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Ray Smith (1959)

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I first encountered the paintings by Ray Smith in 1992 at the Barbara Farber gallery, which catalogue is also available at www.ftn-books.com. These paintings are intense and “Rock and Roll”. Ray Smith could easily be seen as the child of Picasso and Frida Kahlo.

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He is a contemporary American artist, best known for his segmented paintings and sculptures combining elements of Cubism, printmaking, art historical reference, and collage into postmodern compositions. Often relating to Surrealism in his unreal juxtapositions, Smith’s work is also characterized by a unique kind of magical realism. He frequently utilizes anthropomorphic animals in his work in a manner akin to Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, stating about the creatures in his work: “They are beasts, but they are directly attached to a blueprint of our own existence.” Born in 1959 in Brownsville, TX on family land that was part of Mexico before the Texas Annexation, Smith grew up in Central Mexico, and continued to retain a cultural and geographic tie to the country. After attending art schools in both the United and Mexico, Smith ultimately settled in Cuernavaca while continuing to travel regularly to New York. Smith’s work can be found among the collections and exhibition histories of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

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Ivan Puni / Jean Pougny (1892-1956)

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I had never known this before, but now that i searched for Ivan Puni i found out that Jean Pougny and Puni are one and the same person. I knew that he stayed for most of his life in France and was succesful in France  and that must have been the reason that Puni became Pougny. the catalogue i have in my inventory is one of the best ones Willem Sandberg designed in the Fifties . It is a typical Sandberg designed catalogue and one of the first with tipped in color plates.

Puni received his formal training in Paris in 1910-11 at the Académie Julien and other schools, where he painted in a derivative fauvistestyle. Upon his return to Russia in 1912, he met, and exhibited with, members of the St Petersburg avant-garde, including Kazimir Malevich and Vladimir Tatlin. He made a second trip to Paris in 1914, returning to St. Petersburg in 1915. At this point, he began painting in a Cubist style reminiscent of Juan Gris. In 1915, Puni, (Aleksandra Ekster, Liubov Popova, Ivan Kliun, Ksenia Boguslavskaya, Olga Rozanova, Nadezhda Udaltsova, Nina Genke and others) formed Supremus, a group of artists dedicated to the promulgation of Suprematism, the abstract art movement founded by Malevich. Malevich and Puni co-authored the Suprematist Manifesto, published in 1916, which proclaimed a new, abstract art for a new historical era. Puni also organized the exhibitions Tramway 5 and 0.10, both held in St Petersburg in 1915, in which Malevich, Tatlin, Popova and others participated, and to which Puni contributed constructions and paintings. In 1915-1916 Puni, together with other Suprematist artists, worked at Verbovka Village Folk Centre. In 1919, he taught at the Vitebsk Art School under Marc Chagall.

Puni and his wife, Kseniya Boguslavskaya, emigrated from Russia in 1919, first to Finland, then in 1920 to Berlin, where the first exhibition consisting entirely of his work was held at the Galerie der Sturm. While in Berlin, Puni also designed costumes and sets for theatrical productions. Puni and Boguslavskaya relocated to Paris in 1924, where his style changed once again to a variant of Impressionism. In France, he signed his work Jean Pougny in an effort to distance his new art practice from his previous one in Russia. In 1946, Puni/Pougny became a French citizen. He died in Paris in 1956.

www.ftn-books.com has Puni/Pougny titles available.

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Aziz Bekkaoui (1969)

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One of the dutch fashion designers i truly enjoyed working with was AZIZ (Bekkaoui). I met a few of the great fashion designers in my time at the Gemeentemuseum. Frank Govers i found authentic but not that sympathetic, the same with Frans Molenaar …at a distance a likable personality, but as soon as you had met he was not the friendliest one. Max Heymans….. a rude person that thought of himself to be the king among dutch fashion designers, but for me he never reinvented himself, but his importance was based on a very loyal clientele who thought his designs were ina class of their own. Mart Visser a found sympathetic and one of the last i worked with was AZIZ Bekkaoui. A Moroccan born fashion designer of who i personally think is one of the most original ones to have appeared on the dutch fashion scene in the last few decades.  No gimmicks like Viktor & Rolf, but true and original fashion His fashion designs are inventive and highly original and…..he is certainly one of the friendliest designers i have met.

At the time of his Gemeentemuseum show he was hardly known, but the catalogue we made for the show was one of the most original ones at the time i was working at the Gemeentemuseum. Designed by Gracia Lebbink, we chose for a felt like white cover and the best printing possible…the result a highly collectable fashion exhibition catalogue which is still available at www.ftn-books.com

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Ans Wortel (1929-1996)

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When i started to collect art ( editions) i must have been 16 years of age and one of the first lithographs i acquired was one by Ans Wortel. A feminist artist who found her inspiration nearby. A feminine, mother, child approach to her subjects made her work very accessible and understandable to many. This together with the strong graphic quality these works were very appealing and at that time i bought 2 lithographs for my starting collection.

These were sold a long time ago because i found the works after many years to become less interesting. This was now some 30 years ago, but lately i rediscovered her works, because when you look at them again after not seeing them in a very long time , you discover them to be timeless and well worth collecting. There were other things to discover about Ans Wortel because at her peak she had some important exhibitions and became very popular as an artist in the Netherlands resulting in multiple exhibitions, among them at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam which catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

In the 1970s, the paintings and prints of Ans Wortel (1929–1996) were hailed by critics and purchased by major museums. Her work, imbued with intensely feminine themes, was very much in demand. The artist became a well-known Netherlander, whose non-conformist lifestyle spoke to everyone’s imagination. In the village of Bergen, where she lived for 20 years, her villa Kranenburgh is now museum Kranenburgh.

Tough women

Where her fellow artists sought innovation in abstraction, Ans Wortel remained faithful to figuration, developing a distinctive visual language and palette. Her paintings feature tough and robust women, with large hands and eyes, surrounded by surreal landscapes.

Liberated

In 1968 the mayor of Bergen offered her villa Kranenburgh. Many were the parties in her building – more numerous were the stories about her eccentric lifestyle. Her free-spirited life is reflected in the countless drawings and paintings that filled Kranenburgh. When, after twenty years, she had to leave the villa, she protests vehemently, but in vain.

 

 

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Joris Geurts (1958)

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Just a little younger than myself, but this is an artist who grows on you. I had the opportunity to follow his works for a long time now. In the early stages of his career at gallery Art & Project and later on at Slewe gallery ( from 1995).

In the beginning his compositions did not attract me at all, but from the mid Nineties on his works develop into something very special. He creates with his composition a universe and builds it with lines, squares, oval shapes and circles making them highly recognizable and personal paintings.

Slewe gallery represents Joris Geurts now for over 2 decades and in this time they commissioned Irma Boom to make a Geurts catalogue which has become one of my favorite Irma Boom catalogues of all time.

The catalogue is a typical Boom designed book , but it is not the catalogue which draws your attention, but the paintings depicted within. This period was a highly productive period for Joris Geurts and FTN-art is lucky to have acquired 2 paintings by Geurts from these important years ( POA). The Irma Boom designed catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

 

Here is the text from  the Slewe gallery pages

Joris Geurts, born in 1958 in Oss (NL), makes abstract paintings, drawings and prints.They are assiociatively built up, but transparantly layered and traceble. Small squares and dots float on deep blues and greens, giving associations with the kosmos or landscape.

After his study at the AKI in Enschede, Geurts started his career at Art & Project Gallery in Amsterdam in the early eighties. Since 1995 he showed regularly at Slewe Gallery. In 2001 he had a show at Noordbrabants Museum in ’s-Hertogenbosch, on which occasion a catalog had been published Purple Blue and Lemon Yellow, giving an overview of his work, with texts by Bert Jansen and Henk van Woerden. In addition to his painting practice he also works as a composer of music. His works have been collected by several important public collections, such as the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede and the corporate art collections of the AKZO Nobel, ABN AMRO, KPN, Bouwfonds and AEGON.

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Anthon Beeke (1940-2018)

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This morning i learned that one of the greatest of all dutch graphic designers, Anton Beeke, died in an Amsterdam hospital, yesterday on the 25th of September. Born in 1940 he soon became part of Fluxus and Provo and was one of the famous names in the AMSTERDAM art world in the sixties. He even became later a contributing partner of Total Design, the agency which was founded by Wim Crouwel ao. I mention this because where Total design was one of the first agencies to apply the computer in designing, Beeke stayed true to his own method, the typical way of composing an image with “camera, scissors and glue”.

His images are strong and stood out and drew immediate attention to the subject. One of his best known designs was the alphabet composed with nude woman.

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It was a meant and searched for reaction on the New Alphabet by Crouwel. There are several Beeke publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Zoltin Peeter (1942)

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Born in Amsterdam but living for the most part of his life in Friesland near Hallum. His works reflect the presence of the rural country side nearby. Abstract forms tumbling in an empty space. Etchings with dark thin forms in an empty white space give me the feeling of ZERO art, but it certainly is not. They fascinate and deserve to be known much better. Peeter has had some exhibitions in the 70’s in prestigious museums like the Kroller Muller Museum. The first encounter with a small work by Zoltin Peeter was his multiple he made for his 1971 exhibition in the Lakenhal. The multiple is available at www.ftn-books.com and shows directly the directions he was taking with his works. decades later you can see where is ended for now. Abstract forms, sparce use of color and in many compositions a realistic form or subject appears. I love his work and his studio…..

His studio is something different. Housed in an old shed he creates his works in the vicinity of the Friesland landscape. I found some beautiful photo’s on Google and want to share these with you , because i find them very special and they give the best impression possible of the surroundings in which Zoltin Peeter creates.

Her are the items which are for sale at www.ftn-books.com and ftn art

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Co Westerik ( 1924-2018) dies at the age of 94.

Yesterday morning the family of Co Westerik announced the death of this great dutch painter. His works are present in practically every large dutch museum and some admiring collectors ( the late Frits Becht ao) managed to buy more than average numbers of paintings from him and that is quite an accomplishment since his production was low…..extremely LOW. In many a year he managed to complete only as few as 3 paintings, making his work a rare work to add to a collection. It was different with his prints and drawings, because here his production was “normal”. One quality all his works have in common……it is the extreme detail and craftsmanship that make his works of high quality and stand out from the rest. At the time i worked at the Gemeentemuseum  i met the artist on several occasions, but i only remember that i spoke to his representatives concerning catalogue and postcard productions. Even on these occasion he was highly (rightfully) concerned about the result. But in the end he had the publication as he had visualized it. The costs did not matter to him….the result did. ww.ftn-books.com has many titles available on Co Westerik.

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Michael Parkes published by Gallery Steltman in 1988

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There was a time that the original art by Michael Parkes was still affordable. The mid Eighties changed that and Parkes became a highly commercial artist and for his show in 1988 at Steltman galleries, it was decided that together with the showing of the new paintings, a series of signed lithographs was to be published. But that was not the end , because beside the lithographs an excellent specially printed poster was published. On it the painting TUESDAY’s CHILD from 1988. This print has become one of the ost iconic ones published by Steltman, because it contained all the elements Parkes has become famous for. there is a Monkey, a juggler, a ballerina on a flaming rope and even the dramatic doves are included. Beside these elements, the composition of the painting is excellent. Making this one of my favorite Parkes prints of all time.

The print is available at www.ftn-books.com

parkes poster 1988 a

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Raul Cordero (1971)

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Raul Cordero was born in Cuba in 1971 and influenced by the Americam Conceptual artist like Nauman and Baldessari. There are not many Cuban artist that rose to fame in the Western world but Cordero together with Wifredo Lam ( Blog next month) is definitely one of them and of course there is a relation between the Netherlands and Cordero too, because he studied at the Rijksakademie.

The publications are rare and very hard to find , but i was fortunate to find probably the most important book on his works until this date . The book was published on the occasion of the Cordero exhibition held in Salamanca (Spain) on his works from 1996-2002. The book is rare and those booksellers that have a copy ask high prices for it. Check for my price at www.ftn-books.com, where this title is now available too.

His art education started in Havana (Academia San Alejandro and Instituto Superior de Diseño) and as said his influences mix an interest in conceptual American artists such as John Baldessari, Bruce Nauman or Chris Burden -who later informed his conceptual training- together with elements of the 12th century’s Flemish painting tradition, acquired during his postgraduate formation in the Netherlands (Graphic Media Development Centre and Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten). Cordero has held visiting professorships at the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) in Havana, Cuba; The San Francisco Art Institute, California and The Art Academy of Cincinnati, in Ohio, U.S.A.

cordero