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Hugh Weiss (1927-2007)

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The first time i encountered some actual painting by Hugh Weiss, was at the timne the Venduhuis held an auction with works from the estate of Hans Sonnenberg, the former owner of the Delta Gallery in Rotterdam. Sonnenberg had a very personal way of collecting and was not affraid to present young artists like Haring and Basquiat in the Eighties and Schjolte and van Geest in the Eighties/Nineties. In the Sixties he liked a different kind of art and beside some POP ART he presenetd there was this American born artist who he liked very much…..Hugh Weiss

Hugh Weiss was born in Philidelphia in 1925, but practically lived his entire working life in Paris /France. Here he has made a name for himself and from France  a contact with Sonnenberg was established, The result exhibitions at galerie Delta of which one catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com. It is the 1965 catalogue

weiss delta

The works intrigue, but not so musch as that at timne of the auction i wanted to add one to my collection. I focussed instead on the Arie van Geest paintings and i was successful. Now that i look at them again in the catalogue i think it is a pity that i did not bid, but wh knows perhaps in the future there is another chance.

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Ton van Os (1941)

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During the last years of the twentieth century, Ton van Os created, among other things, series of works dedicated to the painter Paolo Uccello and the composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

In the last 20 years, his source of inspiration is both the music and the writings about music and visual arts of American composer Morton Feldman. Since 2000, he made more than 150 mostly large paintings black-and-white, in bright colors, in glittering silver and in sparkling gold. Paintings of space and sourceless, invented light with shifting structures and patterns in which, as the Dutch composer Anthony Fiumara wrote in his review MorTon: ‘Paradoxical themes are discussed as dynamic stasis, chaotic order, unpredictable repetition, intuitive austerity and ringing silence.’

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This is how the text on Ton van Os his site gives a description of his works and career. This is an artist who’s works are timeless, Even his earliest works from the early Seventies ( Forty Etchings book is available at http://www.ftn-books.com ) has this same abstract quality. Of course the scenes are realistic and depicts his suroundings or details from it, but this can only be seen when studying more intensely the (abstract) compositions. From a distance it is pure geometric abstraction. When you consider this the beginning of his career you can follow his artistic career with more and more abstraction over the decades…. eventually resulting in the repetition of forms in a rythm which is music inspired. http://www.ftn-books has several Ton van Os titles available.

ton van os set

 

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Leonardo Delfino ( 1928)

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If an artist has not acquired the fame he deserves it is hard to make his name more known at the end of his career. This is why i support any initiative to help the artist. Leonardo Delfino is such an artist. He rose to sdome fame at the end of the Fifties amnd early Sixties ( this is the period i last discussed in an earlier blog) and had an important exhibition at galerie Delta in 1971 ( catalogue available at http://www.ftn-books.com), but after some dutch and french exhibitions it was quiet, with hardly any exhibitions outside Italy and France. Born in Torino he soon went to France to help his career further on, but is stayed relatively quiet with hardly any exhibitions being held. This doe not mean his work is not interesting. His scupltures are timeless abstract colums or pieces of raising /concrete. I thinh he uses the same procedure to create his sculptures as Mmark Boyle does. Using the original to cast a raisin copy from it.

look for Delfino on the internet and there is hardly any information, but there is a facebook site worth visiting at: https://www.facebook.com/Delfinoproject

Some early Delfino publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Formula 1 and Art

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Another two weeks and the 2019 Formula 1 season will start with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on the 17th of March.

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I have a lifetime fascination with Formula 1 and from my 17th until this day i am following the complete Formula 1 season. Qualifying and the Race itself i am present and dollow the live transmission. It is rare, but sometimes both items  i admire , Art and racing, are combined into sculpture or paintings. One of the artists that comes to mind is Kees van BOhemen who made a series on Racing and racing drivers in the late Sixties.

Furthermore there are of course the car manufactureres themselves who commission artist to develop and paint their cars into special editions. But Kees van BOhemen stands out for me since his use of paint and subjects leans towards total abstractiuon and it is only a small step to make a “racing” painting into an abstract painting. http://www.ftn-books.com has a nice selection of Kees van Boehemen catalogues available.

 

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Ronald de Bloeme (1971)

 

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It took me a very long to finally acquire a Ronald de Bloeme painting for our collection , but finally we found one and added it on the 2nd of October 2018. It is one from the series “Oil On Postal bags” and comes from the former Hans Sonnenberg collection.

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This collection was split up and auctioned some months ago and this work found in the end its way to our collection. It is an impressive painting and shows exactly why de Bloeme becomes more and more important in modern art. The series of postal bag paintings was partially painted at the time he was in residence at the Kunstlerhaus Bethanien where he made several of these large paintings. Postal bags stitched to each other and with their original postal prints still on them, de Bloeme made a composition on them in which points, arrows, dots, numbers and stripes are attached to each other, making a composition in which you can see that the subject is COMMUNICATION in all its appearances and the essence of this series of paintings. The feel of the canvas is totally different than expected.  You expect a coarse surface, but this is not the case. The surface feels like nylon and it looks and feels more like a sail or a tent canvas.

The painting that we now hold in our collection has all these symbols included. Planes, dots, postal bags from czechoslovakia, Turkey and India symbolize the routing of the planes and the dots could stand for all the places that are reached in these countries. Of course this is my personal interpretation, but it is for certain a very impressive and important painting.

The painting is depicted in the Ronald de Bloeme Bethanien catalogue on page 33 and it is available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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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