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Piet Dirkx daily …169

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Koloman Moser (1868-1895)

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Because the Leopold Museum as a whole was a disappointment (see yesterdays blog), I focused on the other art inside the museum. I had seen all the paintings by Schiele and Klimt before, but were less familiar with the beautiful Munch and excellent series of Koloman Moser paintings which were exhibited. Especially the series by Moser were impressive and showed the transition into the more Modern art of the century to come. Next to the paintings there were some excellent examples of the Wiener Werkstatte exhibition and the combination of these 2 made the visit, except for the disappointing display of Schiele art, still worthwhile.

Born in Vienna, he studied at the Wiener Akademie and the Kunstgewerbeschule, where he also taught from 1899.

His designs in architecture, furniture, jewellery, graphics, and tapestries helped characterise the work of this era. Moser drew upon the clean lines and repetitive motifs of classical Greek and Roman art and architecture in reaction to the Baroque decadence of his turn-of-the-century Viennese surroundings.

In 1901/1902, he published a portfolio titled Die Quelle (“The Source”) of elegant graphic designs for such things as tapestries, fabrics, and wallpaper.

In 1903, Moser and his colleague Josef Hoffmann founded Wiener Werkstätte, whose studios and artisans produced a number of aesthetically and functionally designed household goods, including glassware, flatware, silverware, rugs and textiles. In 1904, he created the Apse mosaic and glass windows for the Kirche am Steinhof in Vienna.

In 1905, together with the Klimt group, he separated from the Vienna Secession. The same year, he married Editha (Ditha) Mautner von Markhof, the daughter to one of Austria’s great industry fortunes.

In 1907 Moser, due to internal conflicts and as his plans for reorganising the Werkstätte (to cope with financial problems) weren’t realised, withdrew from the Wiener Werkstätte.

Koloman was one of the designers for Austria’s leading art journal Ver Sacrum. This art journal paid great attention to design and was designed mainly by Moser, Gustav Klimt and Josef Hoffmann. His design for the cover of one edition of the art journal was later plagiarized by well known street artist and designer, Shepard Fairey.

Books on Moser and the Winer Werkstatte are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Piet Dirkx daily …168

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Leopold Museum ..Vienna

A crazy month. Traveling to Madeira, Paris and twice to Vienna. First trip to Vienna to chose our new dog Dexter from a nest of eight in Vienna and second trip last weekend to pick him up. Traveling with us our son Lucas, who wanted to witness this pick up and see Vienna for the first time. Because it was the museum that impressed me the most during our visit 2 years ago, we took him to the Leopold to show him TOD UND LEBEN by Gustav Klimt.

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This is the painting that has it all. All aspects of life caught within one framed painting. Measuring aprox. 2,5 x 2,5 meters it is large and impressive and one of the icons in modern art, but the Leopold has much much more. 4 floors with art filled by Klimt, Moser, Kokoschka and last but not least Egon Schiele. I have seen many Schiele paintings and drawings in my life. From an impressive Schiele contribution to the KLIMT/ SCHIELE / KLEE exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum to the special Schiele exhibtion in the Guggenheim in Bilbao, but was really impressed by the amount and quality of the Schiele’s on show in the Leopold Museum two years ago. This time it was totally different….from the four floors, 2 were closed and worse……. all the Schieles on Paper were in Facsimile. It is like going to a theater show, paying full entrance fee and see only half of it on television.

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These were not the real works of art and a museum like the Leopold Museum should inform its visitors on forehand that these were reproductions of the real works of art. To make it even worse they charged the full entrance fee for the visit…..a true disappointment, but with a fond memory to the TOD UND LEBEN/1915 which is still there and one of the most impressive and fascinating paintings in the world.

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Piet Dirkx daily …166

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Jan Bons and Gerrit Rietveld

First of all this great RIETVELD poster is sold to Japan and it was the only one available at this moment, but i wanted to make sure my readers know of its existence. This is such a powerful design by Jan Bons with the Z of the ZigZag chair by Rietveld. If ever there is a Stedelijk Museum poster to be reissued/reprinted again…i will vote for this one. For some other nice Stedelijk Museum posters visit www.ftn-books.com

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Piet Dirkx daily …165

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Karl Gerstner (1930-2017) – Kalte Kunst?

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Karl Gerstner

One of the greatest book designers recently died. Karl Gerstner died on the 1st day of this New Year.

If there was one iconic Swiss book from the late Fifties it is probably Kalte Kunst?

Designed by Karl Gerstner, this book has become an example to many. Look at the early Wim Crouwel designs….influence Gerstner. Benno Wissing…influence Gerstner.

Karl Gerstner is a contemporary designer who’s work is strong and clean, but full of details. Typography and design melt together into a publication which is modern and classic. One of the first of these publications was Kalte Kunst? in which the most modern artist from the fifties were invited to make a contribution, which was placed within the publication. Special prints, silkscreens and litho’s were bound in Kalte Kunst?

“Kalte Kunst?” (1957, 2 editions, both 1000 copies) was Gerstner’s first authored book where he advocates for a specific form of rational, geometric and mathematical art with examples from Josef Albers, Max Bill, Camille Graeser, Richard P. Lohse, Gerard Ifert, Mary Vieira and Marcel Wyss.

a great biography on gerstner can be found here:http://www.historygraphicdesign.com/the-age-of-information/the-international-typographic-style/256-karl-gerstner

A true classic and one of the only copies on the market at this time available at www.ftn-books.com together with some other Gerstner publications.

 

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Piet Dirkx daily …164

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