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Carlo Mollino (1905-1973) …multi disciplined artist

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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/

and for some Mollino publications please visit www.ftn-books.com

 

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Henry van de Velde ( 1863-1957)

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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.

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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.

www.ftn-books.com has some books available on Henry van de Velde

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Naum Gabo (1890-1977)….and the Bijenkorf / Rotterdam

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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.

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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.

www.ftn-books.com has some Naum Gabo titles available.

 

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Thomas Schütte (1954)… Two reasons to love.

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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

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Le Corbusier ….le Poème électronique ( 1958)

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.

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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

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And for those who are into architectural models…yes, i have the model kit of the pavilion available too.philips paviljoen a

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Hendrik Petrus Berlage (1856-1934).. Three buildings

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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

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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. 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.

 

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Eva Besnyö (1910-2003)

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Eva Besnyö has reached a very high age and stayed active in photography for almost her entire life. It was not until her children had left the house, she took up photography again and started to make a name for herself with photographing the feminist movement of ” DOLLE MINA” in the early seventies. This made her quit famous in the Netherlands and with this recognition her older photographs of portraits and architecture were appreciated again too. Since she has had multiple exhibitions in the Netherlands and abroad and is now considered with Oorthuys, Andriesse, Diepraam and van der Elsken to be the photographers that photographed the Netherlands and its society after WWII.

There are some Eva Besnyö publications available at www.ftn-books.com 

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Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)

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Arguably the greatest architect of all time is Frank Lloyd Wright and the villa Fallingwater in Pennsylviania is one of the “must see” buildings i still have on my wish list. The Guggenheim Museum in NY i already visited but Fallingwater not.

FLW was a visionary architect. His designs were the very first modernist designs in architecture and very much based on constructivist principles. I just learned that as a child he build buildngs with FROBEL blocks and these wooden blocks must have been an endless source of inspiration. FLW was an architect whose designs were practically all executed in the USA, but that does not mean that one can not find FLW inspired buildings elsewhere. For instance, in the Netherlands his designs were admired by the DE STIJL mouvement and Dudok and van ‘t Hoff made buildings inspired by FLW.

A great architect and fortunately we had in the past decades several large exhibitions on his architecture and projects . One of the first was the exhibition in the Boymans van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam in 1952. What makes it even more special is that it was one of the first designs Benno Wissing made for the Boymans museum.

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Wissing since 1952 has had a tremendous career and is, together with Sandberg and Crouwel one of the absolute great designers from the last century. So visit www.ftn-books.com and search for Frank Lloyd Wright or Benno Wissing and discover the many beautiful books both these great artist have made over the years.

 

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Fondation Louis Vuitton

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We joined our friends David and Monica this weekend in Paris. Planning this to meet each other half way planet earth took some organization, but it was worth it, because the exhibition of the Sergueï Chtchoukine collection is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity to see all these marvelous paintings in one place. Later i will blog on the exhibition itself, but for now i will focus on the building in which it is presented…the Fondation Louis Vuitton. Starting as a company making high quality bags, travel trunks and accessories out of prepared canvas and leather, the company later became one of the leading companies in the fashion world. Nowadays they are part of the LVMH group. A large holding specializing in luxury goods and one of the wealthiest companies in the world….and that shows, because in the Bois de Boulogne they build a museum which can not be compared with anything i have seen except the other Gehry designed buildings. Guggenheim Bilbao, Vitra in Weil Am Rhein and the Disney Concert Hall in LA), but this one is special….. First of all the layers / shells are all executed in white instead of the aluminium ones in Bilbao and L.A.). constructed and attached to each other with wooden supporting beams and because of the outer layer material, it was possible for Daniel Buren to convert these shells into one of his most complex, impressive and colorful In Situ works ever.

When you walk towards the entrance you get a glimpse of the pattern as it is executed, but when you leave the museum at the other side and walk into the garden, …..get some distance…..there it is …. you see a beautiful building totally covered by a great work of art. I do not know how long the Buren will be visible on the building but as long it is there, try to see it because it is well worth to see this one “live”. Compare it with the Christo In Situ works. Whenever you have seen one there is no photograph which can be compared with seeing the project with your own eyes. The scale in which it is executed makes these works special and so is this Daniel Buren….and Yes the Fondation Louis Vuitton is not the only one who combined these artist together, because books on Vuitton, Gehry and Buren can all be found at www.ftn-books.com