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Ben Sleeuwenhoek (1951)

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A painter from my generation, who i have followed now for a long time. I never have been in the opportunity to buy  a painting for our collection, but maybe…..one day the time will come and i will succeed to buy one at auction. What i like about the paintings by Ben Sleeuwenhoek is the “humor” he inserts into his abstract paintings. Drops, stones, lamps, swings …every everyday object can have its place and function in a painting and what is more ….. the color scheme he uses is very pleasing to the eye and modern, so it blends in a perfect way with may interiors.

Ben Sleeuwenhoek has regular exhibitions at the large dutch Museums and has works present in the Zeeuws Museum and Museum Boymans van Beuningen

www.ftn-books.com has some Ben Sleeuwenhoek publications available

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Wim Crouwel (continued )

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Early September 2019 i recommended the Mr Gridnik exhibition which would open shortly  after in the Stedelijk Museum. Just a few days before opening Mr.  Gridnik/ Wim Crouwel died  and he never witnessed his tribute at the Stedelijk. Since i have not found the time to go to this exhibition myself, but now that i finally have the opportunity and started planning my visit, i found out that all rooms are photographed and can be visited on line. It is a worthy tribute to one of the greatest designers from the last decade, but could have been much more complete. It focusses for 90% on the Stedelijk Museum publications, but it is still a very impressive sight to see so many great designs collected, but the real surprise is that i noticed that i have almost all of the books on show in my inventory. (www.ftn-books.com)

For those living too far away to visit the exhibition….here is the direct link to the rooms and showcases with Crouwel material:

https://www.stedelijk.nl/nl/crouwel-vitrines

and another excellent site with 19 photographs:

http://dutchdesigndaily.com/nl/nieuw/wim-crouwel-mr-gridnik/

 

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Ernst Barlach (1870-1938)

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Barlach died just before the outbreak of WWII.  Kathe Kollwitz was about the same age and both were heavily influenced by the events of WWI. This war made an impression on both artists and many of their statues and sculptures  reminders of this war.

Wood was the material with which Barlach preferred to work and it has taken a very long time that his works received the appreciation they rightfully deserved to get. In the Netherlands only one exhibition was held. It was held at the Boymans van Beuningen Museum in 1961. Personally i did not take notice of this exhibition until last week when i found the catalogue.  I discovered it at the local Bookmarket and thought it had a beautiful design….yes designed by Benno Wissing and the design of the catalogue emphasized the qualities of barlach’s sculptures. The catalogue is nowavailable at www.ftn-books.com and for those visiting the Hamburg region, There are 2 Barlach museums in the region. One in Wedel and one in Ratzeburg.

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Frank Mandersloot (1960)

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Frank Mandersloot is still one of the great sculptors in the Netherlands . Piules of furniture, draperies seemingly random placed, but always making curious and interacting with the space in which it is placed.

Educated in Den Bosch he nowadays is a valued teacher at the Rietveld Academy. For me the Frank Mandersloot catalogue is one of the best the Museum Boymans van Beuningen has published in the Nineties. Designed by 8vo from London it is a highlight among their publications. The catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Fritz Wotruba (1907-1975)

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A truly visionary artist Fritz Wotruba was. He is almost forgotten, but deserves to be recognized as one of the great European artists who shaped modern art and combined this with great architectural designs. Wotruba is like a cubist sculptor, but his shapes consist of parts put together and seen from nearby it seems as they have no relation with each other. But from further away figures emerge.

His sculptures are magnificent, but when you once have seen his architecture you are completely sold .

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This is the discipline in which he excels and is a one of a kind artist. Fritz Wotruba has had several exhibitions in the Netherland in the 50’s and the 60’s, but is after these events almost forgotten. Instead in Austria he is still one of the greatest Modern Artists. Catalogues of these events are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Dolf Henkes (1903-1989)

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Without knowing i have collected a number of important Dolf Henkes titles and what struck me is that the interest in his works is something which is still here and constant over the past six decades . Henkes was an artist creating on the crossroads of realism and abstraction and this shows in his paintings.

Born and raised in Rotterdam, moving to Paris and staying at Curacao for a while all these places shaped the art Dolf Henkes was creating. His painting touch is vivid and light and the city of Rotterdam valued the art of Henkes and presented him with a beautiful retrospective exhibition in 1988 to memorate his 85th birthday. Shortly after he died, but his name is still very much alive and used for the Henkes art price , which is each year presented to a young aspiring artist from Rotterdam. The Museum Boymans van Beuningen ( now closed for renovation) has a large collection of important Dolf Henkes paintings. http://www.ftn-books.com has some nice Dolf Henkes publications available.

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Milan Kunc (1944)

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Milan Kunc makes art on the cross roads of Memphis design meeting Picasso with a dash of childrens drawings and with a color palet that is endless. I managed to collect quite some titles by Kunc during the last two decades, because the Netherlands was fortunate to hold exhibitions at the galerie Swart , Groninger Museum ( 1984, large retrospective curated by Frans Haks), Stedelijk Museum and the Boymans van Beuningen museum. Many publications were the result , add to these the catalogues that were published with every gallery presentation in Europe and the result is a stack of publications , many artists would wish they had the same number of publications.

What strikes me every time i leaf through these books i find his work appealing, but in many cases i find it just too much absurd fantasies by the artist. Still this is, according to others, one of the qualities Kunc has. He exaggerates and creates scenes with many layers, but for me after some time they stop working and i am in need of a new ” surprising” composition. Milan Kunc is certainly a great artist, with many beautiful publications, but personally i prefer other artists. http://www.ftn-books.com has some nice Milan Kunc publications available.

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Pop Art exhibitions in the Netherlands

A few years ago one of the most recent in a long line of Pop Art and Pop Art related exhibitions was being held at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. But since the mid Sixties numerous exhibitions have been held on Pop Art and Pop Art related artists. There were exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum, Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Groninger Museum, Nijmeegs Museum, Kunsthal and the Gemeentemuseum and every time they were a huge success. My guess is that because the art is recognizable and because Pop Art established itself as a true mouvement in Art History, it has become popular to the masses.

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Warhol, Lichtenstein and Wesselman are now household names and their works known by many. Perhaps it has even become to successful since images by these great artists are now part of Commercial activities and publicity campaigns which is a pity since these were not meant for being used this way. http://www.ftn-books.com has some nice duthc Pop Art publications available.

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Wim Crouwel (1928-2019)

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This morning i heard that one of the most influential designers from our time, Wim Crouwel, has died. The last years of his life he suffered Parkinson disease, but he was still going strong and must have looked forward to the retrospective of his works being opened later this  month at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. What better way to commemorate this great artist than to show a selection of the many items designed by him. www.ftn-books.com

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And to finish one of my personal favorites. Wim Crouwel will be an example for many designers in the decades to comewerkman crouwel aa.

 

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Felix Vallotton (1865-1925)

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Felix Valotton is without a doubt one of those less familiar names in Modern Art, but still he is very important for the development of modern Art as we know it, because when you look at his works more closely you can discover the fundaments of abstraction.

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In 1893, he became a member of Les Nabis, a semi-secret, semi-mystical group of young artists, mostly from the Academie Julian, which included Pierre Bonnard, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Maurice Denis, and Édouard Vuillard, with whom Vallotton was to form a lifelong friendship. While the Nabis shared certain common ideas and goals, their styles were quite different and personal. While he was a member of the Nabis, he kept his distance; his jocular title among the Nabis was “The Foreign Nabi”, [10] Vallotton’s paintings in this period reflected the style of his woodcuts, with flat areas of color, hard edges, and simplification of detail. His subjects included genre scenes, portraits and nudes. Examples of his Nabi style are the deliberately awkward Bathers on a Summer Evening (1892–93), now in the Kunsthaus Zürich, and the symbolist Moonlight(1895), in the Musée d’Orsay.

His paintings began to be noticed by the public and critics; Bathers on a Summer Evening, presented at the Salon des Indépendents, was met with harsh criticism and laughter.  But they also woodcuts also attracted considerable and growing attention and clients, and he became financially secure. Between 1893 and 1897, he received many commissions for illustrations from notable French newspapers and magazines, including La Revue Blanche, and from foreign art publications, including The Chap-Book of Chicago. He also made woodcuts for the covers of theater programs and book illustrations. One of his prominent patrons was Thadée Natanson, the publisher of the Revue Blanche, and his wife Misia, who commissioned many important decorative works from the Nabis. Through the Natansons Vallotton was introduced to the avant-garde elite of Paris, including Stéphane Mallarmé, Marcel Proust, Eric Satie, and Claude Debussy.

During the Nabi period, he also produced a remarkable series of woodcuts. His woodcut subjects included domestic scenes, bathing women, portrait heads, and several images of street crowds and demonstrations—notably, several scenes of police attacking anarchists. He usually depicted types rather than individuals, eschewed the expression of strong emotion, and “fuse[d] a graphic wit with an acerbic if not ironic humor”. Vallotton’s graphic art reached its highest development in Intimités (Intimacies), a series of ten interiors published in 1898 by the Revue Blanche, which deal with tension between men and women. Vallotton’s woodcuts were widely disseminated in periodicals and books in Europe as well as in the United States, and have been suggested as a significant influence on the graphic art of Edvard Munch, Aubrey Beardsley, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. In 1898, he produced one of his most important series of woodcuts,

By 1900, the Nabis had drifted apart. One source of the division was the Dreyfus affair, the case of a Jewish army officer falsely accused of aiding the Germans. The Nabis were divided, with Vallotton passionately defending Dreyfus. He produced a series of satirical woodcuts on the affair, including The age of the Newspaper,which were published on the first page of Le Cri de Paris on January 23, 1898, at the height of the affair.

Another major event during this period was his marriage to Gabrielle Rodrigues-Hénriques, a upper middle class member of the Paris artistic and social elite. The union also brought to his household three children from her previous marriage. After a brief honeymoon in Switzerland, they moved to a large apartment on near the Gare Saint-Lazare train station. He also established a solid relationship with the Bernheim family and their gallery, which presented a special exhibition devoted the Nabis, including ten of his works. The marriage brought him financial security, and he gradually abandoned woodcuts as his main source of income. Thereafter he devoted his attention almost entirely to painting. www. ftn-books.com has some titles on vallotton available.