In the dutch museum and art scene there are some classical partnerships regarding the design of museumpublications. There are Willem Sandberg and Wim Crouwel who bot worked in different decades for the Stedelijk Museum. There is again Wim Crouwel and Walter Nikkels who worked for the van Abbemuseum. There are Donald Janssen and Gracia Lebbink who had their designs published by the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and there is Benno Wissing ( one of the founders of Total Designs) who worked almost exclusively for the Boymans Van Beuningen Museum Rotterdam during 3 decades.
Bernard (Benno) Wissing was a Dutch designer, painter, graphic artist and architect. He trained as a painter at the Art Academy in Rotterdam.
He began his career in 1949 as a designer for the Museum Boijmans in Rotterdam under VP Ebbinge Wubbe. He designed catalogs and posters and established exhibitions. He was one of the founders of Total Design which he worked from 1964 to 1972.
Benno Wissing is for me one of the greatest names in dutch design, but still stands in the shadow of Crouwel and Sandberg. Undeservedly, because his designs are true ” classics”. Just search for Wissing at www.ftn-books.com and find some excellent examples of his truly great designs.
It looks like Donald Judd publications are getting more rare every month. Since his tragic death in 1994 no more “original” exhibition publications have been published. Of course there are some retrospective ones on the market, but the original ones during his lifetime are harder and harder to find. www.ftn-books.com is therefore proud to have 2 of these rare publications available in pristine condition. First there is the van Abbemuseum catalogue from 1987. The book served as a catalogue for 4 venues of which the van Abbemuseum was the most impiortant one because the exhibition was curated by Rudi Fuchs. Secondly there is the Donald Judd / Prints and Works in ecitions published by Schellmann , which even is shrink wrapped. This is rare opportunity to acquire these rare and highly collectable Judd publications for your collection.
I really do not know why it took me so long to appreciate the art of Dieter Roth, but the only reason i can come up with is that his books published by Hansjorg Mayer were such a long time considered “remainders” at the bookshop of the Haags Gemeentemuseum and it was impossible to find buyers for them. Since…. times have changed because the same books that could not be sold ( even at ridiculously low prices) are now the ones that are sought after by collectors and institutions all over the world and when you look at these closely they all have some qualities in common. The printing is executed by the best printers possible. The lay out and design are done in many cases by the artist which makes them more artist books than reference books and because of the series character the books itself are almost a work of art of their own.
My tip for the future is whenever you find such a book, buy it…even you think it is a little expensive these books will be important not only as a book but also as a work of art in the decades to come. www.ftn-books.com has some excellent and rare Dieter Roth items available.
Eugène Leroy is a too long forgotten French Abstract painter who has a unique style of his own. Born in 1910 he witnessed the coming of age of abstract painting and developed a form of abstract painting which is seen among painters in later decades. I do not know if the dutch Marc Mulders is influenced by Eugène Leroy, but when you compare both their paintings you can see similarities in the use of the paint and colors. Grey, brown and spots of brighter colors are typical for both in their early works.
Leroy was presented with a solo exhibition in the van Abbemuseum in 1988 and it was probably the last exhibition Rudi Fuchs curated for the van Abbemuseum before he became director at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. Personally i think Leroy his paintings are a little bit too much, but undoubtedly he will become more and more appreciated and known outside France. His style is unique and his paintings are true classics from France from the last century. www.ftn-books.com has some catalogues available.
For me Alan Charlton stands for British Minimalism. Characterized by the color Grey, he makes constructivist shaped monochrome paintings. This is in short how you can describe the works by Alan Charlton. There were not many occasions that i have seen his works in Museums, but i remember at least to have seen three times his works. First at the van Abbemuseum, secondly at the Stedelijk Museum and thirdly at the Tate Modern. On all three occasions i thought these works were magnificent. I saw these works quite some time apart from each other, over a period of over 15 years they were viewed, but I always was impressed with the monochrome grey’s, each slightly different from each other making these a true color scale of grey’s.
They blend into their space and because of their monotony and regular shapes they become a part of the room they are exhibited in. It takes some time to appreciate them , but once you do , there are few more exciting paintings and therefore better artists than Alan Charlton, who makes these wonders in grey.
The followers of this blog know of my admiration for Lawrence Weiner. I am always keen and interested in publications by or on Weiner nad therefore i was lucky to acquire to my inventory 2 special editions. The first one, BINNEN HET GEGEVEN VAN REACTIE is from the Seventies and printed on a thick carton like paper and published by the van Abbemuseum. The second is an exhibition poster from 1989 for the Weiner Exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Both are in excellent condition and when you use WEINER10 before the end of this month. There is a discount of 10% for these and all other purchases on www.ftn-books.com
For me Floor van Keulen is similar with wall drawing. The projects i remember and encountered all were wall drawings by this artist. He mostly uses black . paint on a white back ground, but the drawing i witnessed come to life personally was the one he made in the projectenzaal of the Gemeentemuseum.
It was an extremely large one and had some bright colors in it. Franz Kaiser was the responsible curator and Gracia Lebbink designed a beautiful small publication for the project which is available at ww.ftn-books.com. It does not take long for van Keulen to execute such a large wall painting. Within the week it was there. But a projectroom functions only if the project is temporary, which means the painting was overpainted after the show was over. Still the book keeps the painting alive.
Jaap Nanninga was born in Winschoten in the north of the Netherlands but after travels to Germany and Poland he settled in Den Haag in 1936, where he stayed and worked his entire life. meber of the famous Posthoorn group het met his friends artist for drinks and dinners at the POSTHOORN cafe at the Voorhout in Den Haag ( and yes…it is still there and serves the finest “Bitterballen” in Den Haag. He received his artist eductaion from Werkman and Wiegers and stayed for a short moment with Geer van Velde in Paris. These 3 artists made Nanninga the artist which we know nowadays. Abstract compositions rooted in the Fifties . a little Cobra mixed with abstract expresionism. Many dutch museum have some great Nanninga’s, but one museum i would like to mention specially is the FIGURA painting in the van Abbemuseum collection. Powerful and typically Fifties abstraction.
Art Historians have a hard time with Jean Brusselmans. Among them they can not decided wether he is a Fauvist, a Realist or an Impressionist. When you look at his work the first thing that comes in mind is that color and touche are Impressionistic, but look closer and you can distinguish bright Fauve colors which makes the composition a Fauvistic painting.
Perhaps it is best to see that his work is original and that you can recognize it as Jean Brusselmans. Forget the art historians and their division into Art Mouvements. Just look at his work and see that it is Jean Brusselmans.
3 catalogues are available on Brusselmans at www.ftn-books.com of which two are designed by Wim Crouwel
Another of the artists Rudi Fuchs presented at the Stedelijk Museum was Markus Lüpertz . Fuchs is one of his biggest fans and because of that Lupertz was presented in 3 large retropsectives in the Netherland in the last 3 decades. There were exhibitions at the Stedelijk, Gmeentemuseum and van Abbemuseum. Lupertz was and is considered by many curator a true master painter known for his expressively rendered paintings and sculptures, which often merge abstraction and representation. His career first gained traction in the early 1960s, and he was the head of the Düsseldorf Art Academy, one of Germany’s most acclaimed art schools, for 22 years. In his work, Lüpertz combines references to popular culture, biblical and mythological themes and protagonists, and his country’s history and culture, including the Nazi era. His series of paintings of military helmets and other wartime symbols caused controversy in the 1970s, initiating a fraught relationship between him and the viewing public. “You cannot understand the artist in his time, you can only love or hate him,” Lüpertz has said.
Imi Knoebel is a minimal abstract painter, but certainly not a minimal painter, because his compositions and sculptures are far more exuberant and less structured than the ones from his minimal colleagues. The result is a “happy” kind of art in which there is place for abstraction and primary colors resulting in something pleasing for the eye. His art must in some way be influenced by the suprematistic ideas of Malevich.
Knoebel’s work explores the relationship between space, picture support and color. The style and formal concerns of his painting and sculpture have drawn comparisons with the ideas of Suprematism and the Bauhaus.
Knoebel is now known all over the world , but not appreciated by many. It will take some time , but my prediction is that he will be as well known as Mondrian in the decades to come. A great artist , who makes great works of art. www.ftn-books.com has some publication on Knoebel in its inventory.