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Simon Benson represented by gallery Phoebus

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The following text is written by Mirjam de Winter from gallery Phoebus, who represents Simon Benson.

Simon Benson is a draughtsman above all else. In pencil, on A4 and A3 size paper, you find almost everything: from almost invisible organic lines drawn in a searching automatic hand, to harder lines, drawn with the help of a ruler or a template; as well as areas of solid fill or cross-hatched and soft nebulous planes. Since the end of the 80’s nature and architecture have been his main subjects in which he can deploy his drawing skills. In the course of the 90’s, language and text make an appearance, along with the human form, sensory perception and feelings. In 1998, he makes the first self-portraits. In the meantime, new techniques are being used in the works on paper: photography and digital prints. Alongside all this, Benson has been making wall-paintings and three dimensional wall and floor objects made from mdf: he has also realised a number of public space commissions.

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In 1997, Simon Benson, made a text-piece, ‘Universal Anatomy’, in the form of a digital and a silk-screen print. It consists of a list of about 300 Italian words. (Italy referring to the beginnings of art in the Renaissance). The scope of this theme becomes clear: from roof to foundation, mountain peak to valley floor, from human head to feet – the body expanded to include perception, feeling and thought – all this subject matter described in one descending movement. At the same time, with a fascination for crossovers, Simon Benson drew a house in the form of a head, or a tree that appeared to be speaking; and he also made an installation entitled ‘An Anthropomorphic Landscape’, with consisted of a series of mdf objects with an block-like architectural appearance, which contained textual references to certain facets of the human form.

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Not just in this conceptual framework -that to this day continues to grow and is still a way to get to know Simon Benson’s work- but individual text works also play a role. For example, ‘Solutio’, ‘Heiliger Platz’, Senza Fiato’, ‘Fluchtpunkt’, ‘Seed’, ‘Cielo’ and others confront you with a greater or lesser degree of
ambiguity, of under- or overstatement – and creates a lot of space for association. Words or letters are sometimes, through a clear yet abstract arrangement, made unreadable. For example, the sixteen letters of the name of the gallery ‘ P H O E B U S R O T T E R D A M ‘ are placed in a grid of four by four letters on the facade of the building in which the gallery in housed. Text as starting point and secret language, a labyrinth to wander around in, a place where you can stand still, think and dream.

That Simon Benson is inspired, on various levels, by the traditions of western art and architecture is discernable in his work. Sometimes it is possible to point out variations on existing images, like in the references to Dürer’s drawings or Botticelli’s, or in the assimilation of architectural drawings of Gothic cathedrals or Le Corbusier’s buildings. As far as sources from literature are concerned, Simon Benson made, in 1999, a series of drawings based on Dante’s Divine Comedy and lately he has been inspired by James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’, especially by the notion of a varyingly, inward and outward looking subjectivity. ‘Thought Through My Eyes’- eyes open and closed. His work is becoming more and more personal. Image and text, increasingly woven together – something like what you see in a present day source of his: television and computer culture.

The ‘ DO YOU STILL HEAR THE BIRDS SINGING” publication is available at

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Ad Arma (1954 )

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Ad Arma is known in real life as Ad Robert Meerman and represented by Willy Schoots gallery. A life long career in art has brought him some fame and exchibitions in the Netherlands , but it will be hard to find his works in public collections. Still he has a loyal following and  build a circle of collectors, who collect his works. Personally i have never visited an exhibition or gallery viewing, but what i saw in the book i now have for sale ( with original drawing) the works remind me of Kees Okx, Heyboer and his long rising sculptures of Giacometti. All these artist i like very much, so why didn’t i hear of Ad Arma only some years ago? I can not answer this question, but i am certain to visit his exhibition when it is organized at a place not too far away.

My work and life are completely fused. The work is my life. Themes in my work throughout time; The slipping of time, shared vulnerability, continuous change, time and timelessness, the arise and disappearance. The melancholy and beauty of consciousness.

I cannot explain what moves me. That on its own, already moves me.


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Jacobien de Rooij (1947)

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Jacobien de Rooij stands for large-sized paintings and drawings with a common theme. “Nature” is what she paints and draws. She is especially known for her extremely large drawings. Her large-sized drawings are famous and can be found in many Dutch public collections. Bright colours, makes these works when seen from up close like almost abstract works. what she draws or paints is not reality, but her interpretation of landscapes and scenes she has witnessed or seen.

Above just 2 recent examples of her works that illustrate the way she “builds ” her works.

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The above publication is available at

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Gerard Petrus Fieret (continued)

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In 2004 the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag received a donation from Gerard Petrus Fieret, containing over 1000 photographs, drawings and other collectable items. This gift grew the collected Fieret works in the collection of the museum considerably making it the largest Fieret collection in the world. To remember the donation and to please the artist the artist was invited to make a live exhibition in which he made his drawings in one of the rooms of the museum and decorated the walls with these drawing.  If i remember well , Fieret entered the museum for some five weeks, greeting the doorman in a very grumpy way ( yes he was a grumpy old man at that time~), walked the museum hall , entered the designated room and started to draw. Drawing after drawing came out of hands and the publicity department decided to use the event to anounce an exhibition of this huge gift by the artist. They selected 81 drawings from the already considerable pile of drawings and bundled these into a specially made poster and send these out to the press ( all in house made) to announce the Fieret exhibition. Only a few dozen of these press kits were made, making this one of the most desirable and collectable Fieret items. The press kit is now for sale at

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the Drawings of Roy Lichtenstein (1987)

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I like this title. It was published at the end of the EIghties which finally recognized the historical importance of Pop Art in art. before , in th early Sixties pop art exhibitions were held all over the world including many impotant ones exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Among them a highly important Lichtenstein exhibition, but the difference with the 1987 exhibition at the MOMA museum is that in 1967 in Amsterdam it was NEW and MODERN and in 1987 in New York is was “established” art. A difference of 20 years and now another 33 years later . The quality of the works by Roy Lichtenstein is once again underlined with this exquiste catalogue on his drawings. It shows the metaculous preparation in drawing for all larger works he would create after.

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Marie Hanlon (1948)


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Sometimes you must consider yourself very lucky. I have been writing on art and artists for almost 5 years now and during this period I have written blogs on many known and lesser-known artists. In the meantime selecting with these blogs those publications that are available through FTN-Books. In this way promoting the art, books and publications I am selling.

It must have been a month ago that I received an email by an artist I did not know. She introduced herself, spoke of the great selection of books I am selling and wanted very much to introduce her works. Her name …MARIE HANLON…. and she asked if I would like to take a look at her site….and so I did.

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I am always intrigued by artists who I do not know, so I searched for her on the internet and found that she makes the kind of art I am fond of. It is a mix between minimal, constructivist, hard edge and even surrealistic art at some times. We wrote and agreed that it would be nice to make her works known with the help of the site and ftn blogs and now I am proud to announce that her publications are available at and that she made an artist selection of 4 drawings that are exclusively available through FTN ART at special introductory prices.


In future blogs, new material will be proposed to my readers, but in the meantime here is a short biography on Marie and the link to her site so you can find out yourself why I was fascinated by her work.

and for information on the books and art by Marie Hanlon please contact me at

Marie was born in Kilkenny and studied History of European Painting and English at University College Dublin, at the National College of Art & Design/Dublin and has worked as a professional artist since 1990.

Known mainly as an abstract artist of finely made small and medium-sized works, Marie’s output in recent years encompasses a broader range of media. Through her collaboration with contemporary composers, she has developed new work, especially in video and installation.


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Paul Citroen (1896-1983)


Schermafbeelding 2020-02-28 om 14.30.03At one time , many years ago, i was living in Wassenaar. Me and my ex wife had a small apartment in a newly build apartment building and just around the corner there was a “classic” dutch house. I learned that Paul Citroen , the dutch Bauhaus artist lived there. I know the drawings by Citroen, because i had seen them at Pulchri Studio, but what i learned many years later was that he was influenced by Bauhaus and was one of the great collage artists. I

t was an aspect of his work that i had never known before but was very appealing to me. It was the extra layer i was looking for in his art. Where his drawinsg and photographs were very personal and recognizable, his collages were inspired by his fellow artists at the Bauhaus. Since i i always remember Paul Citroen when i pass his old house and remember the great art he stands for.

I recently added an intriguing book from 1957 in which drawings and photographs by and on Paul Citroen are depicted.

citroen by citroen


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Edmond Baudoin (1942)

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For me personally, Bauoin is one of my comic heroes. Of course there are Herge and Franquin and many others from the golden age of European Comics that deserve your admiration, but from the later generations there are only a few artists that will be historically important. Jean Giraud, Druillet and Tardi have all proven to be important, but for me there is another artist, a comic hero, who belongs in this row of great names. One that is lesser known but somebody who moves on the crossroads of comic and graphic novel.

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Edmond Baudoin is that artist. Left school at the age of 16 and has been drawing and writing comics since. The style….realistic…the stories poetic and taken from his personal life.

http://www.ftn-books has the LE PORTRAIT book by Baudoin now available.

baudoin portrait


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Arie van Geest …naar Beckmann, 1999

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Recently i had the chance to acquire another Arie van Geest watercolor for the FTN art collection. The moment i saw it i was impressed and decided to make a bid. The watercolor is from the 17th of August of 1999 and fits perfect between the painting and another drawing i have in my inventory by Arie van Geest. I have grown fond of his art over the years. His earliest more abstract , fantasy like drawings are wonderful and his later paintings keep impressing and this drawing is one of the nicest i have seen by his hand. Both other drawings i have purchased i will keep for a later blog , but in case you are interested in purchasing do not hesitate to contact me at

Title of this drawing/watercolor is ” NAAR BECKMANN #, size paper 30 x 22 inches / ca. 75 x 55 cm.

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Jacques Tardi (1946)

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One of the iconic creators of great (french) comics is undoubtedly Jacques Tardi. Tardi managed to find the balance between classic comics/BD ( Bandes dessinee), graphic novel and Art. His series on Adele Blanc-Sec are among the very best in comic art from the last half century, but beside the series of ordinary BD’s he produced some great adaptations of “classic” french literature. Tardi successfully adapted novels by controversial writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline and crime novelist Léo Malet. In Malet’s case, Tardi adapted his detective hero Nestor Burma into a series of critically acclaimed graphic novels, though he also wrote and drew original stories of his own.

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With a style of comic art, highly recognizable and very much a style of his own, Tardi crossed the border into the world of art and his pages of comics are now sold in galeries all over the world. has some very nice Tardi publications available.