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Happy New Year…and a healthy 2021

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Dear Reader,

Thanks for your interest in this continuing daily blog. It has been been a year filled with changes and I truly hope next year will be a more normal year and of course a healthy one for you and all your loved ones.

What way to have a better start of the blogs remembering the New Years wishes Willem Sandberg made during his directorship at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

Each year until the early Sixties he made a yearly New Years wish for the Stedelijk Museum. Recognizable, highly original and in a way only Sandberg could design and make them. I encountered these New Years wishes in a biography which was published in 2004 and written by Ank Leeuw Marcar. In the centre of the book all Sandberg New Years Wishes are assembled. ( available at http://www.ftn-books.com).

To finish ….My best wishes for you and your loved ones and have a wonderful 2021.

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Antoon Molkenboer (1872-1960)

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This man looks old and old-fashioned, but he witnessed the rise of many modern art artists. But old fashioned as he was, he stayed true to his designs which were rooted in the “Fin du Siecle ” period from the last century. His fame has grown by the end of 1930 which resulted in many commissions for music and theatre performances. Look at his designs and you see the influence Jugendstil has had on them, but what struck me most that he almost copied the great designs by Klimt and Mucha.

Interested in this copycat? the best publication on Molkenboer was written by an ex colleague of mine …Magda Kyrova . A nice publication which rediscovers this artist and which is available at http://www.ftn-books.com

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Charles and Ray Eames (9)

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This design duo is another that formed from a teacher-student relationship. Following up this cliché with yet another, their affair began while Charles was still married, leading him to leave his wife for Ray. It’s a good thing they did meet, though, as without these two the world wouldn’t have the famous LCW chair – a piece of furniture that Time Magazine proclaimed as the chair of the century. We also have the Eames to thank for the DSW chair and the Eames Lounge. The couple is recognised as the most influential architectural and furniture designers of the 20th century, working as the ultimate team until Charles’ death.

http://www.ftn-books has a nice selection of Vitra / Eames publications

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Posters by Willem Sandberg and Wim Crouwel…part 2

Another impressive poster by Willem Sandberg for a series of 1962 exhibitions. Among these the first presentation of works by Philip Guston.

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of these the published catalogues look quite different. All publication are available at www.ftn-books.com.

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Gracia Lebbink (1963)

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This blog is long time overdue. I met Gracia for the first time when she was designing the artist book LA STANZA VEDE by Kounellis for the Haags Gemeentemuseum in 1990. She was introduced to the Haags Gemeentemuseum by Rudi Fuchs who was the director at that time and because trusted her skills after being introduced to Rudi by  Walter Nikkels some time before.

Since, she designed for the Gemeentemuseum many publications and posters and build a prestigious agency on the way, “designing” for many cultural institutions and museums. Always recognizable, simple , beautiful designs and with a typography that invites reading the texts.

I mentioned Nikkels and Lebbink in the same sentence and that is not without a reason … I consider both to be the very best from the generations to follow Sandberg and Crouwel and because I have known Gracia professionally, she is placed on the no. 1 spot, followed at some distance by Walter Nikkels. It proves Rudi Fuchs had a nose to pick not only the best artists, but also the right choice in commissioning a designer with a project. Gracia had to stop her professional career in 2003, leaving us some very beautiful and appealing designs.

Because of my personal interest in her works I have collected many of Gracia’s designs for FTN-books. Many are available at www.ftn-books.com…..just search for Lebbink and you will encounter over 30 Gracia Lebbink designed publications available.

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Erwin Olaf and Eduard Manet… an analogy

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A few weeks ago i decided to sell my pristine copy of the Borek Sipek / Erwin Olaf catalogue they made together with Irma Boom for the STIJL VORMT FUNCTIE exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in 1991. This is probably one of the catalogues i cherish the most, but since i have decided to sell part of my private library and only keep these books that are related to our personal collection it is now for sale. What struck me most were of course the photographs by Erwin Olaf. These are timeless and highly original in their approach of the subject…..except…. he must have been inspired by at least one painting of the impressionist period. The Eduard Manet / The bar at the Folies Bergere painting is certainly a source of inspiration for the photo het took in the early Nineties. The book is now for sale at www.ftn-books.com

 

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PTT…Operatie bedrijfsstijl 1988/1989

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It took over 2 years to realize and implement a new style for PTT NEDERLAND. This took place at the end of the Eighties and after many years of preparations, this completely new style for the dutch company was effective by the end of 1989.  I counted almost 180 people who were involved in executing this operation. The result was another new and completely modern, almost timeless house style, after many years of illustrious and classic house styles  ( Piet Zwart ao) . Another classic and impressive house style was realized. Studio Dumbar was responsible for this new dutch design classic and it was the last house style before PTT was split up into a number of private companies of which KPN and TPG were the main ones.

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With this split up the design department for which PTT was famous, ceased to exist. This department was solely responsible for many of the designs for which PTT became famous. Piet Zwart would not have had the chances as a graphic designer were it not for the orders PTT has given him. The portrait at the head of this article is the self-portrait of Piet Zwart. The greatest of all PTT designers.

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http://www.ftn-books.com has the beautiful publication on this change of house style of PTT , published by PTT publishing, with the text of Paul Hefting available.

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Władysław Strzemiński (1893-1952)

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I had almost forgotten this great artist until recently I discovered a great monograph on him at the local bookmarket (sold). Just quickly leafing through it i noticed the resemblance with some of the greatest Piet Zwart designs and even, after searching on the internet  I discovered his influence in some recent Japanese designs. His art is truly avant-garde. When you look at Minimal Art from the Sixties and Seventies and the hard edge paintings from the Sixties you can only draw one conclusion. All the great artists from these decades must have known, Władysław Strzemiński and drawn inspiration from his art.

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An excellent biography on the artist can be found here:

https://culture.pl/en/artist/wladyslaw-strzeminski

Władysław Strzemiński (Belarusian: Уладыслаў Страмінскі; 21 November 1893, Minsk – 26 December 1952, Łódź) was a Polish avant-garde painter of international renown.

In 1920 he married Katarzyna Kobro.

In 1922 he moved to Wilno (now Vilnius), and in the following year supported Vytautas Kairiūkštis in creating the first avant-garde art exhibition in what is now the territory of Lithuania (then under Polish rule).

In November 1923 he moved to Warsaw, where with Henryk Berlewi he founded the constructivist group Blok.

During the 1920s he formulated his theory of Unism (Unizm in Polish). His Unistic paintings inspired the unistic musical compositions of the Polish composer Zygmunt Krauze. He is an author of a revolutionary book titled “The theory of vision.” He was co creator of unique avant-garde art collection in Łódź gathered thanks to the enthusiasm of members of the “a.r.” group as Katarzyna Kobro, Henryk Stażewski (the artists) and Julian Przyboś and Jan Brzękowski (the poets).

In postwar Łódź he was an instructor at the Higher School of Plastic Arts and Design .Neoplastic Room in Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź. where one of his students was Halina Ołomucki, survivor of the Nazi concentration camps. His Neoplastic Room was installed in the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź in 1948 but was removed in 1950 as it failed to fit in with the socialist realism aesthetic imposed by Włodzimierz Sokorski, the minister of culture of the Polish United Workers’ Party.

His works have been exhibited in such museums around the world as Centre Pompidou, Museo Reina Sofia Moderna Museet Malmö and Whitechapel Gallery

The following Strzeminski publications are available at http://www.ftn-books.com

 

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Jacob Jongert (1883-1942)

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Jac ( Jacob ) Jongert is one of the classic dutch designers. It is highly likely that you once have seen a design of his , since his van NELLE box has grown into a world famous design object from the Twenties/Thirties.

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It has been one of those iconic design objects executed in a style which have been of great influence to designers in the following decades. Look at the second poster and you will recognize that this typography and design elements must have influenced the POP ART designs from the Sixties.

But beside the avant garde designs there are so much more beautiful designs by Jongert and for those interested in Jongert and his design career i truly recommend the book which has been published in 2009 for the Jongert  special exhibition at the Boymans van Beuningen Museum. A book which shows why Jongert is important as a designer and what is more . The book itself is one of the best and most beautiful published books which i encountered in recent years. This book is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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100 Meesterwerken by Willem Sandberg

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This is arguably one of the best Willem Sandberg publications of all time. An impressive cover, the use of multiple kinds of paper, the best art works from the Paris Modern Art Museum and an unbeatable price, because these are still available, but become more rare every year. I managed to collect 4 copies of this excellent 1952 catalogue of which 2 are now for sale at a special price of USD 35.00.

Please inquire at wvdelshout@ziggo.nl for a direct sale at this price.

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