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Erwin Olaf donates 500 “key” works to the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

This morning you could read in the Volkskrant that Erwin Olaf donated 500 of his key works to the Rijksmuseum. Why the Rijksmuseum….because the last 5 year a bond between these 2 major forces in the art world grew now resulting in the extremely generous and large gift of the 500 most important works from Erwin Olaf’s career.

At the same time as this gift was announced, it was announced that the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and the Fotomuseum will both open an Erwin Olaf exhibition in February 2019. Please check  both their sites in half a year when the details will be known for both these exhibitions. If you can not wait until February…… Check Erwin Olaf’s site and visit www.ftn-books.com for his publications.

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Henri-Georges Adam (1904-1967)

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One of the most striking catalogues from the Fifties by Willem Sandberg was done for the Adam exhibition in 1955. The use of simple brown colored paper and the special print by Henri-Georges Adam on the frontcover made this one very special and an example for many catalogues which were published since. The use of brown colored paper. the special print on the outside , the typography and lay out made this an outstanding catalogue by Sandberg . Willem Sandberg must have admired Adam, because you can feel the love that went into this catalogue.

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Adam a typical Fifties artist was groundbreaking in his etchings and because of the forms he used is typical for the abstract art which appeared in that decade. In the Netherland there were Ouborg, Hussem and Nanninga in France there was Henri -Georges Adam.

Here is an excellent biography on Henri-Georges Adam i found at gallery MC.

Henri-Georges Adam was born in Paris in 1904. In 1918, after his studies at the school of clock industry, he started working in his father’s workshop, jeweler. He followed (1925) evening classes to the art school Germain-Pilon in Montparnasse, then to the Beaux-Arts. Henri-Georges Adam became a drawing professor of the city of Paris. Then, he made satirical drawings and political caricatures. 
In 1934, he got injured after an accident and while his resting time he approached the etching. During all his life he wanted the etching to be black and white. In 1934 was organized his first exhibition. He met regularly Surrealists: Breton, Aragon and Eluard. In 1936, he created a series of etchings violently expressionists around the war of Spain. Adam adhered in 1936 to “the Association of the writers and revolutionary artists” where he met Estève, Manessier, Pignon or Arpad Szenes. He took part in the exhibition “July 14th” with Romain Rolland (and Picasso, Matisse, Dufy, Chagall, etc). 
Mobilized in 1939, he was taken prisoner; drafted the hospital of Besançon as a medical orderly, he carried out many drawings of soldiers and casualties. Released in 1940, Henri-Georges Adam discovered the sculpture two years later. His etched work, initially figurative, stuck more and more to the purity of the lines, the plans and their articulation together. In 1943, he was one of the fifteen clandestine founders of the Salon de Mai. This same year, he created decorations and costumes for “Les mouches”, the first play of Jean-Paul Sartre, put in scene by Charles Dullin. The artist made friend with Pablo Picasso who lent him his atelier in the Grand Augustin-street until 1950 and his property of Boisgeloup (1948-1949). 
From 1947, Adam made paperboards for the tapestry. An exhibition of his whole work was devoted to him in 1949 to the Maeght Gallery. In 1952, the Bookshop-Gallery La Hune presented his copperplate etchings cut. During 5 years, he was professor of drawing in Anthony (1950-1955). In 1955 a first retrospective of his work was organized in Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam. Adam created in 1956 and 1957 one of his most famous series of etchings, “Dales, Sable et Eau”, around the plays of the sea, sand and the granite, and the series of sculptures “Mutations marines”. He carried out new tapestries (French Embassy in Washington, UNESCO, etc). “The Signal”, set up on the square of the House of the Culture in Le Havre in 1961, was the first of his monumental sculptures. Adam multiplied from 1962 the architectural sculptures. Henri-Georges Adam was named in 1959 etching professor then chief-professor-atelier of monumental sculpture at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris. He set up his own atelier and his printing press in La Ville du Bois, close to Montlhéry, while many exhibitions of his work were presented in the French and European museums. The artist carried out in 1961 an important series of sculptures, “Cryptograms”. 
A retrospective of his work was presented in 1966 at the national Museum of modern art of Paris. 
The following year, in full creative activity, Henri-Georges Adam had a heart attack at the 63 years age. Many retrospectives of his work will be organized after the death of the artist.

Some of the Henri-Georges Adam publication are at this moment available at www.ftn-books.com

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Arthur Spronken (1930- 2018)

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A few weeks ago Arthur Spronken died, Famous in the South of the Netherlands with his horse sculptures. He has become each decade of more importance for the dutch sculpture scene. His statues are widely spread in public spaces in Limburg and because of their size in most cases outside.

What do i think of Spronken as a sculptor and his sculptures. To me they look like classic sculptures , influenced by the “classic” Chinese Tang hors ceramic horses. Their legs in most cases missing , leaving a muscular torso of the horse and in most cases there is “action and mouvement ” in the torso.

A little like the technique the futurists used to use within their paintings, suggesting a mouvement. After his initial fame in Limburg, his sculptures spread over the Netherlands. Making sculptures in public places in towns like Amsterdam, Haarlem and Zwolle. I respect his craftsmanship but his sculptures never fascinated me enough to buy a small one for my collection,. They come up for auction regularly and their prices are still on the verge of affordable. His sculptures are nice to look at and they draw your attention immediately when you encounter them, but for me the do not intrigue long enough to collect them.

Arthur Spronken has had some important exhibitions in the Netherlands. Among them Beelden Aan Zee and the Frans Hals Museum and www.ftn-books.com has some nice titles on the sculptor Arthur Spronken. What i personally like about Spronken is the catalogue which was made for the van Bohemen/Spronken Stedelijk Museum exhibition in 1968. A designed catalogue by Wim Crouwel.

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Narcisse Tordoir (1954) …painting as an act

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A key figure in the Antwerp art scene and also very well known in the dutch art scene because he is an advisor to the Rijksakademie Amsterdam.

But besides his presence in the art scenes of both the Low Countries, he has become world famous because of his approach to painting. Tordoir considers painting as an act and with this he has had performances in France, the UK, USA , Austria and many more countries, thus introducing his very personal approach to the art of painting to a new art scene each tine he had a performance or an exhibition outside Belgium or the Netherlands.

It is hard to find a reasonable priced work by Tordoir, but about 10 years ago i got lucky and bought a tetralogy at a local auction. It is a work typical for the works Tordoir produced during the eighties on which he combined several smaller ” paintings into a unique work of art. This work consists of 4 framed works of abstract figures forming together a unique Narcisse Tordoir. This work is now for sale at FTN art together with the books www.ftn-books.com has on Narcisse Tordoir.

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Wim Crouwel..design of the Atelier series for the Stedelijk Museum.

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The focus of this blog is on the covers of a very impressive series Wim Crouwel designed for the Stedelijk Museum during a period of roughly 14 years in the Sixties and Seventies ( between 1965 and 1979). This series has the typical Crouwel layout and typography and beside these elements these designs are ” clean” without any frills ….just function. These were done when the Total Design agency had their “GOLDEN YEARS” and Wim Crouwel was one of the most important members of Total Design ( founded in 1963). This is a great series of 16 publications . Some with loose pages in portfolio, others in the shape of posters or just ordinary booklets, but all have the quality design Wim Crouwel stands for. Most of these publications are available at www.ftn-books.com and if your are looking for other Crouwel publications search for them at the same site.

 

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Harunobu ( 1724-1770) and Utamaro (1753-1806)

Both are Japanese print masters and there is only a time difference 30 years between these two great Japanese artists, but the difference between them is as large as  a classical painting by Sir Alma Tadema and a Modern painting by Soulages.

Where Harunobu’s craftmanship is rooted in the tradition of Japanese print making , i find Utamaro’s prints being far more inventive. His lines are clean and do remind me a little of the  outlines used by Herge and Joost Swarte. Classic scenes, actors and geisha’s and even shunga prints, all is mastered by this great Japanse artist. These prints were “In Vogue” by the impressionist artists and that is one of the reasons why so many of them can be found in Western Europe. Monet had them, van Gogh collected them and even made some paintings after them and the Rijksmuseum has thousands of them in their collection from which a selection is now and then on show. These shows are accompanied by some great bilangual catalogues of which the Harunobu and Utamaro ones are for sale at www.ftn.books.com

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Mark Prent (1947)

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Yesterday, Polish born artist Mark Prent contacted me about the Stedelijk Museum catalogue i have for sale on his exhibition in 1978. A never had studied the catalogue in detail before. But is a “dark’ catalogue which reflects the work of Prent in an excellent way. His works are “dark”

have a look at www.markprent.com and see for yourself what i mean

Mark Prent works consist of life-moulded mixed media, polyester resin and fiberglass casts of human models in sometimes disturbing poses and juxpositions. Mark Prent has consistently maintained throughout the years, that his sculptures and installations do not carry intentional messages. Despite the powerfully grotesque imagery that he has employed, interpretation is left to the viewer. Prent developed his own unique technique of layering to give a heightened realism to his figures; thus giving rise to the label “Extended Realism”. When he later became concerned about the toxicity of polyester resin, he began to experiment with other materials, developing innovative techniques for recreating that trademark quality of virulent realism. This venture into new materials led him in many new directions in his own work and ultimately, to become a technical resource for other artists as well.

Having followed his education in the US and exhibitions in Amsterdam , Berlin and Montreal his works are known all over the world, but because of their “Dark” nature never have become popular.

In 2005 Prent began a new series of video-taped performance pieces in collaboration with videographer/son Jesse Real Prent. In this series, Prent’s own body becomes a living, interacting component of his nightmarish scenarios. He continues to produce new sculptures in his Vermont studio. www.ftn-books.com  has the Stedelijk Museum Mark Prent catalogue available.

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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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Walace Berman (1926-1976)

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You have to dig in a little deeper to appreciate the art of Wallace Berman. Wallace Berman a Collage artist who was of great influence to 60’s art in California.

He was an American visual and assemblage artist and  has been called the “father” of assemblage art.

I started to take an interest in Berman when i first acquired an impressive title on Berman at a huge discount at de Slegte bookstores in the Netherlands. They had stacks and stacks of these books , because the Berman ICA exhibition was not popular at all and many of the printed books were unsold. Published in 1992, it is now 25 years ago and has not lost its importance. This is an excellent book on Berman and shows the qualities of Berman as an Underground artist and the publisher of the ground breaking magazine Semina of which only 9 issues were published .

This excellent Berman book which was published with the Berman / ICA Amsterdam exhibition was printed by the best printer (Lecturis), has an excellent design and typography and is considered by me as one of the best exhibition publications in the Netherlands from the 90’s.

 

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Pearl Perlmuter (1915-2008)

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A forgotten artist she is. One  whom i stumbled upon when i listed some of Wessel Couzijn’s publications

https://ftn-blog.com/2018/01/16/wessel-couzijn-ii-now-for-sale/

Pearl Perlmuter (New York, September 23, 1915 – Amsterdam, May 8, 2008) was a Dutch-American sculptor.
Pearl Perlmuter grew as the daughter of orthodox Eastern European Jews in New York City.

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She studied law at Fordham University School of Law and attended evening classes sculptureat the prestigious Art Students League of New York (from 1940 to 1943 by William Zorach and from 1943 to 1945 by Ossip Zadkine).
She made at this time to know the painting of Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, both representatives of the abstract expressionist movement.
In 1945 she met the Dutchman Wessel Couzijn, a Jew who had emigrated to the United States.
He had also registered at the Art Students League.
This meeting led to a marriage between the two in December 1945.
In 1946 Couzijn Wessel and his wife returned to Amsterdam, where they had hoped to build a career, but where it mostly Couzijn was that the orders received.
From 1963 to 1967 she taught at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and from 1977 to 1981 at the Academy of Art and Industry in Enschede.
In 2008 she died at the age of 92.

 

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Publications on Perlmuter are scarce, but www.ftn-books.com has one publication available