as his more recent “Firmament Series” – abstract canvases that can also be read as referring to constellations or stars, or groups of rocks. Besides paintings Brown has also produced sculptures and series of prints at various points in his career, and in the 1990s started to heavily utilize collage. Drawing and other unique works on paper have been important to his artistic development and production. In an Artforum review of a 25-year retrospective, Martha Schwendener noted “The works range from abstract gouaches to biomorphic and figurative watercolors to collages that update the synthetic Cubist experiments of Picasso and Braque.

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Kamagurka / Luc Zeebroek (1956)

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Multi talented, performer, painter, cartoon maker and overall absudist genius is Luc Zeebroek better known as Kamagurka. It is one of those artist who’s works many of us have encountered at some time. He publishes his cartoons regularly and his drawings and paintings are presented frequently at galleries and art fairs. He even had his own Stedelijk Museum exhibition in 2002 which catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com.

To characterize his work is impossible but there is always some humor in the work itself, but his style is something between graffiti and the paintings by Lucebert.

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kamagurka

 

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Piet Dirkx weekly

Here is the invitation for the HEDEN exhibition from 2009

dirkx heden

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Anton Martineau (1926-2017)

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One of the last painters in the Netherland who felt inspired and had strong feelings for the COBRA mouvement in the Netherlands. Her never joined Cobra, worked together with his friend and “partner in crime” Lucebert and had many one man exhibitions in the Netherlands and abroad. Unfortunately his fame did not cross the borders, but his gallery ( Willy Schoots ) was loyal to him and represented him until the day he died.

My personal thoughts about Anton Martineau….. Over the years i have seen many paintings by this painter and what struck me is either the painting is good and appealing or it is not that good and i would never want to add it to a collection. Still Martineau paintings have their qualities. See and judge for yourself the examples below.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice Martineau publications available.

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Pop Art exhibitions in the Netherlands

A few years ago one of the most recent in a long line of Pop Art and Pop Art related exhibitions was being held at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. But since the mid Sixties numerous exhibitions have been held on Pop Art and Pop Art related artists. There were exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum, Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Groninger Museum, Nijmeegs Museum, Kunsthal and the Gemeentemuseum and every time they were a huge success. My guess is that because the art is recognizable and because Pop Art established itself as a true mouvement in Art History, it has become popular to the masses.

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Warhol, Lichtenstein and Wesselman are now household names and their works known by many. Perhaps it has even become to successful since images by these great artists are now part of Commercial activities and publicity campaigns which is a pity since these were not meant for being used this way. www.ftn-books.com has some nice duthc Pop Art publications available.

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Jaap Wagemaker (1906-1972)

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Jaap Wagemaker, fascinated by Cobra, but never wanted to connect to the mouvement. Instead he searched for his won style. Influenced by and admiring Burri he discovered an interest in Oceanic art too. This influences he mixed into a style of his own. Building layers of paint and other materials into 3D paintings. Giving them a feel of assemblages, using materials that only few had used before. Bolts, paper, sand, wood everything could have a place in the paintings as long as it had an abstract function. This is how his painting became recognizable and in the last decade or so, his paintings are sought after and fetch prices higher than average.

Now that Zero is hardly affordable and kinetic goes the same way. It is time to focus on something different. I am sure that Minimal will fill this void, but this kind of material painting comes in a close second. Jaap Wagemaker publications are available at www.ftn-books.com including the impressive one Wim Crouwel designed for the Jaap Wagemaker exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum.

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