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Vojta Dukat ( 1947)

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Living in Den Haag and winner of the prestigious Ouborg price in 2001, i always have admired Vojta Dukat, original in his approach to his subject and for me one of the very best black and white photographers of his generation. Intimate portraits of people, perfect use of the light.

He makes photographs as if they were paintings. Classical, recognizable  situations are transformed into brilliant photographs. Because of his connection with Den Haag, the Gemeentemuseum was fortunate to have the show on the occasion of the Ouborgprijs and this is where i first encountered his photographs. Since i have been following his career. The book published on the occasion of the Ouborgprijs is a true classic and www.ftn-books.com is fortunate to have this for sale. I found a small youtube item on the book which gives a great impression of it.

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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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The three Henk Peeters …Nul/Zero editions

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Yes, it took a period of over 50 years for Peeters to become the household name in Zero art as he is now. Shortly before his death in 2013  there was a retrospective exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. At that occasion the famous Nul/Zero catalogue from 1963 was published as a facsimile. The original catlogue is an extremely hard find these days and when you encounte a copy. The condition in most of the cases is not what you had hoped for. At one time www.ftn-books.com had the the original, the facsimile and the multiple signed Peeters edition available, but that was a long time ago. All sold out at record prices, but now i am lucky to have bought the best copy i have ever owned. The condition is MINT_ and it is now available at www.ftn-books.com.

Here are the images of the originalNul/Zero book now available  condition is MINT-

and these are my pictures from the multiple by Peeters published on the occasion of his Retrospektive:

 

For those interested in Peeters history read here the text the Gemeentemuseum published at the occasion of the Henk Peeters Retrospective:

10 September 2011 till 12 February 2012

HENK PEETERS

‘The world is going to change radically.’ Henk Peeters (b. The Hague, 1925) said so more than once. The statement was an expression of his deep desire for a Communist society. It was not to be, but Peeters remained an idealist. Together with Armando and Jan Schoonhoven, he founded the Nul group – the Dutch arm of the international ZERO movement (including artists like Piero Manzoni en Lucio Fontana), with which he maintained close contacts. Their art was all about eliminating the artist’s personal style and elevating everyday life to art through the use of ordinary materials. Peeters used cotton wool, feather and hair in his artworks and even ‘drew’ and ‘painted’ with smoke and fire. This autumn, the Gemeentemuseum’s Willem Cordia Room welcomes the first ever one-man show of Henk Peeters’ work from the 1960s. A major installation involving bags of water will be recreated especially for the occasion. It was originally on show at the successful international ZERO-0-NUL exhibition held at the Gemeentemuseum in 1964.

Peeters was a spider in the web of the international ZERO movement of the 1960s and it was thanks to his efforts that the big Zero/Nul exhibition was held in the Netherlands (partly at the Gemeentemuseum in the The Hague, the city where the Nul group enjoyed its heyday). He disseminated and published Nul and ZERO manifestos and even today is an important source of information for researchers and writers concerned with the history of ZERO and Nul.

Peeters elevates everyday life to art; he believes in the synthesis between the two and wants to make art accessible to everyone. This was also the ideal of the Nul movement; Armando used ordinary gloss paint and Schoonhoven cheap extra-thick wall paint as part of the effort to undermine the elevated status of the artwork. Peeters also used materials that needed no personal handling; he used cotton wool, feathers, hair, smoke and fire to create works that may not exhibit the personality of the artist in the handling of their materials, but are nevertheless capable of conveying great sensitivity through their texture and relief.

A deep-rooted democratic principle underlies Peeters’ art, choice of materials and personal philosophy. The socialist ideals inculcated in him during his childhood are a major motivation for all his activities – of which there have been many. In addition to being an artist, Peeters has also been at various times a museum education officer, an art school teacher, a typographer, a creative arts therapist, a curator, an organizer, an activist, a television-maker and an advisor to public institutions.

The exhibition is realized in close cooperation with the ZERO foundation, Düsseldorf.

To mark the occasion of the forthcoming exhibition, the catalogue of the Haags Gemeentemuseum’s 1964 exhibition Zero (Mack/Piene/Uecker) – Nul (Schoonhoven/Armando/Henk Peeters) is to be republished as multiple.

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Paul Schuitema (1897-1973) and dutch design.

Just a screenshot from my computer when i searched for some information on Paul Schuitema and instantly you see the importance of Schuitema for dutch design.

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Here it is the ultimate combination between a spectacular lay out, great typography and photo montage resulting in a highly recognizable style….this is Paul Schuitema. Schuitema a contemporary of Piet Zwart, was not as well known as Piet Zwart , but both did their ground breaking work in the Interbellum and can be considered as extremely important for graphic design. Schuitema differs from Piet Zwart.

Where Piet Zwart excels in Typography and lay-out, the photo montage is the part in which Schuitema excels. Both are important, not only because they are essential in the development of dutch design, but more and more they are recognized as being important for graphic design all over the world in general and their influence can be found everywhere. This imporance is underlined by orderes on these 2 artists from all over the world.

The Gemeentemuseum has both artists in its collection and because of the former curator Flip Bool , these collections are possibly the most important in the world.

When you come to the Netherland check the exhibitions at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, maybe you are lucky and there is a special exhibition on one of them. If not know that www.ftn-books.com has some nice books available on both these graphic designers.

 

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Gerrit Benner (1897-1981)

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One of my first blogs was devoted to the museum Belvedere where i encountered some wonderful paintings by Gerrit Benner. This blog is solely devoted to Benner because he deserves it. His paintings are among the first abstract paintings which still hold a link with realism in the Netherlands . These paintings are definitely inspired by nature. Skies, meadows and even an abstract cow can be determined in the compositions. Benner is a painter “pur sang” who’s works are rooted in the dutch tradition of abstract paintings. For instance Mondrian used these abstracted landscapes in his own painting from the early 20th century.

on the left a painting by Benner with Red cloud on the right Landscape with Red cloud by Piet Mondriaan

Benner is a great painter who deserves to be known outside the Netherlands and for those visiting the Netherlands. When you visit the Stedelijk, Gemeentemuseum, Belvedere and Museum Twente you surely will encounter a Benner painting in their permanent collections.

There are some very nice Benner publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Stang Gubbels …. a dutch designer

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It was at the time Wim van Krimpen was the director for the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag that i met Stang Gubbels. Stang had worked with van Krimpen before on some projects he did with the KUNSTHAL/ Rotterdam. His style and designs are truly original , highly recognizable and together with the designs by Irma Boom and Gracia Lebbink, belons to the best dutch designs produced during the last 2 decades in the Netherlands.

Stang has an excellent internet site which can be reached at www.stang.nl and for those looking for his scarce publications…..www.ftn-boooks.com has two nice STANG titles available.

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Bert Frijns (1953)

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If ever there is one “glass” artist who deservees to be called original in his approach to the medium of glass, it is Bert Frijns. The first time i saw some of his glass vases presented in the Haags Gemeentemuseum in the inner garden, they were soon filled with rain water, make them appear even more fragile. But the water did not harm them, no it enhanced the capture of light, making the glass vase like a solid sculpture. The form , also highly original and it stayed one of the trademark forms of Frijns. Frijns had multiple museum and gallery exhibitions in the Netherlands, but the first one which i saw by this artist stayed with me forever.

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Great works of art and with the exhibition one of the first Gracia Lebbink designed exhibition catalogues for the Gemeentemuseum which is finally available through www.ftn-books.com. The short biography comes from www.acquestarte.com

frijns gm

Born in 1953 in Ubach Worms, The Netherlands. From 1973 until 1980 he studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and, after graduation, he attended specialist courses at the Department of sculpture and glass.
Since 1991, Bert Frijns lives with his family on a farm on an island of Zeeland, the southwestern province of the Netherlands. Surrounded by the North Sea and living in contact with nature, the artist is daily inspired by the landscape of the area.

Glass, water, light and movement are the main ingredients of the works of Bert Frijns. With minimalist simplicity and a strong sense of poetry, the artist has worked with these elements for almost three decades. The interaction of sculpture, light and space surrounding are common features in all his works.
Frijns also adopts an extremely complex and specific method of working the glass. Although his finished works seem simple, they are actually the result of a lengthy and difficult technic. His works are distinguished by their sheer beauty, stripped of frills or decorations. Since the glass sculptures are also filled with water, it creates an additional visual element.To date, Frijns has exhibited his works in many  museums and galleries around the world: in the Netherlands, Germany, United States, Indonesia, Japan, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, England, Israel and Australia.

Some of his creations are part of collections of some well-known museums: the Museum Jan van der Togt, the Jewish Historical Museum, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Museum of Modern Art in Arnhem, the Frans Hals Museum, the Haags Gemeentemuseum, the Landesmuseum in Kassel, the Ernsting Stiftung and the Jewish Historical Museum in New York.

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Christie van der Haak (1950)

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One of the first artist from Den Haag that i met and still admire is Christie van der Haak. A few years ago , in 2015 she won deservedly the Ouborgprijs and since her name has become even more famous in the art world. Just take a look at her great site and judge for your self

http://www.christievanderhaak.nl

Discover why her art is appreciated by so many in the art world. The patterns she “invents” and the layers she uses to make her compositions look very classic like patterns from the old days, but put them in a different surroundings, they become great new works of art.

I remember that one of her first exhibitions was the one in the van Abbemuseum curated by Rudi Fuchs, where she presented Madonna paintings. Paintings with layer over layer . patterns overpainted the typical classic madonna .

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Later she presented her paintings in the Lakenhal and the Gemeentemuseum where the late Henk Overduin was an admirer and the one who initiated an exhibition with her.

www.ftn-books.com has the Ouborg and van Abbemuseum publications available

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Geer van Velde (1898-1977)

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Since the early eighties i admire Geer van Velde. When i first entered our offices at the Gemeentemuseum, there was original art on the wall . Chosen by employees of the Gemeentemuseum the painting on the wall of our offices was an original large painting by Geer van Velde.

Geer van Velde was Bram van Velde’s younger brother they differ 3 years in age but their art differs even far more. Both influenced by fellow artists also living in Paris, Geer became known for his paintings winning Prizes and being admitted into the Salon des Independants . He is considered to be a member of the Ecole de Paris. The works by Geer van Velde are highly recognizable being abstract but still showing some realism in them. The use of color??  subdued not the bright colors his brother is known for. They come from the same nest but their works could not be more different .

Where Geer was known  and admired is his early years, the case with Bram was totally different. It is now since 30 years that the works by Bram are more admired. They are “classic”  made in the 50’s , 60’s and 70’s, but study them closely and you will sense that they belong in the present. These are bold and highly sensitive paintings. Both these van Velde brothers have their qualities, but maybe, in the long run, i prefer Geer.

There are Geer van Velde publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Aristide Maillol (1861-1944)

 

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If ever i had to chose two great sculptors from France , for me personally it would be Camille Claudel and Aristide Maillol. Rodin is a great sculptor , but i find his sculptures/statues to classic. He is a craftsman but for me he lacks the personal touch that i encounter with Maillol and Claudel. I have been admiring daily for 25 years a great statue by Maillol which is in the collection of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and i found it never boring.

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This is the reason that i am always on the look out for publications on Maillol and finally i found another great one at our local bookmarket . It is the spectacular Paul Rosenberg catalogue for his sales exhibition of sculptures by Maillol from 1958. It is now available at www.ftn-books.com together with excellent Sandberg designed catalogue from the 1962 exhibition which was held at the Stedelijk Museum.