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Constantin Brâncuși (1876-1957)


With a little bit of luck i will be able to visit the studio of Constantin Brâncuși in the next couple of weeks. We are planning a Paris visit and one of the things i would like to see is the studio by Constantin Brâncuși. One which i visited over 35 years ago when i was living in Paris for a year. At that time the studio was just reconstructed and could be visited in the Modern Art Museum at the Avenue Wilson. Since the studio has been relocated and now can be visited in a special building designed by architect Renzo Pian0. The building is partly build into the surface of the square, right in front of the entrance of the Centre Georges Pompidou and the only one time i could have visited it( 8 years ago)…it was closed. There were exhibitions in between, all with works by Brancusi ( Beyeler and Boymans), but to see all of these magnificent works, brought together in one place is one of the things i really am looking forward to.

There are some nice older Brancusi titles available at



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Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966)

Two occasions spring to mind. Both occasions i was highly impressed. First there was the special Alberto Giacometti exhibition at the Haags Gemeentemuseum in 1986. /Curated by Mariette Josephus Jitta.

A large and important exhibition which showed many of the iconic sculptures by Giacometti…including a walking man and walking stray dog.

Alberto Giacometti catalogue


The second occasion was decades later when we visited the Beyeler Museum for the very first time. In the room with views into the garden the WALKING MAN was combined with one of the very large Monet paintings he painted in his studio at Giverny. It was so impressive that i will never forget this stunning combination. An outstanding display of classic “modern” art. Since , i have seen many more statues by Giacometti, but never again the combination was so beautiful as within the presentation at the Beyeler museum.

Giacometti and Monet

Of course the Giacometti catalogue of the 1986 Gemeentemuseum exhibition is available at

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Mark Tobey (1890-1967)


There was a time when i had not heard of Tobey, but since i saw some large works by him in both the Beyeler, Stedelijk Museum….. i am a fan.

It started with the catalogue i acquired 20 years ago. Bought the catalogue because of the Wim Crouwel design ,but was immediately attracted by the works within….They were Tobey’s .


Tobey is most notable for his creation of so-called “white writing” – an overlay of white or light-colored calligraphic symbols on an abstract field which is often itself composed of thousands of small and interwoven brush strokes. This method, in turn, gave rise to the type of “all-over” painting style made most famous by Jackson Pollock, another American painter to whom Tobey is often compared.

Tobey is working on different sizes but for me his large works are the most impressive. The last 16 years of his live he spend in Basel, which is of course the reason why so many of his works stayed  there. Throughout the years he travelled all over the world.

He was an incessant traveler, visiting Mexico, Europe, Palestine, Israel, Turkey, Lebanon, China and Japan and spread his works this way in an organic way, but the main part of his oeuvre stayed in Switzerland, in Basel where le lived for 16 years.

Here are some locations where his works are part of the collection: Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Tate Gallery in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. There have been at least four posthumous individual exhibitions of Tobey’s work: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., USA, 1984; Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany, 1989; Galerie Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland, 1990; and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.

The publications below are available at

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Museum Voorlinden to be opened on the 11th of September, 2016

Schermafbeelding 2016-09-02 om 08.58.04

If you ask me at this moment…what is your favorite museum in Europe? …i will answer the Beyeler Museum in Basel. Extremely nice permanent collection, the best special exhibitions in Europe. Nice shop and beautiful surroundings. Now on the 11th of September the Museum Voorlinden will be openend in Wassenaar. An initiative by Joop van Caldenborgh , one of the great private collectors in the world. After an exhibition in the Kunsthal he thought it was time for a museum to present his very extensive art collection.

He bought a neighboring piece of ground of 40ha and started to build a museum in which he could present his collection. Now the museum is ready to be opened by HRH King Willem Alexander and what it looks like from the reviews in NRC and Volkskrant ( 4 and 5 stars) it can be compared with the very best in the world. Museum building with special lightning . A little bit like the daylight showcases of the Gemeentemuseum, but now executed for the entire museum, which means northern light in the entire museum through 150k holes. A beautiful and large library 😉 and gardens by the best landscape architect in the world Piet Oudolf.

This package is there to compete with the very best museums in the world

First exhibition will be devoted to the Caldic collection and a large part in this exhibition will be on Ellsworth Kelly. Wim Pijbes ( former director of the Rijksmuseum) will have the honor and task to present this “gem” of a museum among the other museums in the world. Perhaps it is a smaller museum, but management , surroundings and the Caldic collection could mean that beside the Beyeler and the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag there will be another favorite museum for me in the near future ….Museum Voorlinden …and this one much closer by than the Beyeler ( architecture by Renzo Piano).



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Gardens to visit… Monet at Giverny

Because we will visit the private garden of Piet Oudolf in a few days i remembered our visits of the Gardens of Claude Monet in Giverny ( France ). The first time was a few weeks after they opened and we almost had the garden to ourselves. It was impressive to walk through the house , see the japanese prints, furniture and the extremely large studio which was used by Monet to paint his almost abstract scenes of his gardens. Mainly this studio felt like you stepped back in time and could envision how it must have been at the time Monet was working there. These super large paintings now are in the Orangerie in Paris and it was a “must see” for me and my son when we visited Paris a few years ago. We only stayed a 2o minutes in the Orangerie……Lucas did not like it… but…….now several years later he still remembers these impressive paintings. So a fine reason to visit the gardens in Giverny for as second time again some 2 years ago.

What was there to be seen in Giverny… busses, long rows of waiting people to get entrance, too many people on a limited space. Studio no longer open to the public and a disappointing visit because of the very large crowds that came to visit from all over the world. Better avoid these gardens now and go straight to Paris and visit the Orangerie instead….even better….travel 500 miles and visit the Beyeler Museum in Basel and visit one of the most beautiful museums and collections in the world. Building by Renzo Piano and collection by Beyeler, the one time art dealer who collected an extraordinary collection of contemporary art including one of the large Monet garden paintings from his Giverny series.

So looking forward to the garden architecture of Piet Oudolf in a few days i had to share this and of course there are still extremely nice books on these Monet gardens to be found. see also

monet abradale

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Jean Tinguely…..Meta-Matic No. 10

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… 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.




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Jean Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)

Born in 1960, the time Andy Warhol would become hugely popular with his Factory, Basquiat spend his childhood years in Brooklyn. But at the time he was 24  he had become “Brothers in Art” with the great Warhol himself.

If ever you have seen a Basquiat exhibition you must agree that his paintings do not stop to impress. The sheer size, the power, the typical and highly recognizable way he paints… is all Basquiat.  Perhaps the success destroyed the person Basquiat, but his paintings never disappoint.  You might even argue that it is fortunate that Basquiat died at such a young age, but at the same time with such a small production in 10 years you will never be disappointed by his art. His art is of a constant high level, always original in its appearance, has its own “language” and technique and many of the great collectors of Modern Art consider a Basquiat as one of the ultimate collection additions.( but only a few of them can buy because of its price).

It was about 6 years ago is visited the Basquiat exhibition in the Beyeler Museum / Basel and was blown away by it. the Beyeler is a small Museum ( but one of the most amazing ones in Europe) and it must have been at least 3 times i looked at all the paintings before i left the museum. If you ask …what was your favorite exhibition in the last 10 years….this is it. A Rare occasion to see so many of the greatest Basquiat paintings in one location. If ever you have achance to visit a Basquiat exhibition do not hesitate, plan your trip or make a detour because these paintings are very impressive.


I have some nice Basquiat items available so look at