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Saul Steinberg (1914-1999)

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….and now for the other Steinberg…SAUL STEINBERG.

First i must say that writing a blog on Steinberg, can not do justice to the excellent site , which the Steinberg foundation has constructed on the life, times and art of Saul Steinberg. You can visit the site at : http://saulsteinbergfoundation.org

But some personal notes on the artist. Saul Steinberg is a very well known artist in Europe. He had his exhibitions at the Maeght galleries in the Sixties and Seventies and both the Stedelijk Museum and the Boymans van Beuningen museum in the Netherlands organized exhibitions on the artist. In the beginning i always had considered Steinberg to be an illustrator and not the artist he later became to me. Later i realized to look at his art in a way that his drawings were meant to be seen. A citation from his site makes this clear :

Saul Steinberg defined drawing as “a way of reasoning on paper,” and he remained committed to the act of drawing. Throughout his long career, he used drawing to think about the semantics of art, reconfiguring stylistic signs into a new language suited to the fabricated temper of modern life. Sometimes with affection, sometimes with irony, but always with virtuoso mastery, Saul Steinberg peeled back the carefully wrought masks of 20th-century civilization.

This is an artist to be discovered by a far larger audience. At this moment i think he is the lesser of both Steinberg’s  i recently wrote a blog on, but perhaps time will prove me wrong and i will think of his art just the way around in a few years. www.ftn-books.com has some nice and rare Saul Steinberg publications available.

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Barry Flanagan (1941-2009)

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Barry Flanagan, a protege of Rudi Fuchs, presented this artist at different venues on several occasions. The van Abbemuseum and the Stedelijk Museum among them. This way creating a platform for this artist who, after the exhibitions in dutch museums , could count on a loyal following of admirers. He began his career as a minimalist working in folded cloth, but later became Britain’s best-known and most controversial modernist, internationally renowned for his colossal bronze figures of leaping hares.

That said i personally am impressed with his small scale art. His drawings, linocuts and lithographs are like dreamlike landscapes with an abstract twist and bright colors, making these far more intimate. For us in the Netherlands it is still hard to find the nice publications published on this artist, because the edition size was on all occasions “small”. Less than 1000 copies were produced of his catalogue of which most part was over the years destroyed. His following may be loyal and admiring, but it is too small too sell a complete edition of his art catalogues. www.ftn-books.com has some Flanagan titles available.

 

 

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New site for FTN books and discount code

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It was a necessary step to make the site more accessible, so i changed the lay-out made it much more clear for all visitors to find their way among the 8000+ items that are for sale at www.ftn-books.com.

The result a clean and pleasing site in a blue and creme color scheme. Pleasing to the eye, with a great search engine to find those titltes you are looking for . Please take a look at www.ftn-books.com and when you order use the discount code: FTNnew (10% discount on all items), which is valid until the 6th of February 2019.

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Michel Cardena a conceptual artist ( 1934-2015)

 

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MIGUEL ÁNGEL CÁRDENAS was born in El Espinal, Colombia, in 1934 and died in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 2015. He studied architecture at the Universidad Nacional in Bogota (1952-1953) and visual arts at the Academia de Bellas Artes (1955-1957) and the Escuela de Artes Gráficas in Barcelona (1962), before moving to the Netherlands where he lived for the remainder of his life and adopted the artistname Michel Cardena. In 1964 Cardena was included in the seminal exhibition “New Realists and Pop Art,” which travelled from the Gemeentemuseum The Hague to Vienna and Brussels. In 1972 Cardena established an artist-run space called the In-Out Center along with a group of Amsterdam-based international artists. The In-Out Center hosted exhibitions of early video and performance art in addition to supporting conceptual and collaborative projects. Cardena’s work is in the collections of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Moderna Museet, Sweden; Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, Netherlands; and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands, among others. His work was recently exhibited at the Instituto de Vision, Bogota, Colombia (2015) and at Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York (2017) and will be part of the exhibition ‘I am a native foreigner’ opened at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in September 2017.

Cardena is becoming more and more known and gaining importance for the conceptual art of the Sixties and Seventies. www.ftn-books.com has two important publications on the artist.

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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.