Maurits Cornelis Escher was one of the most gifted pupils of Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita (1868-1944). His teacher died at the end of WWII in a Nazi concentration camp and was commemorated by Escher in a text which was published in a catalogue on the art of Jessurun de Mesquita and Mendes da Costa ( 1863-1939) who had an exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam right after the war to honor them both.
This is believed to be the first printed text by Escher. The catalogue with this text is still available at www.ftn-books.com
and is one of the first to be published by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam after WWII. Since, Escher has had many other publications with text and of course prints , but the text on his former teacher is special and touching. The design of the book is done by Willem Sandberg himself and all these ingredients put together in one publication makes it very special indeed. I very much like the works by Jessurun de Mesquita and admire the artist he was. His woodcuts are fabulous and when you admire the Escher prints, do not forget that perhaps his teacher Jessurun de Mesquita was even a greater artist, but unfortunately has not become as famous as his pupil. ( later this month a blog on Jessurun de Mesquita with a special offer).
The second time i met Günter Tuzina was with his exhibition in 1992 in The Haags Gemeentemuseum and noticed that he still followed his own artistic path. Making variations on his windows with crossed lines in color schemes which were very recognizable and typical for the works by Tuzina. At the time Tuzina executed a walldrawing for one of the staircases in the Gemeentmuseum which is beside the LeWitt, Toroni and Forg staircase drawings still on show. I think Tuzina is one of those artists you can see work of and immediately know it is by Tuzina. A few years ago i was impressed by a work which was for sale at Christie’s but unfortunately it was out of my budget and sold for twice+ the estimation, but one can get lucky too, because a little before that i noticed these 2 beautiful drawings on the local book market, which were made in a series of 55 for the Bebert publishing house. Both are signed and numbered and all the drawing on each of them is done by hand and all have a different background color. These are from the same edition of 55 copies but the background colors vary and therefore these are unique and…..these beauties are now for sale at
A few days ago i wrote about ARTA . A small gallery in Den Haag in which they sold editions by graphic artists. Immediately i remembered the Lucien Clergue photo i bought with them. At one time they had a small number of photographs from an edition by Lucien Clergue…. a naked woman … in the Mediterranean sea. A very beautiful body which attracted me, not only because it was one of the first nude photographs that was offered to me , but also because of its quality. At that time i even had no idea that photographs were printed in editions too, but looking at the back of the photo and seeing the stamp, signature and edition number i realized that this was the reason it was so affordable. It was one of the great purchases as a collector, because now these photographs are worth 200 times as much and are collected by photography collectors all over the world.
Lucien Clergue (1934-2014) proved to be one of the greats in photography from the last century and this sereis of naked women in the sea are among his best. . I still cherish this photo and even remember that i picked the perfect copy for my collection. There is no place for it anymore to hang it on the wall , so now and then i think about the selling it and maybe in the future i decide to do so.
SInce i am a full time antiquarian bookseller i regularly encounter Lucien Clergue publications and put them up for sale at www.ftn-books.com and on each such occasion i remember this beauty in the sea by Lucien Clergue.
There is a great selection of photographs still available at www.anneclergue.com, but the one i have in mycollection i did not encounter anywhere on the web.So this is to share it with you .
The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam published roughly over 1000 catalogues with their exhibitions over the last 70 years. A very large number of publications. Designs were always done by the best . Willem Sandberg, Wim Crouwel, Piet Zwart ao.
These catalogues deserve to be collected. Their appearance, printing, lay out, typography and use of different materials and original art work ( yes, also original silkscreens and lithographs ) used as cover makes them stand out from the others which were made in this period. For instance compare the Stedelijk Museum from the 50’s and 60’s with their german counterparts and you see and appreciate the quality of these publications. Because of Sandberg many great names in art were first presented in the Stedelijk and received their first major publication with the exhibition. Pollock, Rothko, minimal art . You could see them for the first time in the Stedelijk …..that is the first time in Europe.
For the readers of my blog i have made a discount of 10% available that is valid for a week for all your purchases on www.ftn-books.com
use : stedelijk1000 and you will receive 10% on the total of your order.
This is probably the largest collection of Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam catalogues available on the internet and even if you do not order….look at them, because it is a great overview of their publications.
Check these catalogues out and see for yourself why these catalogues are among the best in the art world.
One of the first graphic works i bought from my pocket money some 45 years ago was a set by Michel van Overbeeke. An artist who had his works sold by ARTA in Den Haag. Arta is no longer there. It closed it’s doors some 30 years ago, but they had a system in which they had members and made the works they commissioned with artists, available to their members. For as little as 25 guilders you could buy an original piece of art. It was in the early seventies and i was impressed by a set on the I TJING . van Overbeeke made this visible in enchanting scenes with many of his characteristic figures. van Overbeeke never changed his style very much and always stayed true to this very personal style of graphic art. He also made paintings but his strength is in his graphic work. Always small editions and in general well beneath a 100 copies printed by hand. Always signed and numbered in pencil. And sizes not bigger than 70 x 50 cm. He printed his etchings himself, colored them in many cases by hand and build a strong circle of admirers through the decades which followed the seventies in which he became quit known in the Netherlands and abroad. Sometimes these works are offered at auction. What strikes me is they are never held up and they always find a buyer. Look at these works yourself at http://www.michelvanoverbeeke.nl and see the “magic” of this artist. and for those looking for the book that is nowhere to be found………..
Panamarenko is one of the artists which i follow with great interest and because of this interest i have collected many titles on this fascinating artist. I know of excellent gallery publications , beautiful Museum editions ( Berlin ao) and many limited editions, but one of the most interesting to me is this edition by Marzona. An early book on Panamarenko but with many detailed description of the “machines ” he invented and produced. It shows the strength of his imagination. Totally original designs by an artists who stayed true to his belief that he had to invent and make his dreams come true.
The Marzona edition is from 1975, and because of this publication date it includes many of the inventions Panamarenko has become famous for:
Agnes Martin has become one of the greats in Modern Art from the last Fifty years. In 1977 the Stedelijk Museum published an excellent catalogue in which the quality of painting was obvious. Beautiful and impressive design by Wim Crouwel and one that is in worldwide demand because of its design and subject. Since then many catalogues were published on Martin but 2 stand out. The first is the one which was published for the Agnes Martin exhibition in the Josef Albers Museum / Quadrat Bottrop. The catalogue was published in such an excellent way that i had to have one myself for my own collection. The poster is even more special because it is an original silkscreen print in such delicate colour scheme that it reflects in the best way the quality of the work by Agnes Martin. The final book i would like to tell about is the Thomas Ammann Fine Art catalogue they published in 2008. Large sized book with excellent printing and impressive paintings by Martin. Buy these three titles at www.ftn-books.com and do not forget to take a look at the impressive poster made for the Quadrat exhibition when i will list this later this month at www.ftn-books.com.
First of all you must know that Aggie Weston comes from a work by Kurt Schwiters ” A SMALL HOME FOR SEAMEN”. It is told that Agnes Weston founded seamens’s homes and this name was used by Coracle press for their art magazine publication. Coracle hoped that this magazine provides some refuge for lesser known artist.
This brings me to Richard Long who was, at that time, by no means a lesser name, but Richard Long was nevertheless invited to contribute to this No. 16 Winter 1979 number.
Beautifully published with excellent print quality makes this a perfect collectable artist book.
The book is only 16 pages with text, walks and photography by Richard Long, but should not be missed by any Richard Long or artist book collector. This is a Coracle publication from 1979 and contains beside the Richard Long texts. Photographs on:
Yesterday, i had a short story on the Jean Michel Basquiat Retrospective in the Beyeler Museum. The next day, after that visit we visited the Tinguely Museum in the same city of Basel. The Tinguely Museum is not to be missed and is a museum which will appeal to young and old, because many of the works on display are interactive and can be turned on or off by the public. The Museum shop had something very special at that time…..they had in operation the original Meta-Matic No. 10 by Jean Tinguely which could be operated by the public. Only condition…..buy a sheet of paper and a token with the Tinguely shop.
The paper was the original right size and had a museumstamp on the back to certify the drawing.
The choice of colors was with the buyer of the drawing, but the progress itself was purely automated by the machine. One placed a color in the holder, let the machine do its work for a few seconds, placed a different color and let it work again……and so on. Until the time was up ( i remember it was about 2 minutes in total). A rare occasion on which me, my wife and my sister in law all made drawings. All drawings were certified by the Museum with a stamp on the back.
I bought some extra drawings for my FTN collection and these are now for sale at
Some years later we returned to the Tinguely museum, because we had seen some lovely Modern Art over there. Asking about the Meta-Matic No. 10 we learned that it had been removed from the shop area and was now in revision, because of the wear it had when used for making these drawings. My guess is these drawings at FTN-books are about the last drawings that will be for sale.
In any case they are very interesting to look at and to see what kind of abstract drawing a Tinguely machine can make.
There was a time when our generation was amazed when we saw the instant result when you took a picture with a Polaroid camera. It was at the end of the seventies that these camera’s were hugely popular and many artists in those days used them to get an immediate result. Recently i only know of Araki who still uses the technique of instant photography. However , a few weeks ago, a friend of the family took a new camera out of his pocket and showed it to us. It was a similar camera to a Polaroid camera , same technique, but much much smaller. Personally i do not think it will replace the digital photography we all got used to nowadays, but maybe some artists will see new opportunities and will use it in their art. Time will tell.
There are some very nice publications to be found on the technique and the artists that used it. Of course Andy Warhol is one of the best known, but there are many more and this form of art was recognized by the Stedelijk Museum in 1982 with a large exhibition on instant photography. An excellent Wim Crouwel designed catalogue which shows many great examples of INSTANT PHOTOGRAPHY.
Artist/ Author: Oliver Boberg
Title : Memorial
Publisher: Oliver Boberg
Measurements: Frame measures 51 x 42 cm. original C print is 35 x 25 cm.
signed by Oliver Boberg in pen and numbered 14/20 from an edition of 20