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Wim Crouwel and the van Abbemuseum

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Before Wim Crouwel became the main designer for all publications published by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in in the 60’s, 70’s and early Eighties (TD). There was a short 4 years that he made some beautiful publications for the van Abbemuseum Eindhoven. In these you can recognize the early Wim Crouwel. Size, use of multiple ( colored) papers, typography and layout are all typical for the early Wim Crouwel. www.ftn-books.com is fortunate to have a nice selection of these early WimCrouwel designed publications. Pictures tell a better story than words can . In this case , this certainly true. So here are some nice van Abbemuseum publications by Wim Crouwel.

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Pop Art exhibitions in the Low Countries.

According to my information the first large scale Pop Art exhibitions in the Netherlands took place in 1964. With it was the famous Wim Crouwel designed catalogue published with the upper right corner  “folded”.

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A spectacular cover and an example for many other designers to follow this and being inspired by this cover for the years to come. Since, other exhibition  followed of which many publications are available at www.ftn-books.com. One other has certainly to be mentioned because it followed in the year after the Stedelijk Museum exhibition took place. In this case POP ART was combined with the French/Belgium wave which followed in the steps of Pop Art, Le NOUVEAU REALISME.

 

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This way the United States Pop Art mouvement was combined with the European Pop Art artist like Martial Raysse.

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Since other Pop Art exhibitions took place all over Europe, but the Netherlands  and Belgium stayed interested in this fascinating art. I remember recent exhibitions in Schiedam, Nijmegen, Kunsthal Rotterdam, Brussels and the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag all being successful, making Pop Art an established art form…Pop Art is here to stay.

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A very special Wim Couwel publication for the H.N. Werkman 1964 exhibition

Some combinations are hard to beat and this one is surely a classic. Wim Crouwel was not yet promoted to the position of designer of the catalogues of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and had just left the van Abbemuseum with his designs. In the in between period he did some free lance works and one of these was the catalogue he designed for the H.N.Werkman exhibition of 1964 in the Groninger Museum and this catalogue became the standard for all his future designs. He chose a slim sized catalogue, but within the book he used some of the papers which he had used in the van Abbemuseum catalogues and would use again for the Stedelijk Museum catalogues. Making it simple but still complex.

On the cover a bold and typical Werkman print which emphasized the graphic quality of the catalogue. The back…. a typical red with clear black and white lettering. This is in my opinion one of the very best graphic designs ever made in the Netherlands and i am proud to still have a copy for sale of this beautiful and splendid Wim Crouwel catalogue.

For this catalogue please visit www.ftn-books.com

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Ferdi ( Ferdina Jansen 1927-1969)

Ferdi was the wife of dutch Pop Art painter and sculptor Shinkichi Tajiri and was married to him until her tragic death in 1969. If i look at her work now, the first other artist i think about is Niki de Saint Phalle. I really do not know if they have known each other but it is possible when you look at the time frame, they possibly knew and inspired each other. Ferdi, educated by Ossip Zadkine, used large pieces of cloth and textiles to assemble her figures female form inspired figures for which she has become very well known in the Netherlands. Recently, I think it was 2012 , the Rijksmuseum acquired WOMB TOMB with the help of the heirs of her estate

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Her husband Shinkichi Tajiri is nowadays a recognized and settled name and specially known for his large Pop Art sculptures. Ferdi is far less known. Her works appear sometimes at auction but that is it for this moment. It is time that some dutch museum shows new interest in her because her works fascinate and deserve to be known abroad too. The stedelijk Museum published a very nice catalogue with her works which was designed by Wim Crouwel and some 15 years ago another important book was published in which her works were shown together with toise from her husband. Both are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Wim Crouwel….SM Gedrukt in Japan / 1967

Wim Crouwel is a regular name appearing in my blog. This is not only because i have many titles available at www.ftn-books.com, but mainly because i consider Wim Crouwel the most important graphic designer from last century. There are some that are important too and i think of Gerstner and Sandberg, but Wim Crouwel is in my opnion the absolute best. Wim Crouwel made some 200+ designs between 1960 and 1980 for the Stedelijk Museum, Among them posters, catalogues an folders and many have become iconic for graphic design in the Sixties. There was of course the VORMGEVERS catalogue which is in high demand and extremely hard to find, but the one i would like to discuss now is the GEDRUKT IN JAPAN catalogue, which has become rare and expensive too. It is of great graphici quality and although it is only 20 pages, for me it is the summit in design from the sixties. A simple but highly effective lay out. The use of Magenta on the front . The SM logo and underneath a very very fine line with below it one of the logo’s for the Osaka Art Festival . Published in 1967 with no. 407……it is perfection on the 20 pages.

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Aart Klein (1909-2001) …typically dutch?

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No definitely not!….Klein is of the most important dutch photographers from the last century and recorded daily life in the Netherlands , but that does not mean that his photographs are typically dutch. Their subject is in many cases dutch, but their appeal is more international than one would imagine. I have sold Klein publications all over the world , including some to Japan. Aart Klein is for me one of the greats from the last century . His black and white photography has a graphic quality, which is rarely seen among his contemporaries.

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The Stedelijk Museum devoted a special exhibition to his photographs, but beside this special show he contributed to many other exhibitions with his quality photographs. Aart Klein publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Jackson Pollock and the Stedelijk Museum.

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Willem Sandberg was the fan and admirer who initiated the first presentations of Jackson Pollock in Europe. The Stedelijk Museum presented on several occasions his art and during these exhibitions made acquisitions resulting in some of the most iconic and important paintings in their collection. Among them is REFLECTIONS OF THE BIG DIPPER from 1947.

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Reflection of the Big Dipper consists of built up layers of paint with dripped enamel as the final touch, concluding the composition. It was around 1947 that Jackson Pollock traded in his brushes for sticks, trowels and knives and began adding foreign matter, such as sand, broken glass, nails, coins, paint-tube tops and bottle caps to his canvases. From this point on, Pollock’s application of paint became his main theme, which he tried to radicalize. With the body of work he thus created, Pollock found a unique position within the concurrent Abstract-Expressionist movement. Reflection of the Big Dipper was exhibited at the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1948, along with sixteen other paintings by Jackson Pollock. The show received positive reviews. Pollock’s works from this time are a transitional step between a more traditional handling of paint and his revolutionary technique of dripping paint on canvases off a large scale.

www.ftn-books.com has a nice selection of Stedelijk Museum  publications on Jackson Pollock available.

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Wim Crouwel and the Stuyvesant Foundation, 1971

1971 is the year the Stuyvesant Stichting existed 10 years and invited Wim Crouwel for their yearly publication. They had done so on other occasions and Crouwel was their preferred designer. The design in 1971, silver fond, blind printing on the cover and a small font above the middle line.

What strikes me is that in its simplicity and looking much alike the Zero exhibition catalogues form the late Sixties he had done for the Stedelijk Museum. Crouwel found a way to make it special and typically a Wim Crouwel design. The size is familiar. the lay out of the pages too, but the cover is different. He uses a small font for the STUYVESANT STICHTING in a very delicate light blue color on a silver printed fond. This was not the easiest of prints jobs , because beside the silver fond a blind printed title in the cover had to be made. The printer Lecturis did a perfect job with this exclusive publication. It has taken me 15 years to finally find a copy of this highly collectable Wim Crouwel designed book, but now it is for sale at www.ftn-books.com. I now hope it will not take me another 15 years to find the next copy.


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Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000)

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The first time i encountered Hundertwasser his work was in an exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the first thought was…..he copies Klimt!

At that time i did not not know much about him, but when you read more and see more of his works you begin to realize that Hundertwasser is as original as Klimt was.

The difference is some 70 years between these 2 artists, but the background, influences and education are all well rooted in the city of Vienna from the beginning of the 20th century. This explains the similarities which one can find in many cases between the works by Klimt and Hundertwasser.

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If ever you visit Wien , the Hundertwasser Haus is an absolute must. There are so many aspects about the house and its architecture , that it is impossible to describe it in this blog. However there is a great article on the architecture on the house on the site of the Hundertwasser House;

http://www.hundertwasser-haus.info/en/blog/2011/07/19/the-house-should-not-be-measured-by-normal-standards/

and yes… for the enthousiast collector, ww.ftn-books.com has some nice publications in its inventory including the Wim Crouwel designed Stedelijk Museum one

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Wim Crouwel / Total Design- 20 jaar verzamelen / Stedelijk Museum, 1984

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Followers of this blog know of my special interest in the publications of the Stedelijk Museum. I have many titles avaialable and ftn-books.com is one of the first sources that is consulted when it comes to publications of and on the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Yet…. one learns every day, even when you have so many catalogues by the Stedelijk Museum available as i do. It has been years ago that i last saw this catalogue which was published by the Stedelijk in 1984 which gives the best and complete overview of their collecting in the period 1963-1984.

Why is this important? Personally i think that this is the period in which the SM made their best and most important purchases. How about important acquisitions like the ones by Kelly, Dubuffet, LeWitt, de Kooning , Mangold , Lichtenstein and Warhol. Just a few names that belong to the most famous ones, but among the hundreds of these acquisitions there is so much quality art acquired that only with these acquisitions one can fill an entire collection and become  with this collection one of the most important Modern Art Museums in the world. The book was compiled by Joosten and designed by Total Design/ Wim Crouwel, which makes it even more worthwhile collecting . It is now available at www.ftn-book.com

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