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Herman Bieling (1887-1964)

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Born in Germany, but living near Rotterdam for almost his entire life, Bieling has somehow not become the great and well known artist he was expected to become. His art is a very personal kind of art. With influences of cubists and realism he composes paintings that are only part abstract , but for the most part one can recognize the scene.

left Bieling and right Boers

I have always been fascinated by Bieling, not that i want to own a Bieling for my collection , but more in a way that i think that Bieling stands for typical Forties art in the Netherlands in the past century. He is a kind of link between the “old” realistic” way of painting and the emerging art of abstraction. In the same way i am fascinated by Willy Boers, who is a far better artist and of who i think he was important in developing abstract art in the Netherlands. www.ftn-books.com has on both mentioned artists books available.

 

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Nicolas de Stael (1914-1955)

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Another artists artist is Nicolas de Stael. You can find some of his works in french museum and possibly there are some works in the Netherlands in collections, but the main part of his paintings that are in public collections can be found in French museum, because in France de Stael is known.  Undeservedly de Stael has not become the great name in art he deserves to be. He should be known worldwide , because his abstract art is a highly personal voyage through the landscape of Modern Art. In his short life he experimented with lyrical geometric abstract forms , using less prominent colors than many of his contemporaries.

Every decade there is another large retrospective exhibition in which is tried to explain the importance of de Stael, but so far without success. Still it is neccessary that curators from all over the world present again and again this groundbreaking atist until the greater public becomes familiar with his kind of forms , shiftings and paintings and starts to appreciate this great artist. Preferably not in a way that in every household a reproduction is hung on the wall because it is fashionable to have a “DE STAEL’ on your wall, but in a way that a large public can grow accustomed  to and appreciate this great artist. to start….

www.ftn-books.com has some great titles available

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Piet Mondriaan / Mondrian’s studio

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The studio of Piet Mondrian were works of art of them selves. They acted like a true work “in situ” where every item had its proper place . Because of this, the studio itself became a work of art. This was recognized by many and one of the greatest photographers from last centur even made a series of photo from the Paris studio. The same with the NY studio which was photographed by Arnold Newman.

Kertesz and Newman , two great photographers who realized that Mondrian was a very special painter and made these photographs with one purpose….. so we could see the extraordinary qualities Mondrian had when he approached a painting or an object.

There is onegreat article on Artsy where the studio’s of Mondrian are described.

https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-mondrian-turned-studios-giant-abstract-paintings

There are some excellent publications on Mondrian and his studios available at www.ftn-books.com including a paper model kit

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Gerrit Benner (1897-1981)

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One of my first blogs was devoted to the museum Belvedere where i encountered some wonderful paintings by Gerrit Benner. This blog is solely devoted to Benner because he deserves it. His paintings are among the first abstract paintings which still hold a link with realism in the Netherlands . These paintings are definitely inspired by nature. Skies, meadows and even an abstract cow can be determined in the compositions. Benner is a painter “pur sang” who’s works are rooted in the dutch tradition of abstract paintings. For instance Mondrian used these abstracted landscapes in his own painting from the early 20th century.

on the left a painting by Benner with Red cloud on the right Landscape with Red cloud by Piet Mondriaan

Benner is a great painter who deserves to be known outside the Netherlands and for those visiting the Netherlands. When you visit the Stedelijk, Gemeentemuseum, Belvedere and Museum Twente you surely will encounter a Benner painting in their permanent collections.

There are some very nice Benner publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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William Klein (1928) a master of abstract photography

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I found an excellent biography on Artnet on William Klein, but for me the importance of Klein is the fact that William Klein made a stunning catalogue together with Wim Crouwel for his 1967 exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. The catalogue has some very bold typography and the use of the bright yellow in contrast with the black and white photograph in the back makes it for me a classic. Here is the Artnet bio.

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William Klein is an American artist known for his unconventional style of abstract photography depicting city scenes. Although similar in subject matter to other street photographers such as Diane Arbus and Saul Leiter, as well as fashion photographers Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, Klein’s images break from established modes. “I came from the outside, the rules of photography didn’t interest me. There were things you could do with a camera that you couldn’t do with any other medium—grain, contrast, blur, cock-eyed framing, eliminating or exaggerating grey tones and so on,” he reflected. “I thought it would be good to show what’s possible, to say that this is as valid of a way of using the camera as conventional approaches.” Born on April 19, 1928 in New York, NY, Klein studied painting and worked briefly as Fernand Léger’s assistant in Paris, but never received formal training in photography. His fashion work has been featured prominently in Vogue magazine, and has also been the subject of several iconic photo books, including Life is Good and Good for You In New York (1957) and Tokyo (1964). In the 1980s, he turned to film projects and has produced many memorable documentary and feature films, such as Muhammed Ali, The Greatest (1969). Klein currently lives and works in Paris, France. His works are held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others.

There are more titles on or with contributions by William Klein available at www.ftn-books.com

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Ernst van Leyden (1892-1962) … a forgotten painter

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Undeservedly forgotten by most and rarely presented nowadays in exhibitions and gallery presentations. The story of van Leyden is that he fortunately had a loyal group of admirers and collectors, but after trying to give him back his popularity with an exhibition around 2008, it is again complete silence.

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Van Leyden was an extremely productive and versatile artist, hugely inspired by his numerous travels: his use of warm colors, striking compositions, and strong rendition – whether figurative or abstract – of people, animals, objects and landscapes made him a thoroughly appreciated artist within a circle of peers and friends to which Picasso, Salvador Dali and Willem de Kooning belonged as well.

It just took a look at a recently acquired catalogue on van Leyden from 1964 and it oozes with quality.  Rotella, Villegle and others using the art of collage must have been inspired by van Leyden. Who dares …who presents this great artist again and gives him the stage in Modern Art he deserves to have?

www.ftn-books.com has the Stedelijk Museum and galerie Anderson -Meyer catalogues available for sale.

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Felim Egan (1952) and the Stedelijk Museum

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I had never heard of Felim Egan, but when i saw one of his paintings ( for the first time at Seasons gallery in Den Haag) i became an admirer. A free kind of constructivist abstraction in soft colors, which looks like Irish mist over a landscape. Later i found 2 publications on this artist which are now available at www.ftn-books.com so when i encountered these i decide to write  a blog on an artist of whom i did not know very much except that he had exhibited in the Stedelijk Museum. I searched and found this article on his Felim Egan’s own website : www.felimegan.ie

FELlM EGAN was born in lreland in 1952 and studied at Belfast and Portsmouth, England before attending the Slade School of Art in London. He then spent a year at the British School at Rome in 1980 before returning to Dublin. Since then he has lived and worked at Sandymount Strand and the Docklands, on the edge of Dublin Bay.

He is known as a painter of restrained eloquence, who sparingly deploys a vocabulary of hieroglyphic motifs over monochromatic expanses of colour. His paintings are built up slowly with layers of thin colour applied to the surface and stone powder ground into the acrylic. The work is universal in spirit and at the same time emotionally intimate. His paintings are epiphanic, in that they convey to us the essential nature or meaning of something of which we were previously unaware. He is an abstract artist, a painter of quite formal abstract images, and yet his work is tied to the place he lives and works, to the long horizons, big skies and empty sands of the Strand and sea. In this way his abstract paintings are almost landscapes, with a magical quality that his neighbour, the poet Seamus Heaney, has aptly described “a balance of shifting brilliances”.

Egan has exhibited widely across Europe with 72 solo exhibitions since 1979 including major shows at the lrish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin,1996 and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, 1999. In 1981 he represented Ireland at the Xie Biennale de Paris and in 1985 at the San Paulo Bienal. In 1993 he won the prestigious UNESCO prize in Paris, and in 1995 the Premiere Prize at Cagnes-sur-Mer. His work hangs in numerous public collections including the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; the Ulster Museum, Belfast; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the collection of the European Parliament. Major Commissions include; Dublin Castle; National Gallery of Ireland: O’Reilly Hall, UCD; Meeting House Square, Temple Bar; Pavilion Theatre, Dunlaoghaire; City Quay Building, Dublin; New Providence Wharf, London; the National Gallery of Ireland; Deutsche Bank, UK and Dublin and a large scale public ‘sculptural work’ at Cork Street, Dublin.
In 2005 he completed an installation of paintings at Deutsche Bank Headquarters, Dublin.

Felim Egan is a member of Aosdána.

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Marc Mendelson (1915-2013)

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Born in the UK, but worked and lived for most of his life in Belgium. He is considered to be part of the Cobra mouvement, but was not a participating member of the mouvement. Many people know his work without knowing that it is by Mendelson, because the mural in Brussel’s subwaystation “Parc” is by his hand. The development of his style and work is something special because he started as a figurative painter, became an abstract one and for the final part of his life he became a figurative painter again. Personally i stumbled upon his works , because at one time i could buy a large book on him in a remainder sale and became fascinated by his abstract works and maybe i can convince you with this blog too of his qualities as a painter and  to read something more about Mendelson after seeing these beautiful abstract paintings.

Books on Mendelson are available at www.ftn-books.com

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I love the works by Victor Pasmore (1908-1998)

 

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Victor Pasmore (1908 – 1998) was born in Chelsham, Surrey, the son of a well-known physician and mental specialist and an amateur painter. He was educated at Harrow School where he first became seriously interested in painting. Following the sudden death of his father he had to abandon his studies at the Central School of Arts and Crafts where he had studied under A. S. Hartrick, an artist who had worked in France and who knew van Gogh. Pasmore, who had expected to go Oxford and then on to The Slade School of Art, now had to find employment as a clerk in the Public Health Department in London instead, a job he held until 1937.

During this time he joined the London Artists’ Association and had his first solo exhibition at their Cooling Galleries on Bond Street in 1933. In 1937 Pasmore left the Public Health Department and formed an independent art school with fellow artists Claude Rogers, Graham Bell and William Coldstream in Fitzroy Street. The school’s first show in 1938 coincided with its move to 316 Euston Road which led to the art critic Raymond Mortimer to identify them as the Euston Road Group. Pasmore himself moved to a studio at 8 Fitzroy Street, formerly occupied by Sickert and Whistler, and spent his time teaching and painting.

Pasmore abandoned visual representation and developed a purely abstract style in 1947. His work, often in collage and construction of reliefs, pioneered the use of new materials and was sometimes on a large architectural scale. He held his first abstract solo exhibition at the Redfern Gallery, London, in 1948. Herbert Read, an important art critic of the time, described Pasmore’s new style as ‘The most revolutionary event in post-war British art’. In the summer of 1950 he visited St Ives where he became associated with Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth and joined the Penwyth Society, the local exhibiting group. www.ftn-books.com has some nice Pasmore titles available.

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peaceful uneasy feeling…Emil Schuhmacher (1912-1999)

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At the time Rudi Fuchs was director of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, he organized an exhibition with works by Emil Schumacher in the just finished “Polak” zalen of the Gemeentemuseum. These rooms are on the ground floor and you have to pass these when you enter the museum by its back entrance where the personel enters the museum. It is just some 45 meters, but every time i passed these paintings by Schumacher i got an uneasy feeling. Perfect abstract paintings but because of the layers of paint these paintings almost were “organic” in their appearance and this organic quality made me uneasy everytime i passed them. What else can be said about them?… these paintings were impressive but i never would one for myself , because this feeling i got from them was to unpleasant to ever want one. A work of art not has not to be beautiful, nor being pleasing in its appearnce, but the way Schumacher paintings evoked feelings with me is the reason i never will want one for my collection. Still these abstract paintings have a great abstract quality and in some cases even a peaceful one.

There are some Schumacher titles available at www.ftn-books.com

the above titles are available at www.ftn-books.com