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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

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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.

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Franz von Stuck (1863-1928)

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If it was not for the van Gogh Museum, not many would have known of Franz von Stuck in the Netherlands, but because of an exhibition in 1995/1996 his works are now much better known over here. The impressive catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com.

From humble Miller’s son to prince of artists in Munich: the career of Franz von Stuck is the dream of every artist. After the young Stuck caused a stir with his first major painting, The GUARDIAN OF PARADISE he was suddenly the centre of attention in the art world.

In works such as Sphinx and SIN he reflected the Symbolist themes of the age, concentrating on the erotic and highly dramatic aspects. The flat decorative compositions and the focus on the essential, without superfluous detail, ensure that his art is still relevant today.

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The book available at www.ftn-books shows exactly why von Stuck is important for todays art. The focus on the most important part in a composition is what nowadays artists do in abstract painting. This is the link between von Stuck and todays contemporary abstract expressionist art.

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Wim Crouwel….SM Gedrukt in Japan / 1967

Wim Crouwel is a regular name appearing in my blog. This is not only because i have many titles available at www.ftn-books.com, but mainly because i consider Wim Crouwel the most important graphic designer from last century. There are some that are important too and i think of Gerstner and Sandberg, but Wim Crouwel is in my opnion the absolute best. Wim Crouwel made some 200+ designs between 1960 and 1980 for the Stedelijk Museum, Among them posters, catalogues an folders and many have become iconic for graphic design in the Sixties. There was of course the VORMGEVERS catalogue which is in high demand and extremely hard to find, but the one i would like to discuss now is the GEDRUKT IN JAPAN catalogue, which has become rare and expensive too. It is of great graphici quality and although it is only 20 pages, for me it is the summit in design from the sixties. A simple but highly effective lay out. The use of Magenta on the front . The SM logo and underneath a very very fine line with below it one of the logo’s for the Osaka Art Festival . Published in 1967 with no. 407……it is perfection on the 20 pages.

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Aart Klein (1909-2001) …typically dutch?

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No definitely not!….Klein is of the most important dutch photographers from the last century and recorded daily life in the Netherlands , but that does not mean that his photographs are typically dutch. Their subject is in many cases dutch, but their appeal is more international than one would imagine. I have sold Klein publications all over the world , including some to Japan. Aart Klein is for me one of the greats from the last century . His black and white photography has a graphic quality, which is rarely seen among his contemporaries.

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The Stedelijk Museum devoted a special exhibition to his photographs, but beside this special show he contributed to many other exhibitions with his quality photographs. Aart Klein publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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de Angst … Juni 1983

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If ever there was an obscure magazine in the Netherlands it was de Angst. Only a few volumes were published and the one depicted in this blog is one of them. It is from June 1983, was published in an edition size of only 100 copies. Printed/stencilled contents, hand bound signed in the plate by the authors Edzard Diderik, Martin Bril, Dirk van Weelden and Rob Scholte, who also made the original etching which was used as cover.

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The etchinh was colored by hand and the design was later used for one of his editions and a painting with the same name. In the magazine contributions a.o. by members of the ( Amsterdam) punk/avant garde scene which were finding their way into the multiple disciplines of Contemporary Art. There are contributions by Scholte, Maarten Ploeg and Peter Klashorst, who all made a serious art career. This rare magazine is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Jackson Pollock and the Stedelijk Museum.

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Willem Sandberg was the fan and admirer who initiated the first presentations of Jackson Pollock in Europe. The Stedelijk Museum presented on several occasions his art and during these exhibitions made acquisitions resulting in some of the most iconic and important paintings in their collection. Among them is REFLECTIONS OF THE BIG DIPPER from 1947.

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Reflection of the Big Dipper consists of built up layers of paint with dripped enamel as the final touch, concluding the composition. It was around 1947 that Jackson Pollock traded in his brushes for sticks, trowels and knives and began adding foreign matter, such as sand, broken glass, nails, coins, paint-tube tops and bottle caps to his canvases. From this point on, Pollock’s application of paint became his main theme, which he tried to radicalize. With the body of work he thus created, Pollock found a unique position within the concurrent Abstract-Expressionist movement. Reflection of the Big Dipper was exhibited at the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1948, along with sixteen other paintings by Jackson Pollock. The show received positive reviews. Pollock’s works from this time are a transitional step between a more traditional handling of paint and his revolutionary technique of dripping paint on canvases off a large scale.

www.ftn-books.com has a nice selection of Stedelijk Museum  publications on Jackson Pollock available.

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Robert Olaf Stoof (1945-1999)…and Real Free Press.

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Why this blog on a publisher? It is just plain simple…. Stoof is one of the most influential European publishers who paved the way for the alternative comic scene of which for instance , Joost Swarte, was one.

Robert Olaf Stoop was born in Amsterdam and grew up with his grandmother in Indonesia. He grew up to be a full-blooded anarchist, putting provocational pamphlets in the newspapers of non-suspecting travellers when he was working at the AKO in Schiphol Airport. He made posters for Provo magazine, and got involved with comics during the 1960s. In 1966, he self-published his comic ‘De Lotgevallen van Roza’, which can be considered the first European underground comic.

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He founded publishing house The Real Free Press in Amsterdam, “the lost connection for solid facts” which imported American underground comics and reprinted the work of long-forgotten geniuses such as George Herriman, Winsor McCay, Gustave Verbeck and George McManus. Stoop also published magazine De Real Free Press Illustratie, which featured many old and new comic artists, and ran from 1968 until 1974.

Olaf Stoop was one of the first to recognize the talent of Joost Swarte, and published his work in several forms, such as ‘De Papalagi’, which became famous world-wide, and Swarte’s first comic, ‘Modern Art’ (1980).

Stoop can be considered the founder of the Dutch alternative comics scene. An intriguing personality, he lived his whole life as an anarchist and a free mind. He died of a heart attack at the age of 52.

www.ftn-books.com has found of the Real Free Press papers with works by a.o Robert Crumb and has them for sale .

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“Negerkunst uit Centraal Afrika”

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Yesterday morning there was an article in the Volkskrant about the way art in museums by colored people and minorities must be described . The reason why the dutch museums are also looking for a desirable idiom is that also in dutch history there is a part of their history which is very doubtful. The catalogue which is in the title is the example which was given in the article ( available at www.ftn-books.com ). The exhibition was in those days, (which is very recent history) announced by the journalists and museum as “primitive art by natives inspired by western civilization a way of announcement as if we in Western Europe were civilized and others not.” A complete wrong way of describing the art from these artists. On the positive side…Sandberg was the one who thought these artists deserved a museum platform in the Stedelijk Museum as early as 1957. which was the place for these artists where they could, for the first time, present and show their art , side by side with Malevich and Mondrian. I can really understand why some words and expressions can not be used any longer, however …where a museum decides to remove an object from an exhibited collection and with this action denying some of the history from a country, should not be done…. in my opinion a better way would be to keep it within the collection and add an explanation why the museum thinks different nowadays about an object . This way explaining and not judging. Let the public judge for itself if the object is still beautiful or not.

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