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Ad Reinhardt, van Abbemuseum 1972

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Jan Leering, director at that the time of this exhibition , had an admiration for Ad Reinhardt and presented and purchased for the collection of the van Abbemuseum some important works by Reinhardt. The result of this admiration was a very important exhibition in 1972/1973 with the works by Reinhardt and an exhibition catalogue designed by Jan van Toorn. This catalogue is now available at www.ftn-books.com and it is one hard to find . Condition is still good+  of this important catalogue and it shows perfectly why Reinhardt is considered as one of the greatest painters from the US. Impressive , timeless paintings by a gifted artist. A nice extra is that the catalogue comes with hand out “invitation”

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Wim Crouwel and DE VOLKSKRANT

 

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Wim Crouwel passed away some days ago and since, a great number of articles have been published on his life and accomplishments as a designer. His works will prove to be highly important for designers all over the world in the future and DE VOLKSKRANT ( one of the most important newspapers in the Netherlands) recognized that fact and devoted  a 2 page article on Crouwel in their Saturday paper. It is only on rare occasions that such a long and detailed article is published on just one person. Wim Crouwel and his works prove to be that important. The article can be found on the internet here (dutch)

https://www.volkskrant.nl/mensen/wim-crouwel-hoeder-van-het-functionele-ontwerp-en-een-onverzettelijke-rechtlegger~bf53fa62/

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Wim Crouwel (1928-2019)

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This morning i heard that one of the most influential designers from our time, Wim Crouwel, has died. The last years of his life he suffered Parkinson disease, but he was still going strong and must have looked forward to the retrospective of his works being opened later this  month at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. What better way to commemorate this great artist than to show a selection of the many items designed by him. www.ftn-books.com

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And to finish one of my personal favorites. Wim Crouwel will be an example for many designers in the decades to comewerkman crouwel aa.

 

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Piet Dirkx weekly

On of the earliest of Piet Dirkx publications is this van Abbemuseum one. Published in 1985.dirkx abbe x

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Leon Kossoff dies at the age of 92

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The following article can be found at the Mutual Art site:

https://www.mutualart.com/Article/Grave-Architecture–How-Leon-Kossoff-Bui/451BDAE66E6E3100?source_page=Magazine&utm_source=MutualArt+Subscribers&utm_campaign=587eaad649-nl_20_07_19&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0a9ce6ca24-587eaad649-445942749&ct=t(EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_10_5_2018_13_56_COPY_01)&mc_cid=587eaad649&mc_eid=129d9ef3a9

Earlier in July, British painter Leon Kossoff passed away. Sometime between 1939 and 1943, he entered the local museums at King’s Lynn, the Norfolk town in which the painter spent three years as a wartime evacuee. Here he saw paintings by local brothers, Thomas and Henry Baines, depicting the town’s famous-ish architecture (Daniel Defoe described the place as “well built” in the early 1700s).

This was Kossoff’s first experience of the productive tension between two-dimensional painting and three-dimensional structure; his first intimation of how the flat, framed surface could hold interior space and exterior space at once. It was the experience of leaving London, the buildings which had surrounded him in his native Islington falling away as he left for more rural surroundings, which piqued his interest in architectural painting. A sketch done during this time of the local King’s Lynn Customs House is Kossoff’s first architectural study. Later, he made pictures with oil paint so thick it was more like a built environment than a painted one, allowing the material to fall away from the surface and be rebuilt in waves.

The Baines brothers made technically neat, emotionally sentimental studies of the town’s North Gate, the Kettle Mill, the squat, brick-worked, 15th Century Red Mount chapel. Thomas Baines and others also painted several views of the Greyfriars Tower in Norfolk. The tower stands firm and alone, the only surviving fragment of the Franciscan monastery which was demolished after Henry VIII’s dissolution. Today, it is recognised as the finest among the three surviving Fransiscan monastery towers in England.

Thomas Baines depicts the tower standing proud in the far right of the frame, facing down a blazing wave of nimbus cloud at sunset. The shorter buildings around it are as subservient as the cows in the foreground, lying at the feet of two upright humans. The dominion of man over animal is clear in the painting’s composition, but the tower itself seems to suggest a structural means by which man can reach towards the divine.

To Kossoff’s young mind, the painting would’ve echoed the newspaper images showing blitzed London burning behind St Paul’s cathedral. Much less a case of man challenging the divine, great architecture came to symbolise, for Kossoff and the artists of post-war Europe, the rebuilding of the human soul after the inimitable evils of the holocaust, the blitz and the “moral bombing” of Germany by the victorious allies.

After returning to a bombed-out London, Kossoff began a career of architectural painting, which in turn informed his intimate brand of formal portraiture. The house he had grown up in had been razed to the ground by German bombs, and much of the London landscape underwent significant change in the rebuilding process.

St Paul’s Cathedral became a symbol of London’s resistance, of home-front stoicism, as it withstood the blitz. Kossoff complicates this line of thought with his painting, Small Landscape With St Paul’s (1960), a thick, swathy abstract in monochrome, diminutive in size. It has none of the upright architectural theism of the Baines monastery tower. Through the viscous, massy material of his own grave architecture, Kossoff communicates the difficulty of wading through post-war fallout.

A portrait from the same year, simply entitled Head (1960) has a similar vibe, the low-drooping of the sitter’s forehead seeming troubled, disgruntled, the currents of thick paint dissolving their form into the abstract

By the 1980s and 1990s, Kossoff built up the layers of his paint to a more firmly structural, figurative end. One of his self portraits from 1972 shows the angle of the head inclining slightly in comparison to earlier portraits. Later still, his celebrated portrait of his brother, Chaim, shows a proud and firm sitter, chin raised, hands locked like buttresses, looking down at the viewer. Maybe even a little haughty. It’s not dissimilar, in manner and attitude, from the dramatic perspective of his famous views of Christ Church, Spitalfields.

Even as he builds form throughout the decades, Kossoff’s paintings still always reverberate with some sonorous and unsettling boom, still rush and flow with the headlong motion of time. The sheer drama of a 1990 preparatory sketch for one of his Christ Church paintings is sufficient to show this.

Some of what moves Kossoff’s best paintings, however, is a certain warmth, a faith in the human animal, and an embodied, tangible sensation of London community. Perhaps this is best communicated by his series of swimming pool paintings. Like Kossoff’s paint dripping off the canvas and being reapplied, the water drips from the skins of the bathers. (The heavily-applied oils of many Kossoff or Aeurbach paintings are so thick that they hover between matter-states, half solid half liquid, never truly dry [like an ancient stained-glass window bulging at the bottom]). Similarly, the people captured merge and mingle with the water. Osmosis occurs between their bodies, between the waters, the different kinds of interiority going on here, all suffused with a natural sunlight which glints artificially off the poolwater. There’s a sense of true community, a dialogue between water and structure which includes the human.

Sometimes, things need to fall away to find their form. Kossoff, who built paintings, knew the differences and the non-differences between structure and fluidity, whose fluxes might be the roots of the human soul.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice Kossoff titles available

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Lawrence Weiner (1942) + discount

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Lawrence Weiner and the Netherlands is a combination which now exists for almost 50 years. His connections with dutch directors and curators is legendary and he has made several special projects with them in dutch. Weiner is considered as a post minimal artist and one of the founders of Conceptual art and that is the reason why his works blend so well within the collections of the more important dutch museum. The van Abbemuseum, Stedelijk and Gemeentemuseum have all works by Weiner in their collections.

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But Weiner is much more than a conceptual artist. He is a book designer and poet at the same time  and these little sketches with words can be blown up into facades and objects with words. One of the most memorable to me was the facade at the Ljubljana Modern Art museum with a Weiner object on one of the outside museum walls. Impredssive, recognizable. So to celebrate the longtime history that Lawrence Weiner has with the Netherlands there is a discount this week of 10%  on all items at www.ftn-books.com . use the discountcode : LawrenceWeiner10 and receive a 10% discount on all items including some marvelous Lawrence Weiner publications.

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Terry Atkinson (1939)

 

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Founding member of the art project group ART & LANGUAGE and a very gifted artist in his own right too. He began to teach art at the Coventry School of Artwhile producing conceptual works, sometimes in collaboration with Michael Baldwin. In 1968 they, together with Harold Hurrell and David Bainbridge who also taught at Coventry. formed Art & Language. The group including Atkinson existed until 1974, when Atkinson left the group.

Atkinson is not the easiest artist to fall for. His subjects are war, disease and religion, making his paintings hard to admire. Still the use of color is in many cases bright and uplifting. Atkinson is an artists artist and had his exhibitions in the Netherlands at galleries and the van Abbemuseum in 1984.

www.ftn-books.com has 2 titles available

 

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Jan Gregoor (1914-1982)

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Jan Gregoor, became “famous” in the Netherlands for his crayon works, but for me it is not his art that makes the artist attractive. It is typical for the decades he lived and worked in, but what struck me most about Gregoor was the EXCELLENT exhibition poster that was made by the van Abbemuseum for an exhibition on the artist and designed by Cornet. It has the simplicity of the greatest of 60’s designs and for me personally i think this is absolutely one of the most splendid of all van Abbemuseum posters ( available at www.ftn-books.com).

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I just told that i am not that fond of Gregoor, but still he has made some excellent prints., which are worthwile to search for.

gregoor shop

 

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Remy Zaugg (1943-2005)

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Remy Zaugg was a Swiss painter, primarily known as a conceptual artist. He played an important role as both a critic and observer of contemporary culture, especially with regards to the perception of space and architecture.

This is how the biography of Zaugg on Widewalls starts, but there is of course much more to be told about Zaugg. Zaugg will be one of the great Swiss artists and because of the interest the dutch curators had and still have in Swiss artists ( there are many swiss artists in dutch public collections ) these artists are presented frequently in the Netherlands. Look at the history of the Gemeentemuseum ( Hodler, Gerstner, Lohse ) Stedelijk Museum ( Tinguely, Raetz and Lohse ) and the van Abbemuseum ( Lohse and Zaugg).

They all have a history with Swiss artists. The last one , the van Abbemuseum had a special exhibition on Remy Zaugg. and with this one of the first typically “RUDI FUCHS” catalogues was published. Hardly any illustrations, but functional text in a functional sober design…personally i love these catalogues and some of them are available at www.ftn-books.com. I will highlight two of them in this blog. Both are rare and typically for the van ~Abbemuseum books published in the eighties. The catalogues by Zaugg and Ian Wilson are well worth collecting.

 

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Keith Sonnier (1941) …the light master

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I have stolen this title from the German Lufthansa magazine. They did an article on Sonnier . the article included an interview, a video and some photographs. For those who do not know anything about Keith Sonnier I judge this as one of the best short introductions to THE LIGHT MASTER. The article, including a short video, can be found here:

https://magazin.lufthansa.com/xx/en/people-en/light-artist-keith-sonnier-the-light-master/

and for those who are searching for classic Sonnier publications. please look for them at www.ftn-books.com