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

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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.

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Mathias Fels (1922-2009)… galeriste extraordinaire

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One of the great gallery owners of our town was Mathias Fels. Her started the gallery in 1955 and the gallery has since become one of the leading galleries in the world. With the death of Mathias Fels the gallery stopped, but until that date they organized some very important exhibitions and with these exhibitions catalogues were published using special designs, papers and in many cases special covers . The covers in some cases being original lithographs. As one of the leading art scene figures, Fels has become an icon for many gallery owners and together with gallery Denise Rene in Paris he always had a keen eye to present new modern artists in his gallery.

www.ftn-books.com has some beautiful and important Fels publications available.

corneille fels a

You can find an excellent interview( in french)  with Fels at:

http://www.visuelimage.com/ch/fels/

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Constant (1920-2005)

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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

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Asger Jorn ( 1914-1973)

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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.

 

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Corneille….A Cobra artist

First of all i do not very much like the works by Corneille, but of course there are always exceptions. I recognize Corneille as one of the great Cobra artist. Together with Appel and Constant these artists brought life into the (dutch) art world in the early days of the Cobra mouvement. But Corneille was one of the first to move away from Cobra and find his own path, paved with colorful women , birds, cats and landscapes. A kind of art he could sell to as many people as possible. He did find a way to make his art available to a larger public and earn through his art a living, not depending any longer on the stray collector who wanted his work for his collection. A brilliant business plan for mediocre art. Producing many lithographs in large editions and joining commercial companies to sell his art together with their products …..it could have been invented by a marketeer and it made Corneille art available for everybody and the person Corneille wealthy. This is the reason you can find ties, pens, vases and scarves all decorated with horrible scenes invented by Corneille, but……………

There is also a different kind of artist. The young Corneille. A searching artist who makes abstract paintings and lithographs….colorful, original and in many cases rare beauties in abstract art.

This kind of art can be found as a cover on a catalogue which i recently acquired for www.ftn-books.com

The cover is an original lithograph. The edition of this Galerie Mathias Fels catalogue from 1962 is only 800 copies of which not many will have survived. The condition of this catalogue with original lithograph is excellent and more important this is the true CORNEILLE, an artist in search of a personal style, which he found in this excellent Cobra composition from 1962.

 

wilfried