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El Lissitzky (1890-1941)

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Here is an artist who’s works were very well known from the very first beginning of his career. Suprematism being one of the key collection parts of the Stedelijk Museum, El Lissitzky soon became part of this great and important collection. Because of this large collection part, an interest in his works was aroused from the very first beginning resulting in some purchases by important collectors and acquiring works by museum for their collections. Among them; Stedelijk Museum, Haags Gemeentemuseum, Boymans van Beuningen and the van Abbemuseum.

There is so much to be told about El Lissitzky as an artist because he was a true multi talented artist. A Painter, sculptor , architect and designer all within the same person. One aspect of his career i would like to mention specially. His graphic design.

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El Lissitzky is the 9th person from the left

During his stay in Germany Lissitzky also developed his career as a graphic designer with some historically important works such as the books Dlia Golossa (For the Voice), a collection of poems from Vladimir Mayakovsky, and Die Kunstismen (The Artisms) together with Jean Arp. In Berlin he also met and befriended many other artists, most notably Kurt Schwitters, László Moholy-Nagy, and Theo van Doesburg. Together with Schwitters and van Doesburg, Lissitzky presented the idea of an international artistic movement under the guidelines of constructivism while also working with Kurt Schwitters on the issue Nasci (Nature) of the periodical Merz, and continuing to illustrate children’s books. The year after the publication of his first Proun series in Moscow in 1921, Schwitters introduced Lissitzky to the Hanover gallery kestnergesellschaft, where he held his first solo exhibition. The second Proun series, printed in Hanover in 1923, was a success, utilizing new printing techniquesLater on, he met Sophie Küppers, who was the widow of Paul Küppers, an art director of the kestnergesellschaft at which Lissitzky was showing, and whom he would marry in 1927.

There are some really nice El Lissitzky publications available at www.ftn-books.com.

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Cesar Domela (1900-1992) a member of de STIJL

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Cesar Domela an abstract constuctivist who has deservedly created himself among the best of DE STIJL artists. He was a friend of Piet Mondriaan and Theo van Doesburg, but after a few years of DE STIJL compositions he developed a stijl of his own. Wall reliefs were his specialty with curls and filled in colorful spaces these compositions became highly recognizable as Domela’s. During my time at the Gemeentemuseum i never witnessed the special Domela exhibitions , but know that the publications published with these exhibits are thought to be the best on Domela and his works. In meantime other publications have appeared, but these Gemeentemuseum publications still are the best.

www.ftn-books.com has a nice selection of Domela publications including a signed print in an edition of 150 cps.

Here is part of the biography the Gemeentemuseum publishes on its site:

www.gemeentemuseum.nl

When he died in 1992, Dutch artist César Domela left behind an oeuvre that was as substantial as it was varied. Part of it passed into the possession of his daughters, Lie Tugayé-Domela Nieuwenhuis and Anne Dutter-Domela Nieuwenhuis. They are now donating thirteen of the relevant works to the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. The gift forms an important addition to the museum’s existing Domela collection, expanding it to provide a complete overview of the work of this multifaceted artist. From 24 November, the public will have its first chance to view this exceptionally important donation, which comprises paintings, reliefs and one sculpture, as part of a major retrospective devoted to Domela.

César Domela was born in 1900 as the youngest son of the well-known Dutch socialist politician Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis. At an early age, he moved to Italy, where he rubbed shoulders with a number of avant-garde artists. Soon after that, he met Mondrian, Van Doesburg and other members of the De Stijl group, of which he himself became the youngest member in 1924. However, Domela’s artistic development took a different direction from that of most of his fellow-members. He devoted himself increasingly to the development of reliefs: three-dimensional paintings, in which he ascribed a major role to the diagonal. He also experimented with photomontages for use in the world of commercial advertising. His work was well received and in 1936 it was included in the Cubism and Abstract Art exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

After the Second World War, the reliefs came to dominate his output. In 1960 the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag purchased work by him and held a retrospective. Twenty years later, this was followed a second major retrospective of his work. Today, the museum possesses an extensive collection, focusing until the present donation principally on the photomontages and advertising material. This special relationship between the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and César Domela is one reason why his daughters have decided to donate thirteen of their father’s works to the institution; another is the fact that the works form an excellent complement to the museum’s wider holdings. The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag is extremely proud to have been offered this gift and delighted that the Domela collection, which is so valuable a part of its core holdings, will now provide a complete overview of the artist’s entire career. The gift coincides with the official opening at the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD) of the César Domela archive, bequeathed and donated to the Dutch State and given into the safekeeping of that institution.

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Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948)…. Die Scheuche. Märchen. (1925)

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This blog is on a book  i recently sold . The perfect reprint from 1980, but when i searched for it i found it to be no longer available anywhere, so I decided to photograph the pages before i shipped it to my customer in Switzerland and make it available in this Blog . It is one of the great books/ designs from last century:

Die Scheuche. Märchen. by Kurt Schwitters

Next year i will publish another blog on Kurt Schwitters , but to emphasize the importance of this publication i give you an integral version in this blog….enjoy!

and for other Schwitters books visit www.ftn-books.com

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100 years ….DE STIJL

It was 50 years ago Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles was released on the 1st of June, but 50 years before that date the DE STIJL group was founded in Leiden in 1917 with the publishing of the book de NIEUWE BEWEGING IN DE SCHILDERKUNST by Theo van Doesburg. Leiden , Utrecht ( home of the famous Rietveld huis) and Den Haag ( largest Mondrian/de Stijl collection in the world will be presenting exhibitions on DE STIJL and its influence on Modern Art. One basic thing about DE STIJL. Use of primary colors, dividing the surface in abstract elements. Mondrian and van Doesburg were originally friends and worked along these lines until van Doesburg thought his works were limited by the use of horizontal and vertical lines and wanted to use the “diagonal” too. This cooled down the friendship and van Doesburg decided to leave the group in 1924. Was it the end of the DE STIJL…no certainly not . The group stopped, but the ideas were there and were later found in BAUHAUS and constructivist modern art. To acknowledge the importance of DE STIJL is done now by these many exhibitions and certainly more than a few will be well worth visiting. Prepare yourself and look at the many DES TIJL/ Mondrian /van Doesburg publications available at www.ftn-books.com

PS . there is a very special bank by Ko Verzuu in blue and yellow which is exclusively available at ww.ftn-books.com. This was a prestige edition by the makers of ADO.

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van Doesburg and the Aubette

A few months ago we visited Strasbourg. One of the two capitals for the European Union. Beside an excellent modern art museum ( another blog in the near future) this used to be the town of the Aubette. The Aubette was a “dancehall”/activity center designed by Theo van Doesburg, just right after he had left the DE STIJL mouvement. He left because he wanted to use the diagonal line too and not be restricted to only horizontal and vertical lines. The Aubette does not exist anymore. There is a plaque fixed on the wall where once was the Aubette, but what remains are the many designs , drawings and photographs that documented this masterpiece of architecture and  with the many wall decorations with diagonal lines, one can imagine that this must have been very impressive when it was opened in 1928. Theo van Doesburg made one of the most breathtaking buildings of the 20’s.

It is nice to know that the Modern Art Museum in Strasbourg recognized the importance of the Aubette and dedicated some of the rooms within the museum to the Aubette. It is possible to virtually walk through these rooms.

see: http://www.musees.strasbourg.eu/index.php?page=aubette-virtueel-bezoek.

Beside the Aubette van Doesburg also designed a house in Meudon. A house  which i once visited without knowing it was a van Doesburg design. The party which was held over there was more important to me. Wish a had known at that time what i know now…and i would have paid much more attention to the outside and interior of this iconic piece of architecture. Now there is only a memory left that i missed something……….

 

wilfried

www.ftn-books.comwww.ftn-books.com

 

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the Rietveld Schröderhuis

address :

Prins Hendriklaan 50, 3583 EP Utrecht, the Netherlands

Yes, you still can see and visit this iconic architectural masterpiece which was designed by Gerrit Rietveld at the time he was a “de Stijl” member. Together with Piet Mondriaan and Theo van Doesburg he was was one of the founders of the DE STIJL mouvement in the Netherlands.

Soon Theo van Doesburg dropped out of this mouvement because he found himself restricted by the horizontal and vertical lines the mouvement prescribed. He wanted to use the Diagonal line too, but Rietveld believed in these horizontal and vertical lines and used them together with the primary colors he loved so much and draw with them one of the most beautiful small buildings from the last century. When you visit Utrecht, visit the Schroderhuis too. BTW. the house got its name from the first inhabitant of the house. She commissioned Rietveld to build it for her. Truus Schröder-Schräder lived in it for her entire life.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice books on the Rietveld husi and a kit from which you can rebuild the house yourself in a much smaller scale.