Posted on

Lotti van der Gaag ( 1923-1999)…the forgotten Cobra artist

Schermafbeelding 2017-10-17 om 13.29.41

A 100% percent Cobra artist who has almost been forgotten by the public is Lotti van der Gaag. She began with sculpture on advise of Bram Bogart with who she was living in the late 40’s. In 1950 she moved to Paris where she met Karel Appel and Corneille with whom she stayed befriended during her entire life although Corneille had his objections of her joining the COBRA group. In 1974 she started with painting using the same fantasy figures she already had developed in her sculpture. When you look at these early paintings you can only draw one conclusion….Lotti van der Gaag is a Cobra artist!

What i did not know is that she was married to Kees van Bohemen , who has made a name for his  abstract expressionist paintings in dutch art. www.ftn-books has a few Lotti van der Gaag publications.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Posted on

Karel Appel and the Congresgebouw Den Haag (1969)

Schermafbeelding 2017-11-14 om 14.16.30

The Congresgebouw is an architectural icon in Den Haag. It was designed by Hans Oud and J.J.P. Oud and opened in 1969. In 1968 Karel Appel was commissioned a large painting on ceramic tiles and this painting is one of the lesser known Karel Appel paintings because not many people realize that they pass it while entering the Congresgebouw / World Forum ( the name what it is called nowadays).

Schermafbeelding 2017-11-14 om 14.15.55

The extremely large tile painting consists of over 1200 separately painted tiles. These together, making it one of the largest Karel Appel paintings ever. If ever you come to Den Haag , this location is well worth a visit because not only there is the Gemeentemuseum nearby, but beside the tile painting by Appel there are sculptures, by Henry Moore, Auke de Vries and Pevsner in the vicinity.

For some nice Karel Appel publications please visit www.ftn-books.com

Posted on

Marc Mendelson (1915-2013)

Schermafbeelding 2017-10-24 om 14.37.08

Born in the UK, but worked and lived for most of his life in Belgium. He is considered to be part of the Cobra mouvement, but was not a participating member of the mouvement. Many people know his work without knowing that it is by Mendelson, because the mural in Brussel’s subwaystation “Parc” is by his hand. The development of his style and work is something special because he started as a figurative painter, became an abstract one and for the final part of his life he became a figurative painter again. Personally i stumbled upon his works , because at one time i could buy a large book on him in a remainder sale and became fascinated by his abstract works and maybe i can convince you with this blog too of his qualities as a painter and  to read something more about Mendelson after seeing these beautiful abstract paintings.

Books on Mendelson are available at www.ftn-books.com

Posted on

Constant (1920-2005)

Schermafbeelding 2017-08-17 om 14.02.00.png

Another Cobra artist that i have met personally ( but only for a very brief conversation about his catalogues) was Constant ( Nieuwenhuijs ). From the 3 Cobra artist that i have met personally i liked him the best, because besides his Cobra period , he developed himself into a multi talented artist. His New Babylon constructions have proven to be a vision on the future and become more and more important in art history. Even his watercolors that he made at the end of his career are to be admired. Great technique and composition make these belonging to his best works from his career. Constant has always kept a special relation with the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and because of this special relation with the museum and his former director ( Hans Locher) the museum has the most important collection from all periods out of his career. Cobra, New Babylon , paintings and drawings all are present and will prove to be important in the coming centuries.

http://www.arttube.nl/videos/constant-new-babylon

Constant will probably be one of the most important dutch artists to remember and admire for his complete oeuvre.www.ftn-books.com has some nice classic and collectable publications on Constant ( Nieuwenhuijs).

and yes….www.ftn-books.com is one of the few booksellers who can offer you the famous Constant New Babylon book by Wigley

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Posted on

Karel Appel and Jan Vrijman ( Ik rotzooi maar wat aan, 1961)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Of course the official title is different . The documentary by Jan Vrijman from 1961 is called ” De werkelijkheid van Karel Appel”, but most people from the generation of Karel Appel know these famous words ….”ik rotzooi maar wat aan”, but reality is his painting is far from intuitive and improvisation. Many of his complex paintings were thought out and prepared on paper and i suspect that even the painting Appel is executing in the documentary is prepared and worked out on paper before he paints the canvas.

Appel is a great artist and certainly one of the most important ones in the Netherlands from the last century. His painting is the summit in abstract expressionism and he deservedly earned his place among the worlds greatest artist.

www.ftn-books.com has a large collection of Karel Appel books available

Posted on

Eugene Brands (1913-2002)…there are forgeries on the market.

Schermafbeelding 2017-06-27 om 09.37.02

In 1946 he participated in the exhibition JONGE SCHILDERS in the Stedelijk Museum and joined the experimental group of young painters in the Netherlands which would later become the COBRA mouvement. From there on he developed a very recognizable style with light bright colors, using many shades of red and yellow. Almost every large museum in the Netherlands has works by Brands in their collections and paintings and drawings are frequently offered for sale at auction or on auction sites. But beware !….. at one time i was visiting a viewing day ( many many years ago) by Sothebys on their Nes location when Brands walked in with the Amsterdam director of Sotheby’s. At that time there were about 10 works by Brands for sale. Brands walked around, glasses and furcoat still on (inside a heated room) , made a quick tour in the viewing hall, pointed out  and marked at least 5 works that were forgeries, since that occasion and knowing that there are many fake Brands paintings, i stayed away from them. Of course you can buy them at the gallery Nouvelles Images and Galerie de Rijk. It will be a safe buy, because all works sold by them are genuine, guaranteed and mostly registered pieces from the Brands studio, but from other sources …..BEWARE. Eugene Brands publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

Posted on

Pieter Ouborg, Painter of the unknown (1893-1956)

Schermafbeelding 2017-05-25 om 08.42.48

Outside the Netherlands Pieter Ouborg is hardly know, but compare this artists to his contemporaries he stand out with a “language” which is original and imaginative. Strange, sometimes surreal and even cildlike ( Yes, he befriended Appel and other Cobra artist). STill he did not become the great name people who admired him hoped for. Still he was admired by his fellow artists and during his life he received some very nice retrospectives in the Stedelijk Museum and the Haags Gemeentemuseum. It si hard to describe his art, but if i must make a comparison it must be Wols ( i wrote a short blog on Wols some weeks ago). For those visiting in the near future , here is the list of collections that has Ouborg works in them: ( and of course the books on www.ftn-books.com)

  • Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
  • Dordrechts Museum in Dordrecht
  • Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam
  • Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven
  • Groninger Museum in Groningen
  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam
  • Stedelijk Museum Schiedam in Schiedam
  • Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam
Posted on

Asger Jorn ( 1914-1973)

Schermafbeelding 2017-04-21 om 12.09.50

I appreciate all the COBRA mouvement artists, but if i had to chose one…it would be Asger Jorn. His paintings have a mysterious quality and within their abstraction one can always recognize a realistic element. Wether its a face, a human figure, an animal they are there …hidden within the picture, brightly colored and sometimes outlined with black. Before COBRA, Jorn was painting realistic scenes, and was an assistant to Le Corbusier, but after he met Appel, Constant and Corneille, with whom he founded COBRA and travelled to France, his style became completely abstract and strongly influenced by child drawings. He discussed this frequently with Christian Dotremont , because they both were ill with tuberculoses and treated within the same hospital in Silkeborg. In this same city, nearby his birth town an Asger Jorn museum was founded and financed by Jorn. http://www.museumjorn.dk/da/

This museum has become one of the most important ones in Denmark.

Jorn is now a classic among modern art lovers and will become more important every decade to come. www.ftn-books.com has some great Asger Jorn titles available in its inventory.

 

Posted on

Anton Martineau (1926-2017)

Schermafbeelding 2017-04-07 om 09.23.31.png

Yesterday, AntonMartineau died. He proclaimed himself the last of a great generation , together with Appel and Lucebert ( personal friends) he became known as an abstract painter, but never belonged to the Cobra movement. Born in the middle of the Red Light district in Amsterdam  a fortuneteller told him in his early youth that he would become a painter and a writer. He studied with one of the great designers in these days Paul Schuitema and was successful both as a painter and a writer. www.ftn-books.com has only one title of this fascinating artist available , but it is an important one. It contains both poetry and drawings by this great dutch artist.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The little documentary on Youtube is in dutch , but shows what a wonderful and colorful Martineau was

Posted on

Lucebert (1924-1994)

Everywhere i come across Lucebert (Lubertus Jacobus Swaanswijk) nowadays. Re-editions of his poems, paintings at auction and exhibitions in galleries and museums. There is a huge interest in his works since 20 years or so, but before that period he was hardly known  as a painter , but nowadays he is considered as one of the leading dutch artists from the 20th century . In his early years he was very much influenced by Cobra , but soon he developed his personal style which for me is a crossing between Cobra and Art Brut. He became known for his poems, but when you ask about Lucebert nowadays, people think of him first and foremost as a painter and because of this interest it is harder and harder to find the early publications on his paintings and etchings. There are some by Nouvelles Images, but the most important ones come from the pubvlications series of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Publications in which original etchings were bound and therefore are highly collectable ( and expensive) publications. www.ftn-books.com has a nice selection of classic and collectable Lucebert publications.

for more information on Lucebert visit http://lucebertstichting.nl