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Robert Adams (1937)

 

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When i first saw an exhibition with the photographs by Robert Adams, i searched my memory and discovered that unconsciously i had seen many of these before. Photographs in which he documented the American way of life in the West, but it was not until i visited his exhibition at the Josef Albers museum, that all fell into place. Here was a very nice number of iconic photographs brought together in one splendid exhibition.

Robert Adams (b. 1937) is a photographer who has documented the extent and the limits of our damage to the American West, recording there, in over fifty books of pictures, both reasons to despair and to hope. “The goal,” he has said, “is to face facts but to find a basis for hope. To try for alchemy.”

Adams grew up in New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Colorado, in each place enjoying the out-of-­doors, often in company with his father. At age twenty-five, as a college English teacher with summers off, he learned photography, choosing as his first subjects early prairie churches and early Hispanic art, subjects of unalloyed beauty. After spending time in Scandinavia with his Swedish wife, Kerstin, however, he realized that there were complexities in the American geography that merited exploration.

In the 1970s and ’80s Adams produced a series of books—The New WestDenverWhat We BoughtSummer Nights—that focused on expanding suburbs along Colorado’s Front Range, books that pictured heedless development but also the surviving light, scale, form, and silence of the natural world. He also examined this mixture of humanity’s imprint and nature’s resilience in the wider western landscape (From the Missouri West) and in the Los Angeles basin (Los Angeles SpringCalifornia).

FTN-books has the exhibition posters of the Josef Albers Museum available at www.ftn-books.com

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Ed van der Elsken ( continued )

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A just reason to devote another blog to Ed van der Elsken. Van der Elsken is without a doubt one of our greatest photographers from last century, but what makes van der Elsken special for me personally is that his photographs are the scenes and events i remember from my youth. Artistically they are among the very best, but emotionally there is an extra quality for me personally. The exhibitions showing a selection of his best color photography is now on show at the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam ( https://www.nederlandsfotomuseum.nl) and is very well worth visiting. In the cellar there is an extra asset to this exhibition….. a 15 minute slideshow which is among the very best and informative slide shows i have ever seen. The exhibition is on view until the 6th of October 2019.

www.ftn-books.com has some classic van der Elsken books available.

 

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Josef Albers ( 1888-1976 ), an invitation

 

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It was sold within 24 hours to a customer in Arizona, but this is so important i want to share this with you. In 1968 there was a Josef Albers exhibition at the Landesmuseum in Munster (Germany). For thiss exhibition. Josef Albers made a special print for within the catalogue and the smaller version for the invitation to the opening. Both were silkscreened prints. If you are lucky you will find a catalogue, but the invitation is probably one of the rarest Josef Albers collectibles and here it is……

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There are other Josef Albers items still availabel at www.ftn-books.com

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Eduard Steinberg (1937-2012)

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Eduard Steinberg is the first Steinberg i write a blog about. He is far lesser known than his brother in art Saul Steinberg, but for me personally he is the better artist. Where Saul Steiberg leans towards art & illustration, Eduard Steinberg is the abstract artist who “invents” and impresses me much more.

A creator of geometrical abstract paintings, Eduard Steinberg was born into the family of poet, translator, and artist A.A. Steinberg.
Shortly after his birth, his father was arrested by the Stalin regime and thrown into prison. Upon his release, the family settled in Tarusa and Eduard helped his parents in their pursuits, though he had no professional artistic education. He lived in Tarusa from 1957 to 1961, teaching himself to paint by making copies of still lives, portraits and landscape paintings of Tarusa.
Moving to Moscow in 1962, he actively participated in the nonconformist movement.
In the 1970s Steinberg began creating his own version of geometrical abstraction (meta-geometry), where a plastic construction is seen as a consequence of a spiritual impulse.

I did not see the exhibition he had at the Josef Albers Museum and think it is a pity, because exhibitions on Eduard Steinberg are rare occasions. Still www.ftn-books.com has the signed exhibition poster of this important Steinberg exhibition.

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James Bishop (1927)

It was i think our third visit to the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop when we encountered the works by James Bishop… and…they blew me away!

Large scaled paintings, extremely delicate colors combined in compositions which were part constructivist and familiar and other ways totally different because of the scale,  composition and impact.

I tried to find more on James Bishop , but beside the excellent gallery exhibitions at David Zwirner it is hard to find more on Bishop. Here is a short list of exhibitions in which he was presented.

  • 1963: Galerie Lucien Durand, Paris, France
  • 1966: Fischbach Gallery, New York, New York
  • 1993: Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland
  • 2008: Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich, Germany
  • 2014: David Zwirner, New York, New York

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This is an artist who grows on you. An artist who is one of a kind. For me he has the same qualities as many better known artists from his genaration, but is not the household name in modern art he should be. Try to see some of his works when you the chance , because this is an artist well worth discovering. www.ftn-books.com has a signed exhibition poster from this artist available.

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Josef Albers and his Christmas card from 1952

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On this Christmas eve some thoughts by Josef Albers :

Wenn ich male
sehe und denke ich zunächst – Farbe

Und zumeist Farbe als Bewegung

Nicht als Begleitung
von Form, die seitwärts bewegt,
nur seitwärts verbleibt

Sondern als Farbe in dauernder innerer Bewegung

Nicht nur in Interaktion und Interdependenz
mit Nachbarfarben,
verbunden wie unverbunden

Sondern in Aggression – zum wie vom Beschauer
in direktem frontalen Uns-Anschauen

Und näher betrachtet,
als ein Atem und Pulsieren – in der Farbe

When I paint
I think and see
first and most – color
but color as motion

Color not only accompanying
form of lateral extension
and after being moved
remaining arrested

But of perpetual inner movement
as aggression – to and from the spectator
besides interaction an interdependence
with shape and hue and light

Color in a direct and frontal focus
and when closely felt
as a breathing and pulsating
– from within

Josef Albers

The card below was the original Josef Albers Christmas card from 1952

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Unfortunately this card is NOT available at www.ftn-books.com, but many other Albers item are available. a Merry Xmas from Wilfried van den Elshout and FTN books

 

 

 

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Kenneth Martin (1905-1984)

 

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Kenneth Martin was for me one of the grand old masters of Constructivism. Outside England hardly known, but considered by many of great influence and importance. His best works for me are his prints in which he excels. His wife Mary was a gifted artist too and from both www.ftn-books.com has some nice publications. I only know of one exhibition outside Great Britain, which is the Bottrop exhibition but when you see one announced , i strongly recommend a visit to discover yourself the importance of Kenneth Martin.

 

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Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967)

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If it had not been for the exhibition “SPIRITUAL IN ART ” in the Haags Gemeentemuseum, i probably would not have known Ad Reinhardt. Of course now i know him because of the Bottrop / Quadrat exhibition which was very impressive, but for most people in Europe Ad Reinhardt is far less familiar. His works are spread all over the world and can be admired in public Museums. The Stedelijk Museum only has a handful of prints which makes his works hard to find in the Netherlands. Still whenever one encounters a Reinhardt painting it always impresses me . Perhaps that is the reason why i bought some 9 years ago a beautiful Geert van Fastenhout, which is far more affordable than the steep prices Reinhardt fetch at auction nowadays , also a painting with the symbolic cross. An item which is frequently used by Reinhardt too.

left Reinhardt/ right van Fastenhout

In execution and intensity both painters are equal to each other. The difference…..van Fastenhout is known in France, Japan and the Netherlands, whereas Reinhardt is now known all over the world. www.ftn-books.com has recently added a beautiful German catalogue by the Kunsthalle Dusseldorf from 1972 , which includes an impressive original silkscreen with the depicting of the black/grey crosses.

 

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Pol Bury (1922-2005) and kinetic art

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Pol Bury, painter and sculptor, but his importance comes from his early participation in the Kinetic arts mouvement. It has been a long time before i appreciated Pol Bury art., but since i collected some of his Derniere Le Miroir publications by Maeght i started to know his works a little better and the time i saw one of his sculptures at Bottrop , i was convinced of the importance of Pol Bury for Modern Art. The sculpture i refer to is in the permanent collection of Bottrop and  acquired at the time of my visit the signed poster for the Bury exhibition in 1990. The poster shows the sculpture of the Bury kinetic sculpture. Like a giant flying saucer it stand in the middle of a pond , water coming out its opening. Mouvement and form , making it into a giant kinetic sculpture. This signed poster is available at www.ftn-books.com

Pol Bury about his own work:

Pol Bury: I see no point in revealing the technical details of the mechanism that drives the movement [in my sculptures]. We are too quick, nowadays, in this particular art form, to equip ourselves with the engineer’s compasses and slide rule. For me movement is a medium, like colour and line for painters. No one asks a painter for a chemical analysis of his chosen medium. The perception of movement should be immediate and obvious to the viewer; most importantly, the means used to create the animation should be invisible, and readily forgotten.

While making this blog on Bury i encountered an excellent site with many quotes on Bury and his importance. For those interested please visit:

https://www.christies.com/features/The-master-of-slowness-An-oral-history-of-Pol-Bury-6848-1.aspx

and the ones that want to inform themselves on Bury. There is a nice selection of publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Agnes Martin …the Islands (2004)

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Yesterday i spoke about the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop and their excellent poster publications. Today i will present the very best of them. It is the magnificent Agnes Martin poster for the “the ISLANDS’ exhibition. Executed as an original silkscreen this poster is a true work of art.

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Publisher: Quadrat /Josef Albers Museum, 2011 Measurements: 31.4 x 24 inches Condition: mint-

This is a highly collectable and important poster> not only because the exhibition was important, but because of the printing technique this is a masterpiece.

Poster and exhibition catalogue are both available through www.ftn-books.com

catalogue design by Walter Nikkels