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Claes Oldenburg (1929)

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Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. They are a couple and the reason i mention this is that without Coosje van Bruggen , Oldenburg would never have become the great artist he now is. van Bruggen has written all monographs on Oldenburg and is mentioned in every publication. van Bruggen was his second wife, but undoubtedly the one who had the greatest influence on him and his works. It was about 15 years ago that i for the first time encountered in real life some other work by Oldenburg than the screw from the Boymans van Beuningen collection.

We visited the Guggenheim in Bilbao and there they were ( nowadays the space is occupied by the MATTER OF TIME by Serra) Immense sculptures made out of polyester and painted in bright colors in a Gehry surroundings. The ensemble of both reminded me of a Disneyland setting, but these sculptures were so impressive that i, for the first time, realized the importance of Oldenburg as a sculptor. It is still a rare occasion that i encounter a large Oldenburg but since the Bilbao sculptures i am looking with different eyes to all Oldenburg sculptures including the very familiar SCREW at the Boymans van Beuningen museum. www.ftn-books.com has some nice Oldenburg publications available including the Crouwel designed Stedelijk Museum catalogue from 1977 and the Crouwel designed poster for this exhibition.

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Jim Dine (1935)

He is for certain one of the greatest Pop Art artists if ever there was one. One from the first generation of Pop Art artists who rose to fame in the early 60’s and who even had some great exhibitions in the years to follow at the Stedelijk Museum and the Boymans van Beuningen museum in the Netherlands in the 60’s and 70’s. Both museum have since some great paintings in their collections , (left Stedelijk / right Boymans van Beuningen)

but the Stedelijk Museum stands out for me , because beside multiple art works in their collection they published one of the first simple orange/red catalogues designed by Wim Crouwel. This one devoted specially to the drawings of Jim Dine and available at www.ftn-books.com and this is Wim Crouwel classic

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But of course there are other Jim DIne titles also available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Albert Marquet (1875-1947)

 

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Albert Marquet is the next stage in Impressionism, which is of course Fauvisme of which mouvement he was one of the most important contributors. It took me a very long time to finally see  “live” a painting by Marquet. It was in the “Monet to Matisse” exhibition at the Haags Gemeentemuseum . The museum had the highlights from the Pushkin museum on loan for a short period. The exhibition drew record numbers of visitors ( almost 250.000 came to visit) and among the paintings on loan there were 2 Marquet paintings of which one was my personal favorite.

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The painting shows the river Seine and in a fog the silhouette of the Notre Dame on Ile Saint Louis can be seen. It is a magical painting , just a little black, some grey lines   and some white  makes one of the best and most beautiful Fauve paintings i had ever seen. In the morning without the visitors crowding the rooms of the museum, you could visit the exhibition before its opening. It was quiet then and every time i saw the painting i was impressed. As a book dealer i learned that Marquet was not unknown in the dutch art and collectors scene, because several publications were published of which some are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Richard Artschwager (1924-2013)

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Richard Artschwager started working in the 1960s exclusively as a freelance artist, having completed a science degree and after many years as owner of a furniture workshop. His oeuvre encompassed many style directions: the reduced and clear forms of his objects and paintings reflect minimalism whilst his use of industrially made materials such as Resopal and Celotex take up an element of Pop Art, and his ‘Blps’ mechanisms deploy ideas of conceptual art.  This work by Artschwager reminded me of Fons Haagmans who does in some way the same. But where Artschwager tends to become a minimal artist. Haagmans stay’s always far from it and in his form language you always can recognize reality.

 

Artschwager’s first solo exhibition was in 1965 at the legendary Leo Castelli Gallery in New York. The most comprehensive retrospective of his complete work up till now was opened in 2012 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, moving on to the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2013), and the Haus der Kunst, Munchen and the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco in 2014.

www.ftn-books.com has some excellent Artschwager titles available.

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Adolphe Monticelli ( 1824-1886) and Benno Wissing

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Why a blog on Monticelli? Two simple reasons. Monticelli was one of the great inspiration sources for the Impressionists and specially Vincent van Gogh was a great admirer and because of this connection two of the large museums in the Netherlands held exhibitions in the Fifties and Sixties. The Boymans van Beuningen was one of them and held a retrospective exhibition in 1959 of which the catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

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It is this appreciation of Monticelli’s art and the connection with van Gogh that some of the museums over here have Monticelli’s in their collections. I know that Kroller Muller, Gemeentemuseum, Boymans and the Stedelijk all have Monticelli’s in their collections. Personally i think it is time again for a re appreciation of this great painter who’s works are timeless and in so many cases a source of inspiration for the Impressionists. I started this blog on Monticelli because today i bought a poster for the 1959 Boymans exhibitions. It is in excellent B- condition and i consider this to be one of the best Benno Wissing made for the Boymans museum during the Fifties.

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Willem Oorebeek (1953)

Another artist from my generation. Less colorful than the ones i usually admire, but still important in his own right. In 2015 the Boymans van Beuningen Museum had a “large” retrospective on the artist. It was showing ten early works by Willem Oorebeek (Pernis 1953) from the museum’s own collection. The artist’s work is based on commercial printing. He combines, isolates and repeats images from the endless stream generated by the mass media. This gives them a status in their own right, whereas in a commercial environment they are subservient to the product.

Oorebeek’s art deserves to be known by a larger public, but his art is one for connaisseurs and it will be a hard case to make this kind of art known and appreciated by a large public. Still www.ftn-books.com has books on the artist in its collection.

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Luciano Fabro (1936-2007)

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Luciano Fabro…an italian artist rooted in the ARTE POVERA and perhaps a little bit forgotten nowadays.

But Fabro stays very imortant for Modern Art, since his works are very much in line with other great artist from that era. Castellani and Manzoni were of great influence to him and in 1958, after he saw Lucio Fontana’s work at Venice Biennale, Fabro moved to Milan where he spent the rest of his life pursuing his artistic career.

Fabro was involved in the Arte Povera group, which was interested in experimenting with industrial and natural materials, focusing on process, language and the body. Fabro’s best known works were sculptural reliefs of Italy made out of glass, steel, bronze, gold and even soft leather. The signature unorthodox, ‘poor’ materials in his works include steel tubes, cloth, newspapers, and wax; the artist, however, often used also traditional and expensive art materials such as gold, marble, and bronze. At the height of the ARTE POVERA group, the Boymans van Beuningen Museum organized and exhibition with the works by Luciano Fabro and after this exhibition other exhibitions followed in the Netherlands. The catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Co Westerik ( 1924-2018) dies at the age of 94.

Yesterday morning the family of Co Westerik announced the death of this great dutch painter. His works are present in practically every large dutch museum and some admiring collectors ( the late Frits Becht ao) managed to buy more than average numbers of paintings from him and that is quite an accomplishment since his production was low…..extremely LOW. In many a year he managed to complete only as few as 3 paintings, making his work a rare work to add to a collection. It was different with his prints and drawings, because here his production was “normal”. One quality all his works have in common……it is the extreme detail and craftsmanship that make his works of high quality and stand out from the rest. At the time i worked at the Gemeentemuseum  i met the artist on several occasions, but i only remember that i spoke to his representatives concerning catalogue and postcard productions. Even on these occasion he was highly (rightfully) concerned about the result. But in the end he had the publication as he had visualized it. The costs did not matter to him….the result did. ww.ftn-books.com has many titles available on Co Westerik.

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Frank Lloyd Wright and Benno Wissing ( 1952)

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One of the first projects and designs Benno Wissing did for the Boymans van Beuningen Museum must have been this Frank Lloyd Wright catalogue “fllw”. The year is 1952 and the chosen size is different from the normal sized catalogues the Boymans had published until that date. But the size and lay out suits the subject of architecture. This is one of the hardest to find catalogues on Frank lloyd Wright and i was lucky to find a copy. The condition is not the best possible and i would rate it 6 out of 10 points , but still it is there and now available at www,ftn-books.com. This is the best from both worlds. Great graphic design meets top class architecture.

 

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László Moholy-Nagy ( 1895-1946)

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László Moholy-Nagy  born László Weisz; July 20, 1895 – November 24, 1946) was a Hungarian painter and photographer as well as a professor in the Bauhaus school. He was highly influenced by constructivism and a strong advocate of the integration of technology and industry into the arts.

This is how the Wikipedia article on László Moholy-Nagy begins. I know the art by him as complicated constructions of threads and pieces of metal, but it was not until some 15 years ago that i discovered a book on his “photograms” and it immediately fascinated me. It was the link between painting and photography, showing details of hands and objects turning them into abstract works of art.

With his photograms, such as Photogram with Eiffel Tower (1925-1929), Moholy-Nagy experimented with the abstract potential of a traditionally documentary medium. The artist’s photography was also distinguished by its abstract qualities achieved through his bold experimentation with perspective. Among Moholy-Nagy’s three-dimensional works, the best known is Light Prop for an Electric Stage (1930), a mechanical sculpture that used light as a material and cast shifting shadows on the walls around it.

Www.ftn-books.com has some very nice László Moholy-Nagy publications available