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Bernard WILLEM Holtrop (1941)

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When i compare artist with each other  , the artist that comes to mind is  Pettibon. I think the best way to compare WILLEM is by comparing his drawings with the ones made by Raymond Pettibon.Prins Bernhard comic by Willempettibon brush a

Put them next too eachother and you see a resemblance in the directness and of course the use of black and white within them. But WILLEM is not only known for his Black / white drawings , but also for his political drawings and … some great illustrations. Among them… the illustrations he had done for FROM A -> Z by Rebecca Rass, published by Thomas Rapp in 1969 and available at www.ftn-books.com

rass

Here is a part of the biography on WILLEM published by the Lambiek gallery:

Born and bred in de Veluwe, one of the most conservative regions of Holland, Willem has become one of the world’s most unpredictable and sardonic cartoonists. While studying Fine Arts between 1962 and 1967, it all started with some early comix and cartoons for magazines like De Legerkoerier (The Army Courier), and with Willem’s contributions to the legendary student magazine Propria Cures. There, he got in touch with Roel van Duyn, the editor of the paper for the hippie movement Provo.

Since Provo at that time didn’t have an illustrator, Willem started working for them right away. In 1966 he caused quite a stir by portraying the Dutch queen Juliana as a prostitute in one of his cartoons for the Provo publication God, Nederland & Oranje. What followed was a persecution for lese majesty and a fine of 200 guilders. Following the demise of the Provo movement, his work appeared in De Nieuwe Linie in 1967. He moved to Paris, France in the following year, where his first cartooning work were contributions to L’Enragé during the May 1968 student strikes in Paris.

He subsequently became a regular contributor to Hara Kiri as well as its follow-up Charlie Hebdo. Willem’s beloved themes such as fat women, biological warfare, crabs, small children and police violence were all represented in the many political cartoons, illustrations, puzzles, comix and texts for the magazine. He also served as a promotor of Dutch comic abroad with his own publication Surprise. He was eventually editor-in-chief of Charlie Mensuel. He also appeared in Benoît Lamy’s documentary ‘Cartoon Circus’ (1972), a Belgian documentary about cartoons and comics,  in which he was interviewed alongside SinéPichaRoland ToporCabuJean-Marc Reiser, François Cavanna, Professeur Choron, GalGeorges Wolinski, Joke and Jules Feiffer.

Ever since the late seventies, Willem has been contributing controversial daily cartoons to the French left-wing daily Libération. All through these years his output has been prolific, resulting in a veritable mountain of book publications, which are almost without exception hard to find. Luckily, in 1998, the editor Jean-Pierre Faur published the anthology ‘Deadlines’, a beautiful overview of the works of one of the most internationally renowned Dutch graphic artists.

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JESS Collins ( 1923-2004 )

I became interested in this artist because i recently i acquired one of Jess his first publications, which is available at www.ftn-books.com An artist on the cross roads of  Modern Art, collage and comics

For more information on the artist you must visit jesscollins.org where i found the following text:

JESS was born in 1923 in Long Beach, California, the younger son of a civil engineer and a homemaker. Originally named Burgess Franklin Collins, he later broke with his family and changed his name to “Jess.” In childhood, Jess read the L. Frank Baum Oz books, Poe and Proust; listened to the music of Beethoven, Mahler, Sibelius and Brahms; and made scrapbooks with a great-aunt, which he credited as one origin of his later collage work.

In 1942, Jess began studying chemistry at the California Institute of Technology but was drafted into the Army Corps of Engineers in 1943. In a very junior role, he worked until 1946 at the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on the production of plutonium for the atomic bomb. Following the war, he completed his degree at Cal Tech with honors in radiochemistry and went to work at the Hanford Atomic Energy Project in Washington.

During his time at Hanford, Jess began to study painting in adult education classes, while at the same time growing concerned about the nature of his participation in atomic energy work: “I was involved with nuclear energy, the direction it was going seemed questionable, nightmarish in many ways.” In 1948, he was visited by a terrifying dream that foretold the destruction of the world in 1975. Within months, he had left his job, decided to pursue art full-time, moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and found his way first to the University of California at Berkeley and soon to the California School of Fine Arts, now the San Francisco Art Institute.

At CSFA, he studied with Elmer Bischoff, Edward Corbett, David Park, Hassel Smith and Clyfford Still. Taking inspiration from Clifford Still’s aesthetic breadth and tolerance, Jess explored both abstraction and figuration, learning from Still “a poetics of materials.” As he said later to Michael Auping, “I personally didn’t see any reason to make a dichotomy between abstraction and representation… It was all paint.” His interest lay in the redemptive powers of imagination and myth, which he regarded as one with the materials: “I don’t see that much difference between the spiritual and the material. All matter is energy, and all matter and energy are infused with spirit.”

Jess & Robert Duncan Biography

When Jess met poet Robert Duncan in 1950, they soon discovered their shared love of Baum’s Oz books and James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, and the future of their lifelong romantic relationship, domestic household, and artistic collaboration was established. The 2013-14 exhibition and catalogue, An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan and their Circle, documented the brilliant artistic fecundity of their bond and its importance to San Francisco artistic and literary communities. Their idea of the “household,” a place of domestic love but also of spirited, generative collaboration, became central to the development of their art and poetry.

Throughout the fifties, Jess experimented with technique in still lifes, portraits, and landscapes, paintings that shimmer with narrative potential. Jess described some of these works as “mythic landscapes, in the sense that a certain abstract chaos is slowly coming to order. All of the creation myths depict some kind of chaos transforming into order or image. I sometimes thought of these early landscapes as vaguely analogous to a creation myth.”

Inspired in part by a gift from Duncan of Max Ernst’s surrealist collage book Une semaine de bonté  (1934), Jess also began making collages, or in his term, “paste-ups,” in the early fifties, combining text and image fragments of engravings, photographs, comic strips, and jigsaw puzzle pieces. These works, becoming ever more complex over time until they were comprised of hundreds or even thousands of distinct elements, led critic Jed Perl to compare Jess and Joseph Cornell as “….American originals, highly sophisticated artists who weren’t afraid to be seen as outliers or cranks.”

The thirty-two works in Jess’s important Translation series, begun in 1959, are painted, enlarged reproductions of found images including photographs, children’s book illustrations, post cards, pages from old Scientific American magazines, Krazy Kat cartoons, and illustrations of art, science and math subjects. Every image is combined, either within the painted surface or on the backs of the canvases, with literary texts from a wide variety of sources including Wordsworth, Blake, Gertrude Stein, Plato, Aztec and Mayan poems, scientific texts, Kandinsky, Gaelic songs and Edward Lear.

Jess biography

Thickly painted, the surfaces are highly textured, sometimes rough, and occasionally billowing. Describing the colors, Jess explained, “I want to get the level of light that was in the original. My colors are absolutely imaginary, not realistic. At my best, I want to pay homage to the original and a completely imaginary complex of color that is my translation of that original.” Of the Translations, Michael Auping has said, “The mysterious irony of the ‘Translations’ is that they are highly reverent copies that are, in themselves, entirely original, which of course brings into question whether or not they are copies at all. The ‘Translations’ are not secondary to the ‘originals’ but are, in Jess’s words, ‘spiritually coexistent’ with them.”

For his later Salvages series, instead of copying, or “translating” a painting onto a canvas from a found object, Jess painted, or repainted, directly over his own earlier discarded canvases or paintings found in thrift shops. Leaving the thinner surface of the original painting bare in places, he built up a thicker layer of paint around fragments of the original images, adding texture and new images, encouraging unexpected meaning to develop. Like the Paste-Ups and Translations, the Salvages derive from images and texts found and saved, and add new beauty and mystery as the found materials are reinterpreted, expanding allegorical dimension in the process.

Jess on a beach near Pigeon Point biography

Narkissos, Jess’s most ambitious project, was begun in 1959 as a pencil drawing for a painting to be based on the myth of Narcissus but gradually evolved into a large scale mixed media work. It combines a monumental graphite rendering of the figure of Narcissus with pasted-up fragments of Jess’s own hand-drawn images as well as found sources of the Narcissus myth and its many iterations in literature, art and popular culture. The magnificent “unfinished” work is now in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Although it has often been written that Jess was a recluse who rarely left the house, in fact, though he did avoid crowds and large social gatherings, he was a domestic flaneur, a householder walking the streets of San Francisco to buy groceries, visit the post office, drop in on friends, lunch in his favorite Mission District eateries, and most importantly, to scavenge his way through the multitude of thrift and used book stores liberally sprinkled throughout the city in search of the materials that formed the foundation of nearly all his artwork. As he told Michael Auping when asked about the title of his Salvages painting series, “I’m always out shopping….Really all my work – Paste-Ups, Assemblies, Translations – comes from salvaging. I salvage loved images that for some reason have been discarded and I come across them…….I put forward a new layer of sentiment that, combined with the old, may hopefully allow the image to have a new life or at least a half-life.”

Jess 1994 biography

Aside from a period of travel with Duncan in the mid-fifties to Europe and Black Mountain College, Jess lived and worked in San Francisco for the remainder of his life. His large, Victorian home with Robert Duncan in the Mission District became a treasure house of art and literature, a household filled with artworks by Jess and their many friends, Robert Duncan’s vast library, their recorded music collection, and the many beautiful, rare and often slightly chipped or worn domestic objects salvaged from thrift shops with which they entertained their large but intimate circle of friends. In this home these two men, both passionately engaged with the world, created a world of imagination.

Jess’s first solo show was in 1950 at the Helvie Makela Gallery in San Francisco, soon followed by a show at the King Ubu Gallery, a small but important venue for alternative art founded in 1952 by Jess, Duncan and their close friend Harry Jacobus. Gradually Jess’s work became widely known through solo and group exhibitions in prestigious galleries and museums throughout the country. Works by Jess are now included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Musuem, The Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and numerous other major museums. Attention to his work continues to grow, most recently as a result of the touring exhibit, “An Opening of the Field: Jess, Robert Duncan, and Their Circle.” Acknowledging the mark of a painter whose work was nourished by a community of affection, art critic Peter Frank wrote, “He sought approval of his friends – as well he should, given their own poetic standards – but not of the art world; even so, his art paralleled and even anticipated so much of his time’s art.”

paste ups

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Peter Pontiac (1951-2015)….Infanticide

 

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This is the farewell exhibition of the Groninger Stripmuseum . It stops after this appealing exhibition in which comic artist show that beside their talents as comic artists they are in many cases also serious and very accomplished painters. Here is the painting that struck me most. It is INFANTICIDE by the late Peter Pontiac.

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I am an admirer of Peter Pontiac for a long time now and this painting shows in an excellent way that there is more to his art than his stand alone comics. www.ftn-books.com has some nice Peter Pontiac items and limited editions available.

 

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Robert Olaf Stoof (1945-1999)…and Real Free Press.

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Why this blog on a publisher? It is just plain simple…. Stoof is one of the most influential European publishers who paved the way for the alternative comic scene of which for instance , Joost Swarte, was one.

Robert Olaf Stoop was born in Amsterdam and grew up with his grandmother in Indonesia. He grew up to be a full-blooded anarchist, putting provocational pamphlets in the newspapers of non-suspecting travellers when he was working at the AKO in Schiphol Airport. He made posters for Provo magazine, and got involved with comics during the 1960s. In 1966, he self-published his comic ‘De Lotgevallen van Roza’, which can be considered the first European underground comic.

stoop real e

He founded publishing house The Real Free Press in Amsterdam, “the lost connection for solid facts” which imported American underground comics and reprinted the work of long-forgotten geniuses such as George Herriman, Winsor McCay, Gustave Verbeck and George McManus. Stoop also published magazine De Real Free Press Illustratie, which featured many old and new comic artists, and ran from 1968 until 1974.

Olaf Stoop was one of the first to recognize the talent of Joost Swarte, and published his work in several forms, such as ‘De Papalagi’, which became famous world-wide, and Swarte’s first comic, ‘Modern Art’ (1980).

Stoop can be considered the founder of the Dutch alternative comics scene. An intriguing personality, he lived his whole life as an anarchist and a free mind. He died of a heart attack at the age of 52.

www.ftn-books.com has found of the Real Free Press papers with works by a.o Robert Crumb and has them for sale .

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(Reinier) Lucassen (1939)

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Possibly the best known member of the NEW FIGURATION mouvement in the Netherlands is Lucassen. If i must describe his art, it is a mix between geometric colorfield and daily household objects like screens, plants and kitchenware, add some comics into it , stirr it and you have an early Lucassen painting .

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Later he developed this style into a very authentic and recognizable personal style. Making abstract compositions with shapes, numbers and letters. These paintings are intuitive compositions combining , more or less at random elements from his direct surroundings, but these can not be recognized as such. The compositions, titles, execution are like small poems executed on canvas.

www.ftn-books.com, has a large selection of Lucassen titles including the catalogues he made for his galerie Espace exhibitions.

 

 

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Raymond Pettibon…. Brush Life (2002)

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In 2002 Raymond Pettibon made the opening exhibition for the GEM museum. The exhibition was curated by Roel Arkesteijn. Pettibon worked day and night to include over 600 drawings and designs, but he finished in time to make it a memorable exhibition. After the opening he had time to make and finish 3 comic books, which were printed ( copied ) and stapled “in house” by Chantal Sieuw. These 3 titles are since their publication date highly sought after and collectable Pettibon books , because the edition was only 100 copies for each title these are rare editions to any art collection.

The edition is numbered xx/100

The Brush Life blog is the third and final in the series on Pettibon’s GEM publications and because of its autobiographical character it is by far the most important one and has become rare and expensive. For more information please contact me . POA.

Artist / Author : Raymond Pettibon

Title : Brush Life

publisher : GEM, 2002

Number of pages : 28

Text language : English

Measurements: 8.7 x 5.6 inches

Condition: MINT

Highly recommended and collectable publication published on the occasion of the 2002 Pettibon opening exhibition of the GEM museum. Edition of only 100 copies. all numbered in red ink.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Raymond Pettibon…First Person Show

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In 2002 Raymond Pettibon made the opening exhibition for the GEM museum. The exhibition was curated by Roel Arkesteijn. Pettibon worked day and night to include over 600 drawings and designs, but he finished in time to make it a memorable exhibition. After the opening he had time to make and finish 3 comic books, which were printed ( copied ) and stapled in house by Chantal Sieuw. These 3 titles are since their publication highly collectable Pettibon books , because the edition was only 100 copies for each title.

The edition is numbered xx/100

The First Person show is the second Pettibon  title to be discussed in this blog.

Artist / Author : Raymond Pettibon

Title : First Person Show

publisher : GEM, 2002

Number of pages : 28

Text language : English

Measurements: 8.7 x 5.6 inches

Condition: MINT

Highly recommended and collectable publication published on the occasion of the 2002 Pettibon opening exhibition of the GEM museum. Edition of only 100 copies. all numbered in red ink.

www.ftn-boooks.com is the only internet store that offeres this rare Pettibon publication

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Rhythm by Peter Pontiac and Ray Ahn

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Because i have a lifetime admiration for Peter Pontiac i always have carried a large inventory on the artist, but what i neglected to buy for my collection is the “Rhythm” book by Peter Pontiac which has a great part of his comics in one publication. Because of an order by an Australian customer i found one with a colleague and i must say i am very impressed with this publication. It shows in over 400 pages exactly what makes his work stand out from others from his generation. Bold, controversial and in many cases it shows the raw world the main character lives in. Beside the stories this book is beautifully published and does grace to the stories by Pontiac. I told my customer that i had found the book for his collection and beside the fact that he was delighted he pointed out an Australian publication on Ray Ahn / THE ART OF RAY AHN which is still available in a limited edition of only 200 copies at www.starmanbooks.com  for Australian Dollar 375,–

You can view an unboxing video over here:

https://www.facebook.com/starmanbooks/?fref=ts

Of course other Pontiac publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Fernand Leger (1881-1955)

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I am still in doubt for myself if i must consider Leger as one of the great artists from last century…or does he uses a ‘Trick” to compose and impress with his paintings. If one sees an extremely large sized work …it is almost in every case impressive, but as soon as it is a smaller one, the attraction is gone. I will show this with to examples. The first painting is roughly 3 x 4 meters and in the collection of the Fondation Maeght. The send is Trois Camarades in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. The first has typical figures by Leger with an abstract pattern painred over them….. a beautiful and impressive Leger. The second one, is for me far less appealing and a “flat” painting.

Make up your mind yourself on Leger , but know that there are some excellent publications available at www.ftn-books.com including a famous Sandberg designed catalogue