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Amédée Cortier (1921-1976)

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This blog on Cortier is long due. I love Cortier and because his publications are scarce I almost forgot about him, but now that I have found the most important Cortier publication on his abstract works it is time to devote a blog to Amédée Cortier.  The book is on his abstract works and even contains a chapter on Cortier written by one of all times best curators …Jan Hoet.

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From 1936 to 1942, Amédée Cortier enjoys his training at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent. On the one hand, his oeuvre consists of paintings that he makes in various media (acrylic, oil, gouache, aquarelle, India ink or bistre, among others) on panel, paper or cardboard. On the other hand, he makes pen drawings, reliefs and models. Around 1950, influenced by the exhibition Le Cercle Artistique (Ghent, 1949), he applies himself to a short-lived geometric-abstract experiment, but decides after this to return to embrace his figurative visual language. He begins with painting rural scenes (1940), still lives and portraits of women (1950), and evolves towards a stark, simplified figurative language in schematic compositions. André Lothe (1885 – 1962) exerts an important influence on him with his Traité de la figure (1950) and Traité du paysage (1939). Around 1964 Cortier begins to paint resolute abstract and from 1966 – 1967 he favours colour over the relations between the forms. The transition to acrylic paint is to be understood in the same context. This medium helps him to heighten the intensity of his colours. His stark works are witness to a sense of natural law, but also leave room for intuition. Ultimately Cortier changes over to monochrome, by which he creates mutually coherent ensembles in the form of diptychs and triptychs. With his reliefs (1968), he evolves from the traditional painting to painting as object. Beginning in the 1970’s his work is completely dominated by colour, built up around a stark composition and a unity between colour and form. He gains public recognition with these works.

Cortier sees his own oeuvre confirmed in the work by the artist Ellsworth Kelly (1923 – 2015). Under the impulse of Peter Struycken (1939) he meets Kelly in 1976. As a member of Het Antenneke, his fascination grows for the Golden Ratio, an important compositional rule in his oeuvre. His friendship with Yves De Smet (1946 – 2004) is of crucial importance for his artistic career. He is not only a like-minded artist friend, but is also an important promoter and organiser of exhibitions dedicated to Cortier, such as Horizonnen & horizontalen (Horizons & horizontals) (1976). Cortier becomes a member of the Ghent group organised by De Smet called Plus-Groep, a collective of Ghent constructivists that are seeking the unity between form and colour. Via Plus-Kern – Centre for Constructive Design, established by De Smet and others in 1969, Cortier is actively promoted. This occurs through the medium of publications such as Plus-Nieuws, though also through participation in international exhibitions. In 1973 he is internationally recognised with the Sikken Prize.

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Ad de Keijzer (1923-1997)

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Ad De Keijzer was a creative visual artist. Ad De Keijzer was born in 1923. Also born in 1923 and of this same generation are John Balmain, Guy Fouquet, Paul Jenkins, José Maria Ascunce, and Nicole Fonlladosa.

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Born in 1923, Ad De Keijzer grew up during the 1950s and was inspired by the artistic atmosphere of the time. Abstract Expressionism prevailed in the 1950s as a chief method of painting, and explored ideas concerning the sublime and spirituality. Artists endeavoured to focus on painting’s formal properties, and Action Painting took inspiration from the political freedoms of the United States, in opposition to the limitations of the Soviet bloc. Significant artists of this period included Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Frank Kline, Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still and Adolph Gottlieb. In later revisions, the contributions and efforts of female artists such as Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, and Louise Bourgeois have been celebrated, amongst many other female creatives.

http://www.ftn-books.com has one Ad de Keijzer available.

ad de keijzer

 

 

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KRH Sonderborg (1923-2008)

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A Danish born artist where KRH stands for Kurt Rudolf Hoffmann and the Sonderborg stands for his birth town and he started to call himself KRH Sonderborg since 1951.

Sonderborg went to school in Hamburg, Germany and completed a merchant’s apprenticeship in 1939. He became a private student of the painter Ewald Becker-Carus in Hamburg in 1946. From 1947 to 1949 he studied painting, graphic art and textile design at the State Art School in Hamburg under Willem Grimm and Maria May.

Starting in 1953, he became a member of the group “Zen 49” and he went to Paris the same year where he learned engraving from Stanley William Hayter in the Atelier 17. Paris is also the place where he first encountered Tachism. In the years following the artist continued his travel and worked for some time in London, Cornwall, New York, Ascona, Rome and Paris again. While in New York, Sonderborg came into contact with Action Painting and Abstract Expressionism.

His own style is became more abstract, painting using swift, gestural strokes that reveal the painting process, with spontaneous colour application. Black and white contrasts are an important feature, later he added colours such as cadmium red.

K.R.H. Sonderborg exhibited in the 1958 Biennale in Venice. He was awarded the Prize for Graphic Art at the Biennale in Tokyo in 1960 as well as the Great International Prize for Drawing at the 1963 Biennale in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

From 1965 to 1990 Sonderborg held a post as professor of painting at the Stuttgart Art Academy. In 1969/70 he was a guest lecturer at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, as well as at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1986.

the following Sonderborg publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Serge Poliakoff (1906-1969)

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I love his art. It always reminds me of the best dutch abstract artists from the 60’s and i would not be surprised of Willem Hussem was influenced by Poliakoff’s art

Serge Poliakoff was born in Moscow in 1906, the thirteenth of fourteen children. (Some sources claim that he was born in 1900, which in fact fits in better with his later history – 1906 would have him leaving home and earning his living as a musician at the age of 12.) His father, a Kyrgyz, supplied the army with horses that he bred himself and also owned a racing stable. His mother was heavily involved with the church, and its religious icons fascinated him. He enrolled at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, but fled Russia in 1918. He arrived in Constantinople in 1920, living off the profits from his talent as a guitarist.

He went on to pass through Sofia, Belgrade, Vienna, and Berlin before settling in Paris in 1923, all the while continuing to play in Russian cabarets. In 1929 he enrolled at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. His paintings remained purely academic until he discovered, during his stay in London from 1935 to 1937, the abstract art and luminous colours of the Egyptian sarcophagi. It was a little afterwards that he met Wassily Kandinsky, Sonia and Robert Delaunay, and Otto Freundlich.

With these influences, Poliakoff quickly came to be considered as one of the most powerful painters of his generation. In 1947, he was trained by Jean Deyrolle in Gordes (Vaucluse region in France) amongst peers such as Gérard Schneider, Giloli, Victor Vasarely, and Jean Dewasne. By the beginning of the 1950s, he was still staying at the Old Dovecote hotel near Saint-Germain-des-Prés, which was also home to Louis Nallard and Maria Menton, and continuing to earn a reliable income by playing the balalaika.. A contract enabled him to quickly gain better financial stability.

In 1962 a room was given over to his paintings by the Venice Biennial, and Poliakoff became a French citizen in the same year. His works are now displayed in a large number of museums in Europe and New York. Poliakoff also worked with ceramics at the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres. He influenced the paintings of Arman.

The following Poliakoff publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Jaap Mooy (1915-1987)

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Jaap Mooy is a dutch artist who is increasingly recognized as being important for Modern Art in the Netherlands. He witnessed the development of abstract art and was in the last decade of his artistic life an abstract painter pur sang. There are many influences to be recognized within his art. There is a bit Lucebert, Karel Appel, Tajiri, Jean Arp and Tinguely, but also influences of Bauhaus in his collages.

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Still this kind of art is getting more important by the year, because it shows the way abstract painting was developing over the years in the Netherlands and Jaap Mooy was an important artist contributing to this development.

left Mooy and right Jean Arp

http://www.ftn-books.com has now the most important Jaap Mooy publication available.

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Ben Akkerman (1920-2010)

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I have always been an admirer of the works by Ben Akkerman. The first time i saw a painting by Akkerman was at the Centraal Museum and since i have been interested in his works. The paintings and drawings i could not afford so instead i started to collect Ben Akkerman publications. The result is that i have collected myself a small but important Akkerman library and the years made me find some duplicates which i now have put up for sale at www.ftn-books.com

Ben Akkerman was , the same as Jan Schoonhoven, an employee for the municipality of Enschede and he painted in the evening in his spare time. Called a ‘hardcore abstract ” painter i personally share his paintings among the Minimal paintings from that era. These are very delicate compositions that are pure minimal art.

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The Gemeentemuseum used the “diamond” by Ben Akkerman for almost 10 years in its letters and invitations, but now that the name has changed in the far less appealing name ” Kunstmuseum Den Haag” they left the beautiful yellow diamond shaped logo for one i do not like at all. To commemorate the diamond they collected 30 Ben Akkerman paintings and made a wonderful presentation  to honor Ben Akkerman and its “diamond”.

 

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Ko Oosterkerk ( 1928-2012)

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Jacobus Willem (Ko) Oosterkerk. It has not been recently that Ko Oosterkerk was admired for his black and white , highly abstract etchings. Almost in a contstructivist way he builds his compositions, but always was free, where the constructivist set their limitations.

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A few years ago (2016) there was an exhibition at the Kampen Museum, which showed all the qualities of his work through the years. Just have a look at all these wonderful works by searching with Google and you will be amazed how timeless these works are. I leafed through the van Abbemuseum catalogue from 1975 and noticed the quality of all his works. I can highly recommend this artist who is on the verge of becoming much more popular, but now still is very affordable.

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Stephan Fritsch (1962-2014)

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It is impossible to know every artist that ever had a gallery or museum presentation in the last 50 years or so. But sometimes you encounter work by an artist in a way you did not expect an artist who you did not know of, but who fascinates with the first works you see. In this case i had bought a lot of mainly German books on German artists , because i wanted to have the two titles on Richard Schur included in the lot. I had the winning aftersale bid and bought together with the Schur books, books ( all sealed) on other German contemporary abstract painters. One of them Stephan Fritsch.

For me an unknown painter, but with a fascinating approach to his abstract expressionist art. His works reminded me somehow of the ones i had seen in the past by Kirkeby, but where Kirkeby has a link with nature, i only see abstracttion in the works by Fritsch and …..COLOR!

Still Fritsch is a painter to get to know and to explore , however i also learned that he died in 2014 and now it is unfortunate that he died at such a young age and only leaves us a limited amount of works.

The Stephan Fritsch book is available at www.ftn-books.com

fritsch

 

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Sam Francis (continued) and Nico Delaive

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As long as i remember i encountered the works by Sam Francis at the gallery Nico Delaive. From the early days of Swatch specials  (Sam Francis special) and the space occupied by Nico Delaive together with Art Unlimited the publisher i took an interest in Sam Francis  and even now , many years later,  i am always keen on the publications by Sam Francis. The copy that i recently added to my inventory is a rare one. Only 1500 copies worldwide of which not many will be on the market. The copy is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Wim Izaks (1950-1989)

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Almost violent in his approach of his canvas. Bright colors, large mouvements, complex compositions in the true Lyrical abstract tradition. studied at AKI under Roger Raveel, who valued his works as important and promising.

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Izaks died at an early age but had an extremely large production. His paintings come up for sale occasionally and are sold by the Izaks foundation who uses these funds for publications on Izaks and a yearly stipendium for promising young artists.

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