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.
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.
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
One of my first blogs was devoted to the museum Belvedere where i encountered some wonderful paintings by Gerrit Benner. This blog is solely devoted to Benner because he deserves it. His paintings are among the first abstract paintings which still hold a link with realism in the Netherlands . These paintings are definitely inspired by nature. Skies, meadows and even an abstract cow can be determined in the compositions. Benner is a painter “pur sang” who’s works are rooted in the dutch tradition of abstract paintings. For instance Mondrian used these abstracted landscapes in his own painting from the early 20th century.
on the left a painting by Benner with Red cloud on the right Landscape with Red cloud by Piet Mondriaan
Benner is a great painter who deserves to be known outside the Netherlands and for those visiting the Netherlands. When you visit the Stedelijk, Gemeentemuseum, Belvedere and Museum Twente you surely will encounter a Benner painting in their permanent collections.
There are some very nice Benner publications available at www.ftn-books.com
If ever there is one “glass” artist who deservees to be called original in his approach to the medium of glass, it is Bert Frijns. The first time i saw some of his glass vases presented in the Haags Gemeentemuseum in the inner garden, they were soon filled with rain water, make them appear even more fragile. But the water did not harm them, no it enhanced the capture of light, making the glass vase like a solid sculpture. The form , also highly original and it stayed one of the trademark forms of Frijns. Frijns had multiple museum and gallery exhibitions in the Netherlands, but the first one which i saw by this artist stayed with me forever.
Great works of art and with the exhibition one of the first Gracia Lebbink designed exhibition catalogues for the Gemeentemuseum which is finally available through www.ftn-books.com. The short biography comes from www.acquestarte.com
Born in 1953 in Ubach Worms, The Netherlands. From 1973 until 1980 he studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and, after graduation, he attended specialist courses at the Department of sculpture and glass.
Since 1991, Bert Frijns lives with his family on a farm on an island of Zeeland, the southwestern province of the Netherlands. Surrounded by the North Sea and living in contact with nature, the artist is daily inspired by the landscape of the area.
Glass, water, light and movement are the main ingredients of the works of Bert Frijns. With minimalist simplicity and a strong sense of poetry, the artist has worked with these elements for almost three decades. The interaction of sculpture, light and space surrounding are common features in all his works.
Frijns also adopts an extremely complex and specific method of working the glass. Although his finished works seem simple, they are actually the result of a lengthy and difficult technic. His works are distinguished by their sheer beauty, stripped of frills or decorations. Since the glass sculptures are also filled with water, it creates an additional visual element.To date, Frijns has exhibited his works in many museums and galleries around the world: in the Netherlands, Germany, United States, Indonesia, Japan, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, England, Israel and Australia.
Some of his creations are part of collections of some well-known museums: the Museum Jan van der Togt, the Jewish Historical Museum, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Museum of Modern Art in Arnhem, the Frans Hals Museum, the Haags Gemeentemuseum, the Landesmuseum in Kassel, the Ernsting Stiftung and the Jewish Historical Museum in New York.
Yesterday we spoke of Benno Wissing and today the subject is Gino Severini. The artists exhibition for who Wissing made an outstanding catalogue. The Gino Severini catalogue from 1963. A true classic in dutch design.
In 1963 Gino Severini was not that well known in the Netherlands, but the appreciation for modern art was becoming more clear with every exhibition being held in the Stedelijk Museum during the 50’s and 60’s. The Boymans museum presented this artist after they had acquired a clowns painting by the artist as was the same with the Gemeentemuseum who had TWEE HANSWORSTEN in their collection.
But these paintings are not typical for the artist because Severini is known for his futuristic and cubist paintings.
So the exhibition was an excellent chance to show the diversity of this italian “dandy” artist who was a personal friend of Theo van Doesburg.
Severini paintings are rarely offered for sale and when they come on the block, they are getting more expensive with each auction. But beside their money value they are important in the development of modern art and the exhibition in the Boymans in 1963 was one of the first that showed his importance for Modern Art as we know it.
The Boymans Severini catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com
In the dutch museum and art scene there are some classical partnerships regarding the design of museumpublications. There are Willem Sandberg and Wim Crouwel who bot worked in different decades for the Stedelijk Museum. There is again Wim Crouwel and Walter Nikkels who worked for the van Abbemuseum. There are Donald Janssen and Gracia Lebbink who had their designs published by the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and there is Benno Wissing ( one of the founders of Total Designs) who worked almost exclusively for the Boymans Van Beuningen Museum Rotterdam during 3 decades.
Bernard (Benno) Wissing was a Dutch designer, painter, graphic artist and architect. He trained as a painter at the Art Academy in Rotterdam.
He began his career in 1949 as a designer for the Museum Boijmans in Rotterdam under VP Ebbinge Wubbe. He designed catalogs and posters and established exhibitions. He was one of the founders of Total Design which he worked from 1964 to 1972.
Benno Wissing is for me one of the greatest names in dutch design, but still stands in the shadow of Crouwel and Sandberg. Undeservedly, because his designs are true ” classics”. Just search for Wissing at www.ftn-books.com and find some excellent examples of his truly great designs.
It was about 20 year ago i first saw work by Juul Kraijer. Kraijer was presented with a small exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum and as soon as i saw her works i was convinced of the quality of her art. Many years later, i Think it was the UNSEEN fair 2014 i encountered her photographs and had the same feeling about them.
They created an unease within me, but at the same time they were fascinating. I discovered for this blog that Kraijer has a very loyal and active following on Pinterest, but maybe the best way to discover her works is by visiting her site http://www.juulkraijer.com on which she gives a.o. an extensive text on her Hydra series of drawings. The HYDRA book is available at www.ftn-books.com
Like last weeks auction of the Klein Breteler collection, Salco Tromp Meesters decided that he had to sell his collection because he could not find a proper location for the 770 works to be preserved and shown. At one time there was the Congresgebouw in Den Haag who exhibited the collection, but this location ended when a valuable Schoonhoven painting was stolen from the building. The 770 works were practically all sold during auction in 1990 and one of them was a beautiful J.Cj. Vanderheyden. An early “pop art” like painting which i tried to acquire for my own collection, but was far from successful because the end price went way to high. What i remember about the painting is there were several mirrors fixed to the canvas and one of the painted object was a Citroen 2VC. I looked for the painting on Google but still can not find it. I every much would like to know its whereabouts, because for me this is one of the most iconic JCJ. van der Heyden paintings ever. Of course www.ftn-books.com has the most important JCJ. van der Heyden catalogues from the last 40 years available.
It wasn’t to difficult to find a good portrait of Cindy Sherman on Google, because every picture by Cindy Sherman features …Cindy Sherman. So before the craze of the selfie photography , Sherman already made “perfect” selfies, every time staged in a different setting.
She has become world famous with these photographs and had in the Netherlands on several occasions exhibitions, including the retrospective in the Boymans van Beuningen, which catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com
One exception is that at one time in her career she wasn’t present in het photographs. In 1992 Sherman embarked on a series of photographs now referred to as “Sex Pictures.” For the first time, Sherman is entirely absent from these photographs. Instead, she again uses dolls and prosthetic body parts, this time posed in highly sexual poses. Prosthetic genitalia – both male and female – are used often and photographed in extreme close-up. Photographed exclusively in color, these photographs are meant to shock. Sherman continued to work on these photographs for some time and continued to experiment with the use of dolls and other replacements for what had previously been herself.
When i looked closely at these photographs i found a great resemblance with the POUPEE photographs by Hans Bellmer. I might be wrong, but because of this resemblance i find this series much less interesting than the photographs with Sherman in them.