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Arie van Geest (1948)

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Without realizing i have collected a beautiful small collection with works by Arie van Geest. Born in Maasland he stayed in the region and had several studios in Rotterdam. The friendship with Pat Andrea shows in his early works which were a little surreal, but in the mid eighties he changed in the approach of his painting. His works became abstract with realistic elements and that is the time i met Arie and bought my first drawing. Together with Mariette Josephus Jitta, as the curator in charge, he made the Tableau Mourant exhibition in which 98 watercolors were shown. This series was later bought by the van Gogh Museum. For the exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum 2 editions were made. One “ordinary edition” designed by Paul Stoute and the other a linnen bound one, with a drawing/watercolor by van Geest.

The style changed dramatically and personally i prefer this “new” Arie van Geest above his more realistic style. He stayed loyal to this new found abstract style for almost 20 years and changed again to a more a realistic way of painting in 2002. All three periods are important, but when you look at the museums that bought Arie van Geest ( Gemeentemuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Boymans van Beuningen ) , They all made their acquisitions in the abstract period, except for the Athens Museum which made purchases from his most recent period. Arie van Geest was represented by Delta Gallery. He now has frequent shows with Livingstone gallery.  I have decided to sell part of my Arie van Geest works, so please have a look at FTN art and for the book related material visit www.ftn-books.com

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Kees van Bohemen (1928-1985)

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Yesterday i mentioned the POSTHOORNGROEP and one of its members was Kees van Bohemen.

I remember that at one time, me and my parents visited a restaurant next door to the Haagse Kunstkring on the Denneweg in Den Haag and my mother told me that at the bar was a famous The Hague artist….Kees van Bohemen. I only knew his name from the paintings i had seen at the Gemeentemuseum, but possibly this was the first time i saw a true artist/painter in the “wild”. I remember he was drinking a beer and never left the bar during our meal. Many years later we met again in the Gemeentemuseum and at that occasion van Bohemen was offering his publications and some prints to be sold at the museumstore of the Gemeentemuseum. We took some of them in consignation and since i have been following his career. Making exhibitions at Pulchri, Kunstkring and Delta gallery it always struck me that his style was typical sixties and highly recognizable. Nowadays you encounter his works at the less prestigious auctions ( Venduehuis and AAG) but this does not mean they are not to be admired, they may not be in a price bracket of the Warhol’s and Basquiat’s, but that is not what art is about. The art of van Bohemen is admirable and deserves to be collected and shown in museums and fortunately many do admire his works. Here are the publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Hans Sonnenberg (1928-2017)

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Yesterday il learned that one of the icons in the dutch gallery scene has died. Hans Sonnenberg founded Delta gallery in Rotterdam, which opened its doors on 8 January 1962 and it was the first gallery in Rotterdam that concentrated exclusively on contemporary art. The role that Hans Sonnenberg played as gallery owner and collector in the Rotterdam art world cannot be overestimated. He succeeded time and again in bringing international developments to the harbour city. In addition, he was aware of the importance of a platform for Rotterdam artists. Sonnenberg has run Delta for an uninterrupted period of fifty years. In his opinion, the gallery owner should ideally be closely connected with the gallery. “The gallery and the gallery owner are one. They call me Mister Delta, but Delta is Hans Sonnenberg”, says the gallery owner in a recent publication.
www.ftn-books.com has some nice gallery Delta publications available.

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Piero Manzoni…artist’s shit (1961)

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In May 1961, while he was living in Milan, Piero Manzoni produced ninety cans of Artist’s Shit. Each was numbered on the lid 001 to 090.  A label on each can, printed in Italian, English, French and German, identified the contents as ‘”Artist’s Shit”, contents 30gr net freshly preserved, produced and tinned in May 1961.’ In December 1961 Manzoni wrote in a letter to the artist Ben Vautier: ‘I should like all artists to sell their fingerprints, or else stage competitions to see who can draw the longest line or sell their shit in tins. The fingerprint is the only sign of the personality that can be accepted: if collectors want something intimate, really personal to the artist, there’s the artist’s own shit, that is really his.’ (Letter reprinted in Battino and Palazzoli p.144.)

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It is not known exactly how many cans of Artist’s Shit were sold within Manzoni’s lifetime, but a receipt dated 23 August 1962 certifies that Manzoni sold one to Alberto Lùcia for 30 grams of 18-carat gold (reproduced in Battino and Palazzoli p.154). Manzoni’s decision to value his excrement on a par with the price of gold made clear reference to the tradition of the artist as alchemist already forged by Marcel Duchamp and Yves Klein among others. As the artist and critic Jon Thompson has written:

Manzoni’s critical and metaphorical reification of the artist’s body, its processes and products, pointed the way towards an understanding of the persona of the artist and the product of the artist’s body as a consumable object. The Merda d’artista, the artist’s shit, dried naturally and canned ‘with no added preservatives’, was the perfect metaphor for the bodied and disembodied nature of artistic labour: the work of art as fully incorporated raw material, and its violent expulsion as commodity. Manzoni understood the creative act as part of the cycle of consumption: as a constant reprocessing, packaging, marketing, consuming, reprocessing, packaging, ad infinitum. (Piero Manzoni, 1998, p.45)

Artist’s Shit was made at a time when Manzoni was producing a variety of works involving the fetishisation and commodification of his own body substances. These included marking eggs with his thumbprints before eating them, and selling balloons filled with his own breath. Of these works, the cans of Artist’s Shit have become the most notorious, in part because of a lingering uncertainty about whether they do indeed contain Manzoni’s faeces. At times when Manzoni’s reputation has seen the market value of these works increase, such uncertainties have imbued them with an additional level of irony. ( text on this subject comes from the Tate site : http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/manzoni-artists-shit-t07667)

www.ftn-books.com has some nice publications on Manzoni

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Jean Michel Basquiat (1960-1988)

Born in 1960, the time Andy Warhol would become hugely popular with his Factory, Basquiat spend his childhood years in Brooklyn. But at the time he was 24  he had become “Brothers in Art” with the great Warhol himself.

If ever you have seen a Basquiat exhibition you must agree that his paintings do not stop to impress. The sheer size, the power, the typical and highly recognizable way he paints…..it is all Basquiat.  Perhaps the success destroyed the person Basquiat, but his paintings never disappoint.  You might even argue that it is fortunate that Basquiat died at such a young age, but at the same time with such a small production in 10 years you will never be disappointed by his art. His art is of a constant high level, always original in its appearance, has its own “language” and technique and many of the great collectors of Modern Art consider a Basquiat as one of the ultimate collection additions.( but only a few of them can buy because of its price).

It was about 6 years ago is visited the Basquiat exhibition in the Beyeler Museum / Basel and was blown away by it. the Beyeler is a small Museum ( but one of the most amazing ones in Europe) and it must have been at least 3 times i looked at all the paintings before i left the museum. If you ask …what was your favorite exhibition in the last 10 years….this is it. A Rare occasion to see so many of the greatest Basquiat paintings in one location. If ever you have achance to visit a Basquiat exhibition do not hesitate, plan your trip or make a detour because these paintings are very impressive.

 

I have some nice Basquiat items available so look at www.ftn-books.com

http://basquiat.com