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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

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Manfred Mohr (1938)

 

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Another discovery from the Josef Albers Museum/Quadrat Bottrop is the artist Manfred MOhf of whom i had not heard until 8 years ago, but who i discovered at the Quadrat Museum, because they had some very nice limited prints available. Later i remembered that he also featured within the Blank Page set which i acquired some 25 years ago for my personal collection.

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Mohr is a digital Art pioneer and strangely enough this has no relation at all with his early years as an artist in which he was a jazz musician and action painter. I really love the works by Mohr, because they look simple compositions and almost the same , but when you look at the closely you will notice the difference and subtle changes which result in a completely different composition.

The publications by MOhr have all the same qualities. Oblong sized and showing these little differences in sequence resulting in a different composition. I love these kind of books. Small editions, artist like books, in most cases designed by the artist and really showing what the art is about and www.ftn-books.com has some of these books by Mohr available.

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Josef Albers Museum / Quadrat Bottrop and its amazing poster publications.

It must have been in december some eight years ago that me, my wife and Ellis my sister in law decided to make a small detour to Bottrop after vsiting the Alsace region. When we arrived there were were impressed by the surroundings of the museum. a park and a sculpture garden next door to the museum building itself. Of coursse we came over there to see the Josef Albers paintings, but after the visit we started to see what wonderful items the bookshop was selling. Among them….posters, special prints and Josef Albers furniture.

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I bought the posters , because they were there for sale in all sorts of appearances. Specila prints, silks screened, signed and even limited editions and they were not exported or could not be ordered only bought on site. That is the reason why we returned one year later and i bought more of them. Making them a substantial part of my inventory. Most of them are sold out now, but i am fortunate to be able to offer them. These are among the very best exhibition poster sin the world by some of the grewatest names in Art today. The posters i bought are available at www.ftn-books.com…just search for Albers or Bottrop.

 

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Jean Dewasne (1921-1999) a very special print

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Before i visited for the first time the Quadrat Museum in Bottrop i never had seen many Jean Dewasne paintings. Yes there were a few in Brussels and Antwerp, but as many as there were in Bottrop was new to me. It made me realize that Dewasne was arguably one of the most influential and important Belgian painters from the last century and the Josef Albers/ Quadrat museum recognized his importance by holding a large retrospective on him in 1991.

I depicted the poster of this exhibition in this blog , because it is very special. The poster is a specially designed silkscreen and available at www.ftn-books.com

Not only the silkscreen exhibition print is special but also the catalogue with the 1991 exhibition contains 3 small silkscreens within , making this a true artist book. Since my visit of the Dewasne exhibition i always have been admiring him and i am still wondering why he has not become the great name in art he deserves to be.

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Dora Maurer (1937) …special silkscreen edition (1998)

It is not that long that i admire the works by Dora Maurer. It took me 20 years to appreciate minimal art and not much less to appreciate constructivist works, but the instant i encountered works by Maurer i became fascinated.

Dora Maurer (born 1937 in Budapest) is a Hungarian artist whose work has spanned a 50-year career. With an emphasis on photography, film, graphic design, amongst other things, Maurer has made herself a household name in the art world. Principally achieving recognition in the 1970s with avant-garde work, Maurer has developed her art career from works with contemporary and modern influences that have been shown worldwide. All of her art is based on mathematical and complex system processes. Most of Maurer’s work follows the theme of showing options to the viewer and what the viewer can do with those options. Many of her works break down simple actions so the viewer can really view the piece as movement, not a photograph of movement. Dora Maurer has in addition been a professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Budapest and a curator.

In 1998 she was given a nice retrospective at the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop for which occasion she made a wonderful and original silkscreen print for her exhibition. The Josef Albers museum had, beside the small edition for publicity purposes, about 15 copies signed by Dora Maurer and www.ftn-books.com has 3 available of these rare signed silkscreen prints.

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Thomas Schütte (1954)

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The German sculptor Thomas Schütte is constructing a museum to house his artwork in the town of Hombroich, located about 16 km (10 miles) southeast of Düsseldorf.

The new structure—which will offer 700 square meters (1,300 sq. ft.) of floor space when completed—was designed by Schütte, and is being built close to the grounds of the Museumsinsel Hombroich, a multi-building complex that also houses the collection of the German collector Karl-Heinrich Müller……

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I just encountered this old news on the internet and was reminded about the sculptures i had seen by Schuette, when Rudi Fuchs was director of the Gemeentemuseum. Since  i have seen his works on multiple occasions and whenever there was a catalogue published on the exhibitions i was full of admiration, because his catalogues are among the best published in the last 3 decades. There are several available at www.ftn-books.com. So in the near future when you visit the Dusseldorf area you can include Hombroich together with Bottrop to visit 2 exquisite museums.

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Agnes Martin (1912-2004)

The 3rd blog on a female artist. Tate, Moma, Lacma, Guggenheim, Centre Pompidou, Stedelijk Museum…..They all have in common that they have a work or works by Agnes Martin in their Permanent collections. Martin is considered by most as a Minimal artist but she herself thinks more of herself as an abstract expressionist painter. Anyway ,she is absolutely one of the most important and original artists from the 20th century. Personally i think her paintings have a unique quality. More Minimal than abstract, but made with a technique that is typical Agnes Martin. The Guardian says the following on Martin.

A late starter, Martin kept on going, working at the height of her powers right through her 80s; a stocky figure with apple cheeks and cropped silver hair, dressed in overalls and Indian shirts. She produced the last of her masterpieces a few months before her death in 2004, at the grand old age of 92. But she was also so deeply ambivalent about pride and success and the ego-driven business of making a name for yourself that in the 1960s she abandoned the art world altogether, packing up her New York studio, giving away her materials and disappearing in a pickup truck, surfacing 18 months later on a remote mesa in New Mexico.

When she returned to painting in 1971, the grids had gone, replaced by horizontal or vertical lines, the old palette of grey and white and brown giving way to glowing stripes and bands of very pale pink and blue and yellow. “Sippy cup colours”, the critic Terry Castle once called them, and their titles likewise address states of pre-verbal, infantile bliss. Little Children Loving Love, I Love the Whole World, Lovely Life, even Infant Response to Love. And yet these images of absolute calm did not arise from a life replete with love or ease, but rather out of turbulence, solitude and hardship. Though inspired, they represent an act of dogged will and extreme effort, and their perfection is hard-won.

Martin’s work is in museums and collections across the world, and changes hands for millions of dollars at a time. All the same, she hasn’t achieved quite the renown of her mostly male contemporaries in abstraction, partly because the subtleties of her paintings are almost impossible to reproduce in print.
I think there is one exception. the excellent poster that was an original silkscreen for the Quadrat Bottrop exhibition. It is still available at www.ftn-books.com
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