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Lotti van der Gaag ( 1923-1999)…the forgotten Cobra artist

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A 100% percent Cobra artist who has almost been forgotten by the public is Lotti van der Gaag. She began with sculpture on advise of Bram Bogart with who she was living in the late 40’s. In 1950 she moved to Paris where she met Karel Appel and Corneille with whom she stayed befriended during her entire life although Corneille had his objections of her joining the COBRA group. In 1974 she started with painting using the same fantasy figures she already had developed in her sculpture. When you look at these early paintings you can only draw one conclusion….Lotti van der Gaag is a Cobra artist!

What i did not know is that she was married to Kees van Bohemen , who has made a name for his  abstract expressionist paintings in dutch art. www.ftn-books has a few Lotti van der Gaag publications.


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Karel Appel and the Congresgebouw Den Haag (1969)

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The Congresgebouw is an architectural icon in Den Haag. It was designed by Hans Oud and J.J.P. Oud and opened in 1969. In 1968 Karel Appel was commissioned a large painting on ceramic tiles and this painting is one of the lesser known Karel Appel paintings because not many people realize that they pass it while entering the Congresgebouw / World Forum ( the name what it is called nowadays).

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The extremely large tile painting consists of over 1200 separately painted tiles. These together, making it one of the largest Karel Appel paintings ever. If ever you come to Den Haag , this location is well worth a visit because not only there is the Gemeentemuseum nearby, but beside the tile painting by Appel there are sculptures, by Henry Moore, Auke de Vries and Pevsner in the vicinity.

For some nice Karel Appel publications please visit

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Constant (1920-2005)

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Another Cobra artist that i have met personally ( but only for a very brief conversation about his catalogues) was Constant ( Nieuwenhuijs ). From the 3 Cobra artist that i have met personally i liked him the best, because besides his Cobra period , he developed himself into a multi talented artist. His New Babylon constructions have proven to be a vision on the future and become more and more important in art history. Even his watercolors that he made at the end of his career are to be admired. Great technique and composition make these belonging to his best works from his career. Constant has always kept a special relation with the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and because of this special relation with the museum and his former director ( Hans Locher) the museum has the most important collection from all periods out of his career. Cobra, New Babylon , paintings and drawings all are present and will prove to be important in the coming centuries.

Constant will probably be one of the most important dutch artists to remember and admire for his complete has some nice classic and collectable publications on Constant ( Nieuwenhuijs).

and yes… is one of the few booksellers who can offer you the famous Constant New Babylon book by Wigley


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Karel Appel and Jan Vrijman ( Ik rotzooi maar wat aan, 1961)


Of course the official title is different . The documentary by Jan Vrijman from 1961 is called ” De werkelijkheid van Karel Appel”, but most people from the generation of Karel Appel know these famous words ….”ik rotzooi maar wat aan”, but reality is his painting is far from intuitive and improvisation. Many of his complex paintings were thought out and prepared on paper and i suspect that even the painting Appel is executing in the documentary is prepared and worked out on paper before he paints the canvas.

Appel is a great artist and certainly one of the most important ones in the Netherlands from the last century. His painting is the summit in abstract expressionism and he deservedly earned his place among the worlds greatest artist. has a large collection of Karel Appel books available

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Eugene Brands (1913-2002)…there are forgeries on the market.

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In 1946 he participated in the exhibition JONGE SCHILDERS in the Stedelijk Museum and joined the experimental group of young painters in the Netherlands which would later become the COBRA mouvement. From there on he developed a very recognizable style with light bright colors, using many shades of red and yellow. Almost every large museum in the Netherlands has works by Brands in their collections and paintings and drawings are frequently offered for sale at auction or on auction sites. But beware !….. at one time i was visiting a viewing day ( many many years ago) by Sothebys on their Nes location when Brands walked in with the Amsterdam director of Sotheby’s. At that time there were about 10 works by Brands for sale. Brands walked around, glasses and furcoat still on (inside a heated room) , made a quick tour in the viewing hall, pointed out  and marked at least 5 works that were forgeries, since that occasion and knowing that there are many fake Brands paintings, i stayed away from them. Of course you can buy them at the gallery Nouvelles Images and Galerie de Rijk. It will be a safe buy, because all works sold by them are genuine, guaranteed and mostly registered pieces from the Brands studio, but from other sources …..BEWARE. Eugene Brands publications are available at

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Pieter Ouborg, Painter of the unknown (1893-1956)

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Outside the Netherlands Pieter Ouborg is hardly know, but compare this artists to his contemporaries he stand out with a “language” which is original and imaginative. Strange, sometimes surreal and even cildlike ( Yes, he befriended Appel and other Cobra artist). STill he did not become the great name people who admired him hoped for. Still he was admired by his fellow artists and during his life he received some very nice retrospectives in the Stedelijk Museum and the Haags Gemeentemuseum. It si hard to describe his art, but if i must make a comparison it must be Wols ( i wrote a short blog on Wols some weeks ago). For those visiting in the near future , here is the list of collections that has Ouborg works in them: ( and of course the books on

  • Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
  • Dordrechts Museum in Dordrecht
  • Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam
  • Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven
  • Groninger Museum in Groningen
  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam
  • Stedelijk Museum Schiedam in Schiedam
  • Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam
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La Grande Parade / Stedelijk Museum 1984

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Yesterday i stumbled upon a short note included in one of the catalogues that i have in my collection that the former owner wanted to see the exhibition La GRANDE PARADE in the Stedelijk Museum. I remembered visiting that exhibition and now almost 3 decades ago i realized that this was one of the first blockbuster exhibitions held in the Stedelijk . A great overview of Modern Art from the 20th century curated by Edy de Wilde who showed his special qualities as a collector with this exhibition and said goodbye to this collection as the director of the SM . It has probably the nicest Leger ever made in it and….Willem de Kooning….many many Willem de Kooning paintings ,who is still one of the key artists within te collection of the Stedelijk. Leafing through the catalogue one can only be amazed that so many great art was once in one place. There are not many of these exhibitions any more, because these are far too expensive to organize , but if there is one….go stand in line for a couple of hours and remember in 30 years the exhibition you visited. If it is as good as LE GRANDE PARADE it was well worth the wait. For the catalogues please visit

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Asger Jorn ( 1914-1973)

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I appreciate all the COBRA mouvement artists, but if i had to chose one…it would be Asger Jorn. His paintings have a mysterious quality and within their abstraction one can always recognize a realistic element. Wether its a face, a human figure, an animal they are there …hidden within the picture, brightly colored and sometimes outlined with black. Before COBRA, Jorn was painting realistic scenes, and was an assistant to Le Corbusier, but after he met Appel, Constant and Corneille, with whom he founded COBRA and travelled to France, his style became completely abstract and strongly influenced by child drawings. He discussed this frequently with Christian Dotremont , because they both were ill with tuberculoses and treated within the same hospital in Silkeborg. In this same city, nearby his birth town an Asger Jorn museum was founded and financed by Jorn.

This museum has become one of the most important ones in Denmark.

Jorn is now a classic among modern art lovers and will become more important every decade to come. has some great Asger Jorn titles available in its inventory.


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Anton Martineau (1926-2017)

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Yesterday, AntonMartineau died. He proclaimed himself the last of a great generation , together with Appel and Lucebert ( personal friends) he became known as an abstract painter, but never belonged to the Cobra movement. Born in the middle of the Red Light district in Amsterdam  a fortuneteller told him in his early youth that he would become a painter and a writer. He studied with one of the great designers in these days Paul Schuitema and was successful both as a painter and a writer. has only one title of this fascinating artist available , but it is an important one. It contains both poetry and drawings by this great dutch artist.


The little documentary on Youtube is in dutch , but shows what a wonderful and colorful Martineau was

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Ed van der Elsken(1925-1990)…an almost complete list of publications.

If there is one dutch sixties photographer who deserves world recognition for his entire oeuvre it certainly is Ed van der Elsken. Over 40 years of work in photography and cinema gives a spectacular list of publications:

Een liefdesgeschiedenis in Saint Germain des Prés (1956)

Bagara (1958)

Jazz (1959)

Dans Theater (1960)

Nederlands Dans Theater (1960)

de jong & van dam nv 1912-1962 (1962)

Sweet Life (1966)

Wereldreis in foto’s vier delen (1967-1968)

Eye Love you (1977)

Zomaar in een sloot ergens bij Edam (1977)

Hallo! Een nieuwe Ed van der Elsken (1978)

Amsterdam! Oude foto’s 1947-1970 (1979)

Avonturen op het land (1980)

Parijs! Foto’s 1950-1954 (1981)

Amsterdam? (1984)

‘Are you famous?’ (1985)

Elsken: PARIS 1950-1954 (1985)

San-jeruman-de-pure no koi L’Amour à Saint Germain des Près (1986)

Jong Nederland ‘Adorabele rotzakken’ 1947-1987 (1987)

Elsken: JAPAN 1959-1960 Nippon data (1987)

De ontdekking van Japan (1988)

JAZZ Ed van der Elsken 1955-1959.61 (1988)

Natlab (1989)

Africa Ed van der Elsken 1957 (1990)


Once upon a time (1993)

l’Amour! (1995)

Hong Kong the way it was (1997)

Leve ik! Ed van der Elsken Foto & Film Essays Filmografie (1997)

Nippon data & After Ed van der Elsken (2000)

Fotografie + Film 1949-1990 Ed van der Elsken Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (2000)

Eye love you Ed van der Elsken Fotografies + films (1949-1990) (2001)

55 Ed van der Elsken (2002)

My Amsterdam Ed van der Elsken (2005)


But there is one which is not on this list published by the official site of Ed van der Elsken. It is the exceptional publication made for the van Abbemuseum in 1961, designed by Wim Crouwel with contributions by Karel Appel ( who made a special inlay) , Schierbeek and Lucebert….photography… YES!, by Ed van der Elsken.


Like some of the others from the above publications this is available at

and here are some of the others:

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Pierre Alechinsky and Sol LeWitt, two recent acquisitions.


Remember that a few weeks ago i mentioned that there was some great art out there to be picked up….and what is very reasonable prices.

Last week i acquired from a small collection 2 beautiful books. Both folio sized and containing some of the best art you can imagine. First of all there is the Alechinsky publication, he made for his galerie de France exhibition in 1962. The cover is a spectacular 2 page original lithograph by Alechinsky. The book s published in an edition of only 2000 copies, numbered ( numero 460)  and beside the cover containing another 8 original 1 page lithographs printed by Maurice Beaudet. Price USD 275,– which makes it only USD 28,00 per lithograph. Excellent publication and when you use the code: alechinskyblog…. a discount of USD 25.00 is applied to the purchase of this beautiful publication .

available at

Secondly there is the NOISE 7 publication by Maeght editeur.


When Maeght finished their Derriere Le Miroir series, they tried to launch an even better series….NOISE…. only far less volumes were published than within their DLM series. The NOISE 7 is arguably the very best volume within the series ,because it contains the lithographed contributions by Karel Appel ( 5x a one page lithograph ) and Sol LeWitt ( 3x a double page lithograph). Original great works of art at low prices is what there is out there and these are two excellent examples and proof that great art has not to be expensive.

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Antoine Pevsner and the World Forum in Den Haag.

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The question is….why hide a great sculpture behind a sea of 200 flags. The sculpture by Pevsner ( Yes, it is in the picture above…..look closely) was placed on this location shortly after the opening of the Congresgebouw. A modern building with an annex tower designed by JJP Oud. This tower was for a very long time the only high rise building in Den Haag. This all located in the neighborhood of the Gemeentemuseum designed by Berlage. The entrance of the Congresgebouw has a tile painting by Karel Appel.

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In the front, in the pond, a beautiful sculpture by Auke de Vreis has been placed some 20 years ago. Excellent works of art that add quality to the buildings and its surrounding.

Now some years ago somebody from the local administration had the “excellent idea” to place 200 flags, 1 for each nation in the world to enhance the entrance to the world forum……wrong idea…..

The flags have to be replaced frequently because of the wear through wind and sun. Costs approx. 2 x 200 x 100 euro = 40.000 euro each year. So please remove the flags and put a spotlight on this great Pevsner that really adds quality to this surrounding.