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:

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

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

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 http://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

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

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

 

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