Is art? Yes perhaps it is ….. It is landscape architecture at the largest scale possible.
We noticed from early May the steady progress of the Trace of the high voltage lines between Nieuwe wetering and Rijpwetering. We can follow this progress, because we sail frequently the Ringvaart which is crossed by this Trace of high voltage lines. It is part of the new ring of voltage lines between the largest cities in the Netherlands. They stand like large sculptures in a landscape and are very impressive. Height is on average 55 meters, and they surely can not be missed. You see them from a large distance and they alter the landscape in a unlikely way.
The Netherlands has a long history with these immense masts in the landscape and this was recognized by Arij de Bode who made a beautiful publication on just these large masts which look like large sculptures. The book contains great photography by the best in dutch landscape photography and is available at www.ftn-books.com
Here is an artist who’s works were very well known from the very first beginning of his career. Suprematism being one of the key collection parts of the Stedelijk Museum, El Lissitzky soon became part of this great and important collection. Because of this large collection part, an interest in his works was aroused from the very first beginning resulting in some purchases by important collectors and acquiring works by museum for their collections. Among them; Stedelijk Museum, Haags Gemeentemuseum, Boymans van Beuningen and the van Abbemuseum.
There is so much to be told about El Lissitzky as an artist because he was a true multi talented artist. A Painter, sculptor , architect and designer all within the same person. One aspect of his career i would like to mention specially. His graphic design.
El Lissitzky is the 9th person from the left
During his stay in Germany Lissitzky also developed his career as a graphic designer with some historically important works such as the books Dlia Golossa (For the Voice), a collection of poems from Vladimir Mayakovsky, and Die Kunstismen (The Artisms) together with Jean Arp. In Berlin he also met and befriended many other artists, most notably Kurt Schwitters, László Moholy-Nagy, and Theo van Doesburg. Together with Schwitters and van Doesburg, Lissitzky presented the idea of an international artistic movement under the guidelines of constructivism while also working with Kurt Schwitters on the issue Nasci (Nature) of the periodical Merz, and continuing to illustrate children’s books. The year after the publication of his first Proun series in Moscow in 1921, Schwitters introduced Lissitzky to the Hanover gallery kestnergesellschaft, where he held his first solo exhibition. The second Proun series, printed in Hanover in 1923, was a success, utilizing new printing techniques. Later on, he met Sophie Küppers, who was the widow of Paul Küppers, an art director of the kestnergesellschaft at which Lissitzky was showing, and whom he would marry in 1927.
Yesterday my wife an i visited the ‘ DE PARADE ” a cultural fair with music and performances. a great evening and great fun on the fairground and at the time we left it was still light enough to distinguish the buildings in the surroundings. We took a shortcut to the tramstop and ….there it was …. a great building used nowadays as a care home for older people. architecture by J.W.E. Buijs en J.B. Lursen from 1924, commissioned by the dutch anthroposophic society and heavily inspired by the architecture of Rudolf Steiner.
This was a great building and for me a total surprise, because i never had seen it before nor heard about it. It brought back memories and i remembered the large inventory we had during the Spiritual in Art exhibition which was organized by the Haags Gemeentemuseum together with the Los Angeles County Museum which catalogues are still available at www.ftn-books.com. The exhibition showed the importance of the iedeas of rudolf Steiner and the influence these ideas had on the art and artist of the Interbellum and shortly after.
Architect, Photographer, furniture designer and engineer. All these disciplines were combined in one person…the genius Carlo Mollino.
Educated at the Politecnico di Torino he soon became one of the leading architects in that city. Linda and I will be visiting Torino later this year and we certainly will see some of these timeless Mollino buildings.
but for me Mollino stands for design and photography, because in both he excels. His engineering skills are undoubtedly there and so are his architectural accomplishments, but with his photography and design he is truly avant-garde. Look at his photographs and you know exactly where Araki and Saudek took their inspiration from and his furniture…. it has the “free” style of the later Memphis group but was much more stylish. (BTW this desk is still in production).
Mollino was a true genius who’s works are better known each year, because his name is not only known in Italy anymore. Because of some very important publications, exhibitions and books, his fame spreads all over the world. A unique artist and personality and one of the great multi disciplined artist from last century.
I found a very good blog on him at this address: https://buildllc.wordpress.com/2008/12/07/the-work-of-carlo-mollino/
What is possibly not known to many is that they have visited one of the masterpieces by Henry van de Velde in the past. The architecture of the Museum Kroller Muller was done by van de Velde after the family Kroller Muller turned down the sketches and plans by both Mies van der Rohe and Berlage. The new building was necessary for them to present their extremely large collection of van Gogh paintings. Later this collection has become the fundament of their collection which included highlights by many other contemporary artist, but the van Gogh’s are in most cases the reason why visitors from all over the world visit this museum in the forests of Park de Hoge Veluwe.
van de Velde designed a beautiful building with spectacular views on the surrounding forests and sculpture park. Later Wim Quist designed the necessary annex building , because the collection had grown too large for the old building alone and the museum was in need of an extra exhibition space for large objects.
Beside architecture van de Velde was a multi talent who designed everything. From wall papers to kitchen were all was executed with an exquisite taste.
De Bijenkorf building in Rotterdam is one of the iconic buildings in this city. After the bombardment which destructed its complete city centre in WWII, the city rebuild its centre with help of contractors and world famous architects. Among them Marcel Breuer who designed the Bijenkorf building and had a sculpture by Naum Gabo placed before the building. The sculpture has become possibly even more famous than the building by Breuer and was recently cleaned and restored and now has back its original splendor.
Here is a short biography which can be found at the Tate site
Naum Gabo 1890-1977.Constructive sculptor and painter. Born in Briansk in Russia, named Naum Pevsner; younger brother of the sculptor Antoine Pevsner. Entered Munich University in 1910, studying first medicine, then the natural sciences; also attended art history lectures by Wölfflin. Transferred in 1912 to an engineering school in Munich. Met Kandinsky and in 1913-14 joined his brother Antoine (then a painter) in Paris. After the outbreak of war moved first to Copenhagen, then Oslo; began to make constructions in 1915 under the name Naum Gabo. 1917-22 in Moscow with Pevsner, Tatlin, Kandinsky and Malevich; wrote and issued jointly with Pevsner in 1920 a Realistic Manifesto proclaiming the tenets of pure Constructivism. Lived 1922-32 in Berlin in contact with the artists of the de Stijl group and the Bauhaus. First one-man exhibition with Pevsner at the Galerie Percier, Paris, 1924. With Pevsner, designed the set and costumes for Diaghilev’s ballet La Chatte 1926. 1932-5 in Paris, a member of Abstraction-Creation; 1935-46 in England, first in London, then from 1939 at Carbis Bay in Cornwall. Edited Circle jointly with J.L. Martin and Ben Nicholson in 1937. Moved in 1946 to the USA and settled in 1953 at Middlebury, Connecticut; became a US citizen in 1952. Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture at Harvard University 1953-4. From 1950 onwards carried out several large sculpture commissions, including a sculpture for the Bijenkorf store in Rotterdam 1955-7. Created Hon. KBE 1971. Died at Waterbury, Connecticut.
For me there are two personal reasons to love the works by Thomas Schütte. The first reason for me is his architectural art. Always trying to find a different approach to architecture makes his works interesting and in the same category as the architectural works by John Hejduk.
Secondly there is his publications. Meticulously designed books. Published by the best publishers, printed by the best printers and from start to finish typical Thomas Schütte productions. These books are among the best art books published in the last 50 years and i am proud to have some of them in my inventory of www.ftn-books.com
The year 1958…. Philips company invited Le Corbusier to design the pavilion for their participation at the World exhibition in Brussels. Philips wanted to show their innovative products at this world exhibition because this was the best platform thinkable for them and Le Corbusier could give them the initial exposure with a spectacular pavilion.
With the presentation a Le Corbusier catalogue was published in several languages ( dutch, french, spanish and english) in 2 editions. The first edition has the color pages included and the 2nd edition only the black and white. This book is nowadays a highly collectable book. The cover by Jean Petit is iconic, the architectural photography spectacular and for the rest and the book itself . …..Philips has never made a better publication. This book is available at www.ftn-books.com
And for those who are into architectural models…yes, i have the model kit of the pavilion available too.
H.P. Berlage is for me personally the architect of the building i entered for nearly 25 years, worked in and have practically known my entire life. Of course this is the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. Initially people did not like the building at all and thought it a badly designed ” public swimming pool”, but you must visit this building multiple times before it opens its true qualities to you. It really is of a rare quality and can be considered as the last, but also ultimate designed Berlage building in which the extreme details open up when you look long enough. Berlage known for his architecture was also a very gifted furniture and book designer and brought all these qualities together into his buildings. There is so much to be told on Berlage, but the best one can do is visit the buildings which this architect build. Fortunately the very best examples are to be found in places a random tourist is likely to visit when he or she visits the Netherland.
Amsterdam has the Beurs, Otterlo /Kroller Muller museum has the “jachtslot” and of course Den Haag has the Gemeentemuseum. so for you next visit to Holland visit these and start your visit with a Berlage book for sale at www.ftn-books.com
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. http://www.museumjorn.dk/da/
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. www.ftn-books.com has some great Asger Jorn titles available in its inventory.