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Jean Gorin (1899-1981) and Wim Crouwel

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Jean Gorin , a typical 50’s /60’s artist has stayed a little obscure outside France, but this is undeserved. His art is influenced by Piet Mondrian and Constructivism , but has developed into an art typical of Jean Gorin.

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This was recognized by Willem Sandberg who gave Gorin a solo presentation in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 1967. Here it is getting more interesting from my point of view, because together with this exhibition one of the very very best Wim Crouwel designed catalogues ever was published. The catalogue typically Crouwel sized was partly printed in black and the other part of the text on the cover executed in embossed printing. Together with the design of the catalogue itself it has become an exquisite artist book on Jean Gorin which is still available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Friso Kramer and the Result chair

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A year ago i devoted a blog to Friso Kramer and his designs. Todays blog is on just one obeject by Friso Kramer….the RESULT chair. a design icon and one of the great dutch designs from last century. This chair was made for a very long time by Ahrend and designed while he was working for this company in the 50’s. Production was ended some 10 years ago, but now a danish company together with Ahrend has given a new life to this design with a reedition of this magnificent and versatile chair. This made me once again realize the importance of Ahrend and specially the work that Friso Kramer has done for them. the Result chair and the Pyramid table by Wim Rietveld are both classics, but there is no doubt that they will fit in any contemporary interior, because both these designs are time less. www.ftn-books.com has added a nice title on both these designs.

 

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Benno Wissing (1923-2008)

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In the dutch museum and art scene there are some classical partnerships regarding the design of museumpublications. There are Willem Sandberg and Wim Crouwel who bot worked in different decades for the Stedelijk Museum. There is again Wim Crouwel and Walter Nikkels who worked for the van Abbemuseum. There are Donald Janssen and Gracia Lebbink who had their designs published by the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and there is Benno Wissing ( one of the founders of Total Designs) who worked almost exclusively for the Boymans Van Beuningen Museum Rotterdam during 3 decades.

Bernard (Benno) Wissing was a Dutch designer, painter, graphic artist and architect. He trained as a painter at the Art Academy in Rotterdam.

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He began his career in 1949 as a designer for the Museum Boijmans in Rotterdam under VP Ebbinge Wubbe. He designed catalogs and posters and established exhibitions. He was one of the founders of Total Design which he worked from 1964 to 1972.

Benno Wissing is for me one of the greatest names in dutch design, but still stands in the shadow of Crouwel and Sandberg. Undeservedly, because his designs are true ” classics”. Just search for Wissing at www.ftn-books.com and find some excellent examples of his truly great designs.

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Dick Elffers (1910-1990)

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Dick Elffers is one of the great dutch designers from last century. If you compare his works , they best can be compared with the designs by Willem Sandberg. Colorful designs and sometimes they look torn figures like the ones Sandberg uses. If ever there is a combination which is known outside the Netherlands it is the designs he made for the HOLLAND FESTIVAL.

These posters are highly recognizable as Elffers designs and are among the best that are published in the Netherlands in the last century. Perhaps not as well know as Sandberg and Crouwel, but certainly very important as a designer and quintessential for the ducth design mouvement that followed the 50’s from last century.

Of course www.ftn-books.com has some great Dick Elffers titles in its inventory

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Mathias Fels (1922-2009)… galeriste extraordinaire

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One of the great gallery owners of our town was Mathias Fels. Her started the gallery in 1955 and the gallery has since become one of the leading galleries in the world. With the death of Mathias Fels the gallery stopped, but until that date they organized some very important exhibitions and with these exhibitions catalogues were published using special designs, papers and in many cases special covers . The covers in some cases being original lithographs. As one of the leading art scene figures, Fels has become an icon for many gallery owners and together with gallery Denise Rene in Paris he always had a keen eye to present new modern artists in his gallery.

www.ftn-books.com has some beautiful and important Fels publications available.

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You can find an excellent interview( in french)  with Fels at:

http://www.visuelimage.com/ch/fels/

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Paul Renner (1878-1956) and ….the FUTURA typeface

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If ever a typeface by Paul Renner is known to the large public it must be the Futura. A typical Art Deco type typeface which is nowadays a classic and easily can substitute the very popular Helvetica and is present aas a standard font on practically every computer. The Futura dates from 1927 when it was first launched by Paul Renner.

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On August 9, 1878, Paul Friedrich August Renner was born in Wernigerode which then was located in the Prussian state. His father was an evangelical theologian who is reason behind his strict Protestant upbringing. He grew up to develop a German sense of leadership, responsibility and duty. Renner received his formal education from a secondary school, Gymnasium. After nine years of learning Greek and Latin, Renner opted to study arts at several different academies. In 1926, he accepted the position of the head at the Printing Trade School in Münich. Later he established and became director of the Master School for Germany’s Printers. While studying, he grew suspicious of abstract art form and developed repulsion for some forms of modern culture including dancing, cinema and jazz.

However, Renner was equally fascinated by the functionalist strain in modernism. Therefore, it would not seem wrong to perceive Renner’s work as a bridge between nineteenth and twentieth century tradition. One example can be his successful attempt at merging two fundamentally different typefaces together such as Roman typeface and Gothic. Moreover, he was a significant member of German Work Federation. He lent his expertise in developing a new set of guidelines for good book design. He was closely associated with another noted typographer Jan Tschichold. They both became part of the ongoing heated ideological and artistic debates. Renner took a stand against Nazi movement and made his position very clear and public through his scandalous booklet, titled Kulturbolschewismus(Cultural Bolshevism). It was published in 1932 and overtly condemned Nazi’s cultural policy.

In 1933, when Nazi rose to power they dismissed Renner from his post at the school and labeled him an intellectual subversive, a ‘Cultural Bolshevist’. He went into a period of internal exile after his arrest. Renner aspired to communicate his opinion of culture and tried to influence it through his writing, teaching and designing. He utilized his intellect and aesthetic skills to alter the fundamental landscape of material and spiritual form of life. As to communicate his view of high cultural standards, he invested his creative talent in applied arts designing books and typefaces. Furthermore, being a voracious reader, Renner’s ideals were influenced by prominent scholarly figures, such as Nietzsche, Goethe, Kant and Schiller. He began writing from 1908 onwards and prolifically produced work on design and typography.

Renner’s notable works include Die Kunst der Typographie (The Art of Typography) and Typografie als Kunst (Typography as Art). In these works he set the guideline for sophisticated book designs. Additionally, he played a significant role in inventing the popular Futura. The modern typographers even in the present time used this geometric sans-serif font frequently. Another one of his creations, Architype Renner is evolved from his early experimental exploration of geometric letterforms. His Steile Futura typeface was later transformed into Tasse which came out posthumously. Paul Renner’s valuable contribution to graphic design and typography includes works, such as Das moderne Buch, Vom Geheimnis der Darstellung, Ordnung und Harmonie der Farben and typefaces Renner Antiqua and Ballade.

www.ftn-books.com has a great book on Renner available

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Thomas Schütte (1954)… Two reasons to love.

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For me there are two personal reasons to love the works by Thomas Schütte. The first reason for me is his architectural art. Always trying to find a different approach to architecture makes his works interesting and in the same category as the architectural works by John Hejduk.

Secondly there is his publications. Meticulously designed books. Published by the best publishers, printed by the best printers and from start to finish typical Thomas Schütte productions. These books are among the best art books published in the last 50 years and i am proud to have some of them in my inventory of www.ftn-books.com

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Joost Swarte and Fay Lovsky ….Jopo in Mono

 

Artist/ Author: Joost Swarte / Fay Lovsky Title : Jopo in Mono Publisher: Oog & Blik / de Harmonie, 1991 Number of pages: booklet contains 16 pages /audio cd by Fay Lovsky contains 12 numbers Text / Language: Measurements: 5.4x 4.9 inches Condition: mint / still sealed extra information on this item: Rare and collectible. Here is a text from a blog on this publication which i found: When putting two completely unique artists out of two different disciplines together in one room, the chance that it might lead to something brilliant is equal to the chance that it won’t work. For these two it turned out to be option one: brilliant. Joost Swarte and Fay Lovsky are the ones we’re talking about. These two (both made in Holland) made their album ‘Jopo In Mono’ back in 1991. It’s based on the story of Joost Swarte’s underground comic-character ‘Jopo de Pojo’, a musically anti-hero, highly underestimated in his own opinion (even the alleycats don’t dig his shit) but always pretty positive in his own misery. Jopo de Pojo leads a life of failure, fun, sex and pretty bad rock and roll. Nevertheless Jopo is a character to love. I bought my first Joost Swarte album somewhere around 1988, it was a collection comics about Jopo and I fell in love with him (Jopo) and his creator’s style immediately. More albums and (signed) silk-screens by Swarte followed and off-course this beautifully designed CD ‘Jopo In Mono’ had to be in my collection too. Nowadays Swarte enjoys an international reputation as a graphic artist as well as a designer on whatever his fancy takes away: creating posters, cartoons, glass windows and stamps, or designing watches, buildings or bookcases. The woman that made the music and wrote the lyrics to make Jopo come alive on CD is Fay Lovsky (born Fay Luyendijk). She is what you could call a ‘do-it-yourself’-artist. Always trying to make music with somewhat exotic instruments such as the theremin, ’singing’ saws or the noseflute (there is a ‘Duet For Noses’ on this Jopo-album!). In the mid-eighties she gained some fame with her music projects ‘La Bande Dessinée’ and with her bigband ‘Magnificent Seven’. But most (Dutch) people probably know her best because of her x-mas evergreen from 1981 ‘Christmas Was A Friend Of Mine‘. Lovsky is very inventive as well with music as with words. She’s responsible for probably one of the shortest and humourous bluessongs ever, ‘Yawn Blues‘ with brilliant lyrics: I woke up this morning, I went back to bed. The one you hear doing Jopo’s yawning is Joost Swarte. Another peak on this album is the song that even made it as the openingstune of a culinair show on French national TV: ‘Appellation Controlée‘ (part of the lyrics: Brown paper bag, au bord de la Seine, Ile de la Cité. Chateau Migraine, when you wake up the next day.). On the album followed by a disturbingly short ‘Appellation Non Controlee’ including hiccups and a watersplash. Did I already mention that Joost Swarte won a prize for the design of this booklet? Well, he did.

 

Jopo in Mono and the ROUSERS album are both available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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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

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Hendrik Petrus Berlage (1856-1934).. Three buildings

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H.P. Berlage is for me personally the architect of the building i entered for nearly 25 years, worked in and have practically known my entire life. Of course this is the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. Initially people did not like the building at all and thought it a badly designed ” public swimming pool”, but you must visit this building multiple times before it opens its true qualities to you. It really is of a rare quality and can be considered as the last, but also ultimate designed Berlage building in which the extreme details open up when you look long enough. Berlage known for his architecture was also a very gifted furniture and book designer and brought all these qualities together into his buildings. There is so much to be told on Berlage, but the best one can do is visit the buildings which this architect build. Fortunately the very best examples are to be found in places a random tourist is likely to visit when he or she visits the Netherland.

Amsterdam has the Beurs, Otterlo /Kroller Muller museum has the “jachtslot” and of course Den Haag has the Gemeentemuseum. so for you next visit to Holland visit these and start your visit with a Berlage book for sale at www.ftn-books.com

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Benno Premsela (1920-1997)…dutch design

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What is the importance of Benno Premsela? Is it because he was one of the first chairmans of the COC ,….or is it because he was one who represented a generation of dutch designers in the seventies and eighties? The story behind Premsela is not just an ordinary story, because as a jew and homosexual he was despised during and right after the war, submerged during the war and had a rough time right after the war because jews and homosexuals still were not accepted in society.

Raised as a humanist he could not understand the way people thought about the jews and homosexuals. This was one of the reasons he decided to become active in the liberation of the homosexuals and eventually became chairman of the COC. the “Nederlandse Vereniging tot Integratie van Homoseksualiteit COC”. An active chairman, who made his contributions to the liberation of the homosexuals in the Netherlands.

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But now i tend to forget that Premsela was also a very gifted designer, who’s designs were executed all over the world and even at one time he had a retrospective in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. This exhibition recognized his qualities as a designer and made his name forever. Benno Premsela was a man to be admired for his ideas and designs. www.ftn-books.com has some nice Premsela designed publications available.