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Benno Wissing (1923-2008)

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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.

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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.

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Wim Crouwel and Willem Sandberg publications found.

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I am always on the look out and searching for the best catalogues that are published by rhe Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. The best catalogues were published in the 50’s and 60’s and designed by Willem Sandberg and Wim Crouwel and i am proud to say that i have managed to colelct a wonderful collection of their catalogues and possibly one of the largest collections available on the internet. Many of thier publications are sold and collected all over the world and because of that i sell these catalogues to many collectors. The 3 titles i present in this blog weere sold out during the last 6 months, but….. i was lucky to find these with a colleague and now i have them again in my inventory. Just search for them at www.ftn-books.com .

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They are expensive catalogues , but take my word these will become impossible to find in a few years and when they come on the market they will be even more expensive. The power of these titles is that they are more like works of art. The Arp (1960) has woodcut printing on the outside and inside and the Soto cover is a kinetic object because of the thread on the outside (1969). The Steinberg….yes one of the first publications with fold out pages (1953).

3 maal incl arp b

 

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van Gogh drawing discovered…big news?

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Yesterday it was announded and confirmed that a newly discovered van Gogh drawing from the Fentener van Vlissingen collection is an authentic van Gogh. In such a case i really wonder if the drawing is considered important because as the vanGogh museum says …it is a missing link…or is it beautiful and valuable. Valuable it certainly is now with its authentication, but beautiful?   i do not think so…. it is a study and beside the depicted windmills i do not find it appealing at all. For instance compare the studies of Jongkind, his contemporary artist which all shine in these little formats.  A new van Gogh discovered is nice, but the way it now is presented as one of the art discoveries of this decade is undeserved. Here is the article from the van Gogh Museum on this sketch and for really great books on Van Gogh please visit www.ftn-books.com

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AMSTERDAM — The Van Gogh Museum here on Tuesday announced the discovery of a previously unknown drawing by Vincent van Gogh, which the museum said was completed about a month after the Dutch post-Impressionist artist arrived in Paris in 1886. The museum’s researchers studied the style and history of “The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry,” dated March 1886, and found documents they said confirm that it is a lost van Gogh.

“It’s a big day today,” said Teio Meedendorp, a senior researcher at the Van Gogh Museum who studied the subject, style, technique, materials and provenance of the drawing, and found the relevant documentary evidence to support the attribution.

The museum owns the largest collection of van Gogh’s works anywhere in the world, including more than half of the artist’s drawn oeuvre — approximately 500 drawings as well as his sketchbooks.

“It’s a nice robust drawing by Vincent and he captured the hill of Montmartre very well,” Mr. Meedendorp said.

Mr. Meedendorp said that the drawing is particularly interesting because it is more in keeping with van Gogh’s earlier style than his later work when he lived in Paris. He added that the drawing shows that van Gogh’s work evolved during his crucial years in the French capital from a formal style that he learned at the art academy in Antwerp just before arriving in Paris, and became increasingly experimental.

“It’s a kind of stylistic missing link between his Belgium and Paris time,” said Fred Leeman, an independent van Gogh expert and curator of exhibitions by the artist, who is a consultant to the Van Vlissingen Foundation, which currently owns the drawing.

The last time a new van Gogh drawing was discovered was in 2012. A year later, a new van Gogh painting, “Sunset at Montmajour” (1888), was also found. But these findings are relatively rare. Since the publication of the complete catalog of van Gogh’s works in 1970, another nine drawings and seven paintings have been added, Mr. Meedendorp said.

When it came to the Van Gogh Museum for research in 2012, the drawing was owned by an American private collector whose Dutch relatives had purchased the work from a gallery in the Netherlands in 1917, Mr. Meedendorp explained. But the museum did not publicize the finding at the time, at the request of the previous owner.

Aside from Mr. Leeman, no other experts outside the museum have yet seen the drawing.

Research by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the world’s leading expertise center on the artist, found that “The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry” came into the hands of van Gogh’s sister-in-law, Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, a meticulous keeper of van Gogh’s materials, who numbered it “123” in her inventory.

Mr. Meedendorf said that when he took the drawing out of its frame, he found the telltale number, “123,” written on the back.  

The discovery of “The Hill of Montmartre with Stone Quarry” led the Van Gogh Museum to reconsider another drawing that it had in its collection, which had been part of the original donation from the van Gogh family heirs. That drawing, titled “The Hill of Montmartre,” also completed in 1886, is drawn from a very similar perspective of the Parisian hilltop.

This drawing was originally thought to be by van Gogh, but in 2001, it was questioned because it was so dissimilar to work from his Paris period, and then discredited.

“Now that you have a set of two, it’s clear that it was a style he maintained during the first part of his time in Paris,” said Mr. Leeman.

By comparing these two drawings side-by-side, researchers realized that the works were incredibly similar, and both were attributed to van Gogh.

“It’s the same materials, the same paper, it’s quite clear that these were both done by the same hand at almost the same time,” said Mr. Meedendorp.

“One thing led to another,” he added. “If this was a van Gogh drawing then the other one had to be one as well.”

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Barnett Newman (1905-1970)

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Possibly, the Stedelijk Museum had the most important Barnett Newman painting in their collection until……Who’s afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III was destroyed by a mentally unstable artist . The painting was cut several times, over almost its total length of 5 meters with a Stanley knife. Destroying the painting completely.

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There was an attempt to restore the painting by Goldreyer, but the result was just an overpainted painting without any nuances in the monochrome colors. This restoration resulted in a lawsuit in which there had to be decided who was responsible. Goldreyer claimed 250 million with the Amsterdam Municipality. The result Goldreyer had to be compensated and the Stedelijk Museum “lost” its beautiful iconic colourfield painting because of the bad restoration. The last few years the painting Who’s afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III is on and off on show again in the Stedelijk, but unfortunately the restoration has devalued it tremendously in a financial and artistic way. www.ftn-books.com has the Stedelijk Museum catalogue ( a.o. Newman titles ) for the Barnett Newman exhibition for sale.

There is an article on Newman and its destruction in the Stedelijk by the New York times over here:

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Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm (1953-1968)

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Only 15 years the Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm was active and it was one of the first institutions in the world where you could fhave an education and follow lectures in design. After the Bauhaus it was the leading centre in the world on design and responsible for many great “timeless” designs of which the Lufthansa corporate design is probably the most best known.

The importance of this educational centre which was co founded by Max Bill and had ao. Johannes Itten ( see blog from a few days ago) as a teacher was recognized by Willem Sandberg who organized an exhibition in 1965 on the “Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm” and the catalogue which appeared together with this exhibition has become one of the rarest and most collectable Stedelijk Museum catalogues ever. Wim Crouwel designed this catalogue. Oblong format, grey cover, very nice typography ….the catalogue has become a statement for good and simple design, readability and beauty. The designs within the catalogues are beautiful, but the catalogue itself is arguably even better.

This catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

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There is a great timeline to discover the Hochschule at :

http://www.hfg-archiv.ulm.de/english/the_hfg_ulm/timeline.html

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Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997)

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Arguably the most iconic Pop Art artist was Roy Lichtenstein. I know for certain that Andy Warhol is a much more household and famous name. But when you ask me , which artist i associate with Pop Art , …..it is definitely Roy Lichtenstein. I love comics and because of that, Lichtenstein was one of the first modern artists i began to follow and appreciate. His works with enlarged comic frames won me over for him and it happened that these frames , enlarged to an immense sized canvas, became the works for which Lichtenstein would become famous. There is one multi panelled work  “As I opened Fire”  which is in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum which i now must have seen dozens of times and it never stops impressing me.

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Lichtenstein name is now one of the great names in Modern Art, but this has not always been the case. It took some years to become one of the greats , because Warhol was in the centre of the modern art world and Lichtenstein just a mere satellite. For me however, Lichtenstein is the artist that never disappoints and is the best Pop Art artist….period.

There are some greate Roy Lichtenstein publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Ed Ruscha (1937)

 

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Influenced by Marcel Duchamp, Jasper Johns and H.C. Westermann, Ruscha developed an art form for himself.  Ruscha achieved recognition for paintings incorporating words and phrases and for his many photographic books, all influenced by the deadpan irreverence of the Pop Art movement. His textual, flat paintings have been linked with both the Pop Art movement and the beat generation, but for me Edward Ruscha is foremost a Pop Art artist. Possibly this is because one of my favorite Stedelijk Museum catalogues from the Seventies is this 1976 Ruscha catalogue which was designed by Wim Crouwel and filled with typical Pop Art related Ruscha paintings.

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Text and image blend into each other , catching your attention with a word or a phrase. Ruscha stayed true to this kind of painting and has since become one of the great names in the world of art. Checking my inventory i found that i have many interesting publications available at www.ftn-books.com. An excellent opportunity to find out why Ruscha is important in the world of contemporary art.

Here is an interesting video on Ed Ruscha by the Tate

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Cuban posters / Wim Crouwel 1971

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It is 1959 and the end of the Cuban Revolution is celebrated in the town of Havana. Since the beginning of the revolution many posters pro and contra have been published in Cuba and many of them have were great examples of political propaganda. These posters were recognized by the curators of the Stedelijk Museum as being important enough to present them in a special exhibition on Cuban posters. Wim Crouwel was asked to design the catalogue with this exhibition 1971, only 12 years after the end of the revolution .

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Because of the power of these posters he decided to use one of the most iconic on the cover. Simplicity all the way. Just the power of the South America shaped fist with simple typography made this one of my favorite catalogues in the seventies of the Stedelijk Museum. Of course it is available at www.ftn-books.com together with many other Stedelijk Museum / Crouwel designed catalogues

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Robert Capa (1913-1954)… a war photographer

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Only 41 years of age , but with an iconic oeuvre he left us.. Some examples of photographs we all have encountered for more than once in your lives. Foremost Capa was a war photographer and left us some iconic photographs. but when you study the Magmum site   (https://pro.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&ERID=24KL535353 ) you discover that beside his war photographs there are some tremendous other photographs to be found within the Magnum archives, but that his most important subject was WAR in all its aspects and cruelties. A true journalist photographer who showed us the cruelties of war . No polished photographs but a raw image of the reality.

 

What i stumbled upon when searching for material on Capa is that he had an affair with the famous Ingrid bergman. In 1945 after the fall of Nazi Germany, Capa was staying at the Hotel Ritz on Place Vendôme where he met Hollywood actress, Ingrid Bergman. Bergman was traveling around Europe to see the devastation caused by the war, and entertaining the troops. When they met, Bergman was still married to Petter Lindström who she had a baby with. Capa asked Bergman for dinner, and soon after they started to have an affair. In 1946, Bergman asked Capa to come to Hollywood with her, and he did. While Capa was in Hollywood, he visited her at a studio where she was filming, Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Notorious’. Capa had shot some still photos for the film which he was given no credit for when they were published Hitchcock later made a film with James Stewart and Grace Kelly in 1954, called ‘Rear Window’, loosely based on Capa and Bergman. Bergman wanted to marry Capa and also tried to convince him to quit his job to work in Hollywood. Capa knew that he wouldn’t fit in, and told Bergman that he can’t have a wife and kids because of his duties of work. Their affair ended when Capa left Hollywood for an assignment in Turkey.

There is a great Capa and Magnum publication available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Jean Brusselmans (1884-1953)

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Art Historians have a hard time with Jean Brusselmans. Among them they can not decided wether he is a Fauvist, a Realist or an Impressionist. When you look at his work the first thing that comes in mind is that color and touche are Impressionistic, but look closer and you can distinguish bright Fauve colors which makes the composition a Fauvistic painting.

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Perhaps it is best to see that his work is original and that you can recognize it as Jean Brusselmans. Forget the art historians and their division into Art Mouvements. Just look at his work and see that it is Jean Brusselmans.

3 catalogues are available on Brusselmans at www.ftn-books.com of which two are designed by Wim Crouwel

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the other Robert Muller at the Stedelijk Museum

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Because of the Robert Mueller that is in the new at these days ai was reminded of the Robert Muller who made some wonderful drawings and sculptures in the sixies and presented those in an exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in 1968 ( Crouwel designed catalogue).muller tek a

Try to find some information on Robert Muller at these days and it is almost impossible to find anything except for the books i placed on the internet for sale at www.ftn-books.com. Perhaps Muller is almost forgotten or the other FBI ROBERT MUELLER pushes all information away, but not deservedly. This Robert Muller i admire has made some of the nicest most impressive little sculptures i know of in the sixties and is a typical sixties artist and deserves a place among the best sixties artists.

 

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Jackson Pollock ( 1912-1956 )…the ultimate abstract expressionist.

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It was 1977. …..the first time i visited the US and went to New York together with my father we visited the museum of Modern Art. In which i saw for the very first time a large Jackson Pollock drip painting. It was an amazing experience and i remember standing in that room …in awe and amazement of such a large , beautiful, impressive, overwhelming abstract painting. The size of it, the spontaneous dripping and the extreme detail when you went close up to it, opened a door to abstract Modern Art for me. Since i have seen many Pollock paintings, but none was so perfect as the very first one i encountered in the Moma. the ONE, number 31, 1950 painting

There are some nice action movies with Pollock painting to be found on Youtube and this is possibly the one that shows best the creating of a Pollock painting.

and i am proud to have both Pollock catalogues that were produced for the Pollock exhibitions in the Stedelijk Museum at www.ftn-books.