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Pop Art exhibitions in the Netherlands

A few years ago one of the most recent in a long line of Pop Art and Pop Art related exhibitions was being held at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. But since the mid Sixties numerous exhibitions have been held on Pop Art and Pop Art related artists. There were exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum, Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Groninger Museum, Nijmeegs Museum, Kunsthal and the Gemeentemuseum and every time they were a huge success. My guess is that because the art is recognizable and because Pop Art established itself as a true mouvement in Art History, it has become popular to the masses.

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Warhol, Lichtenstein and Wesselman are now household names and their works known by many. Perhaps it has even become to successful since images by these great artists are now part of Commercial activities and publicity campaigns which is a pity since these were not meant for being used this way. www.ftn-books.com has some nice duthc Pop Art publications available.

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Two Carl Andre additions

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At the beginning of Minimalism, 3 names rose to fame almost instantly. Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd and Carl Andre. All had their one man shows at the Haags Gemeentemuseum, but i noticed that the appreciation of Andre was not as high as the appreciation of his comrades. 30 years after his last show at the Gemeentemuseum things have changed for the better for Carl Andre. There was a very large retrospective exhibition travelling the US, Germany, Spain and France and the catalogue which was published with this exhibition is by far the the most complete on Andre ever.

Perhaps it is not the best, since i value myself the 1988 by Fuchs and Gracia Lebbink to be the best of all Andre catalogues, but it is a worthy addition to any Minimal Art library and still at a very affordable price. The second addition is the ART & PROJECT Bulletin 85, which is one of the rarest of all Carl Andre publications. Both are now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957)

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Never heard of Yeats as a painter, until Rudi Fuchs curated an exhibition with his paintings at the Haags Gemeentemuseum and it was a nice surprise. His painting is spontane , a little childish and impressionistic at the same time and thus resulting in a painting what is typical for Yeats with a signature of its own. The exhibition was not that large and i remember that the sizes of the paintings were not that large too.

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What i do remember was the excellent catalogue Gracia Lebbink designed with the exhibition. It was one of her first lareg catalogues she made for the Gemeentemuseum but it has proven to be a classic and available at www.ftn-books.com

yeats

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Erwin Olaf exhibition….

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The Erwin Olaf exhibitions at the Gemeentemuseum/ Fotomuseum are now closed for some months and what remains i sthe memory of a highly successful exhibitions with evn for me had some new elements in it which i did not have seen before. I had seen the cabinet with the peeping holes, but the Video wall with some 20 nude people who  crouched and erecetd themselves was impressing. The catalogue however did not do justice to the exhibition. Too large, too expensive and the lesser known moving images from the video walls were missing. Still a great exhibition to remember and for those collectors interested i secured some of the materials that were published to promote the exhibition .

olaf set x

These are available at www.ftn-books.com together with some other nice Erwin Olaf publications

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Paul Poiret (1879-1944)

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Because i recently purchased the book on Paul Poiret whci was published on the occasion of the exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and the Metropolitan in New York i looked at the articel published by the Metropolitan and the information is perfect, so here it is :

Every decade has its seer or sybil of style, a designer who, above all others, is able to divine and define the desires of women. In the 1910s, this oracle of the mode was Paul Poiret, known in America as “The King of Fashion.” In Paris, he was simply Le Magnifique, after 

, a suitable soubriquet for a couturier who, alongside the all-pervasive influence of Sergei Diaghilev’s 

, employed the language of Orientalism to develop the romantic and theatrical possibilities of clothing. Like his artistic confrere Léon Bakst, Poiret’s exoticized tendencies were expressed through his use of vivid color coordinations and enigmatic silhouettes such as his iconic “lampshade” tunic and his “harem” trousers, or pantaloons. However, these 

 fantasies (or, rather, fantasies of the Orient) have served to detract from Poiret’s more enduring innovations, namely his technical and marketing achievements. Poiret effectively established the canon of modern dress and developed the blueprint of the modern fashion industry. Such was his vision that Poiret not only changed the course of costume history but also steered it in the direction of 

 history.

Poiret’s route into 

 followed the common practice of shopping around one’s drawings of original fashion designs. His efforts were rewarded in 1898, when the couturière Madeleine Chéruit bought twelve of his designs. In the same year, he began working for Jacques Doucet, one of the most prominent couturiers in Paris. According to Poiret’s memoirs, My First Fifty Years (1931)—also published as The King of Fashion—the first design he created for the house was a red wool cloak with gray crepe de chine lining and revers, which sold 400 copies. But it was a mantle he made for the actress Réjane in a play called Zaza that would secure his fame. Using the stage as a runway was to become a typical strategy of Poiret’s marketing practices, enabling him to present his most avant-garde creations. The mantle was of black tulle over a black taffeta that had been painted by Billotey, then a famous fan painter, with large white and mauve irises. In Poiret’s words, “All the sadness of a romantic dénouement, all the bitterness of a fourth act, were in this so-expressive cloak, and when they saw it appear, the audience foresaw the end of the play . . . Thenceforth, I was established, chez Doucet and in all of Paris.” By the time he left Doucet in 1900 to fulfill his military service, Poiret had risen to become head of the tailoring department.

In 1901, Poiret joined the House of Worth, where he was asked to create what Gaston Worth (the son of 

, the eponymous founder) called “fried potatoes,” simple, practical garments that were side dishes to Worth’s main course of “truffles,” opulent 

 and reception gowns. One of his “fried potatoes,” a cloak made from black wool and cut along straight lines like the 

, proved too simple for one of Worth’s royal clients, the Russian princess Bariatinsky, who on seeing it cried, “What horror; with us, when there are low fellows who run after our sledges and annoy us, we have their heads cut off, and we put them in sacks just like that.” Her reaction, however, prompted Poiret to found his own maison de couture in 1903 at 5 rue Auber. Later, in 1906, he moved his atelier to 37 rue Pasquier, and then, in 1909, to 9 avenue d’Antin. Two years later, he established a perfume and cosmetics company named after his eldest daughter, Rosine, and a decorative arts company named after his second daughter, Martine, both located at 107 Faubourg Saint-Honoré. In so doing, he was the first couturier to align fashion with interior design and promote the concept of a “total lifestyle.”

While Poiret learned his craft at two of the oldest and most revered couture houses, he spent his first decade as an independent couturier not only breaking with established conventions of dressmaking, but subverting and eventually destroying their underlying presumptions. He began with the body, liberating it first from the 

 in 1903 and then from the 

 in 1906. Although constantly shifting in its placement, the corseted waistline, which had persisted almost without interruption since the Renaissance, divided the female form into two distinct masses. By 1900, it promoted an S-curve silhouette with large, forward-projecting breasts and equally large backward-protruding bottom. In promoting an uncorseted silhouette, Poiret presented an integrated and intelligible corporeality. He was not alone in this vision of dress reform. Lucile (also known as Lady Duff Gordon) and Madeleine Vionnet also advanced an uncorseted silhouette, but it was Poiret, largely owing to his acumen for publicity, who became most widely associated with the new look.

In freeing women from corsets and dissolving the fortified grandeur of the obdurate, hyperbolic silhouette, Poiret effected a concomitant revolution in dressmaking, one that shifted the emphasis away from the skills of tailoring to those based on the skills of draping. It was a radical departure from the couture traditions of the nineteenth century, which, like menswear (to which they were indebted), relied on pattern pieces, or more specifically the precision of pattern making, for their efficacy. Looking to both 

 and regional dress types, most notably to the Greek 

, the 

, and the North African and Middle Eastern caftan, Poiret advocated fashions cut along straight lines and constructed of rectangles. Such an emphasis on flatness and planarity required a complete reversal of the optical effects of fashion. The cylindrical wardrobe replaced the statuesque, turning, three-dimensional representation into two-dimensional abstraction. It was a strategy that dethroned the primacy and destabilized the paradigm of Western fashion.

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Poiret’s process of design through draping is the source of fashion’s modern forms. It introduced clothing that hung from the shoulders and facilitated a multiplicity of possibilities. Poiret exploited its fullest potential by launching, in quick succession, a series of designs that were startling in their simplicity and originality. From 1906 to 1911, he presented garments that promoted an etiolated, high-waisted Directoire Revival silhouette. Different versions appeared in two limited-edition albums, Paul Iribe’s Les robes de Paul Poiret(1908) and Georges Lepape’s Les choses de Paul Poiret (1911), early examples of Poiret’s attempts to cement the relationship between art and fashion (later expressed in collaborations with Erté and Raoul Dufy, among others). Both albums relied on the stenciling technique known as pochoir, resulting in brilliantly saturated areas of color (

). It was an approach that not only reflected the novelty of Poiret’s designs but also his unique palette. Indeed, although the 

 depicted in the pochoirs referenced 

, their acidic colors and 

 accessorization, most notably turbans wrapped à la Madame de Staël, were more an expression of Orientalism (as were several cocoon or kimono coats for which Poiret was known throughout his career).

Spurred on by the success of the Ballets Russes production of Schéhérazade in 1910, Poiret gave full vent to his 

 sensibilities, launching a sequence of fantastical confections, including “harem” pantaloons in 1911 and “lampshade” tunics in 1913 (earlier, in 1910, Poiret had introduced hobble skirts, which also can be interpreted as an expression of his Orientalism). As well as hosting a lavish fancy-dress party in 1911 called “The Thousand and Second Night,” in which the fashions and the scenography reflected a phantasmagoric mythical East, he also designed costumes for several theatrical productions with Orientalist themes, most notably Jacques Richepin’s Le Minaret, which premiered in Paris in 1913 and presented the couturier with a platform on which to promote his “lampshade” silhouette. Even when Poiret reopened his fashion business after World War I, during which he served as a military tailor, Orientalism continued to exercise a powerful influence over his creativity. By this time, however, its fashionability had been overshadowed by modernism. Utility, function, and rationality supplanted luxury, ornament, and sensuality. Poiret could not reconcile the ideals and aesthetics of modernism with those of his own artistic vision, a fact that contributed not only to his diminished popularity in the 1920s but also, ultimately, to the closure of his business in 1929.

It is ironic that Poiret rejected modernism, given that his technical and commercial innovations were fundamental to its emergence and development. But although Poiret’s Orientalism was at odds with modernism, both ideologically and aesthetically, it served as the principal expression of his modernity, enabling him to radically transform the couture traditions of the 

. While Poiret may have been fashion’s last great Orientalist, he was also its first great modernist.

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The book is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Michael Kirkham (1971)

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Michael Kirkham is one of the younger British artists that implressed me immediately when i saw his first paintings at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.

Often highly regarded for their uncompromising nature, Michael Kirkham’s paintings give a delicate insight into the dark corners of human existence. Painted mostly from the mind, mixing fantasy and reality, Kirkham depicts his subjects in uncomfortable or awkward positions, (half) undressed, engaging in acts of sexual nature, being in love, daydreaming, or showing their genitals. While doing so, the characters in Kirkham’s paintings often appear distant, as if disconnected or sunken into the emptiness of their subconsciousness. In addition to the apathetic character of his subjects, most of Kirkham’s paintings appear covered in an apt layer of misery and ambiguity.

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As much as these scenes of the despicable bring about a sense of discomfort or voyeurism to the spectator, they are equally intriguing and touching as they display a deep sense of empathy for all aspects of the human condition. This is Kirkham’s power: rather than depicting scenes that exist only in Kirkham’s own artistic universe, his works show those parts of life that, no matter our attempts to disregard or overlook them, are a core part of contemporary life. They show us the alienated or estranged individuals who are no match for the complexities of the world they themselves have helped to build.

It is in this commentary on the contemporary that any sense of melancholy, irony, or even voyeurism so often related to the Kirkham’s paintings disappears. The power and beauty of his work are inseparable from the discomfort it brings about when it confronts the viewer with the bleakness of humanity. Therefore, any form of sadness, irony, voyeurism, or discomfort felt in Kirkham’s paintings can only be a sign of confrontation, recognition or even emotion of the spectator, pointing out to us what essentially makes us human throughout the complexities of today.

Michael Kirkham (Blackpool, UK, 1971) lives and works in Berlin, Germany. He completed his education at the Glasgow School of Art and De Ateliers, Amsterdam. His work has been exhibited, among many other locations, at Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (NL), Centraal Museum, Utrecht (NL), and Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf (DE), and is part of collections such as the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (NL), Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (NL), Centraal Museum, Utrecht (NL), Sammlung Ritter Sport, Stuttgart (DE), Collection Olbricht (DE), Sollection SØR Rusche, De Nederlandsche Bank, Amsterdam (NL), and of private collections in The Netherlands, Germany and the United States, among others.

ftn-art has the limited edition of THE STORY OF THE GLOVE. a controversial “comic” in prints available. Please inquire.

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Piet Mondriaan….Molen bij Avond

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Two days ago i was so lucky to have a camera ( phone) at hand. We were planning to have a little boat ride in the evening, but…..suddenly it started to rain and we decided not to go. However, 10 minutes later it stopped raining and while we were having a cup of coffee we decided it was still worth it to go to Vlietlanden for a 2 hour trip. We left at 18.45 hr. and were returning at aprox 20.10 when we passed this windmill just near our home. I asked for my telephone and took this photograph. 5 seconds sooner and it would not have had the effect it has now. 5 seconds later and we would have been blinded by the light of the sun. But with this result i am so pleased. I have not done anything with the photograph, because i think it is 100% ok, but 24 hrs later Google send me the same photograph which they had worked over with some filters and this is the result they produced ( second photograph).

molen bij avond

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The moment i saw it it reminded me of the Mondrian. Molen bij Avond i know so well from the years i worked at the Gemeentemuseum. There is 100 years between them, but these pictures show that there is still a very scenic the Netherlands to be found near the largest cities of this country. I have many of Mondrian’s publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Graham Sutherland (1903-1980)

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When i looked for information on Sutherland I found this excellent article on the WIDEWALLS site.

One of the leading British artists of the 20th century, Graham Sutherland was widely known for his prints and paintings. Despite some other names coming to mind before him when talking about the art history, such as David HockneyFrancis Bacon, or Lucian Freud, there was a time when Sutherland ruled undisputed. From mid-1930’s, when he established his identity as a modern painter, to the 1950s, when his influence began to wane, there was a widespread consensus amongst fellow artists and critics that Sutherland was the most exciting and compelling voice in contemporary British painting.[1] He was even commissioned to paint a portrait of Winston Churchill, in what turned out to be one of the most famous cases of the subject disliking the artwork, which eventually led to its destruction.

Sutherland’s artistic career included several significant changes in direction. After specializing in engraving and etching, he began achieving fame as a printmaker. His early pastoral prints display the influence of the English Romantic Samuel Palmer, whereby prefiguring Sutherland’s later involvement within the Neo-Romantic movement in Britain. However, the famous 1929 Wall Street Crash bankrupted many of his collectors, thus forcing Sutherland to turn to other sources of income. He worked as an illustrator until he visited Pembrokeshire, becoming completely captivated by it, and subsequently, turning to painting as a primary medium for his expression. The artist continued to draw inspiration from Pembrokeshire countryside and its enthralling anthropomorphic natural forms for the rest of his life.[2] When working on landscapes, Sutherland’s working method included seizing on a detail such as a dead tree, boulder, thorn bush, everything that according to the artist, required a separate existence. He would sketch this on the spot, and later a studio painting would evolve. Sutherland wasn’t the first to do so – many landscape artists before him had done pretty much the same, but his studio hand moved considerable further from what his outdoor eye had seen. Neo-romantic at the core, his work inspired others such as Paul NashJohn Craxton, and John Piper. Over time, Sutherland began to reveal himself as a vivid colorist with an original sense of harmonies. He somewhat banished the dark and heavy tones which he had used earlier, though preserving the sharp black and white oppositions and using acid pinks and mauves, orange and light blue, emerald, chrome yellow, and scarlet.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice Graham Sutherland titles available

 

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Walter Nobbe (1941-2005)

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His first exhibtion was held in 1966 at galerie 20 and since Walter Nobbe has had a loyal following of admirers. He was a master in drawing and painting the male figure and since his early days as an artist he belonged to the ABN group. Together with Pat Andrea  and Peter Blokhuis he formed this group of young painters who were considered as the “creme de la Creme’ of dutch new realistic painters. Nobbe deserves a reappreciation of his art.

It has beside a high level of Craftmanship some great artistic components that make these work stand out from other from this era. Nobbe has had a loyal following. Specially in Den Haag and surroundings his works are well known. Pulchri and Gemeentmuseum have had his works frequently on show during exhibitions. Still, ask about Nobbe outside the region and his name becomes less familiar and that is a pity.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice Nobbe publications including a limited signed edition

nobbe palet

 

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Gust de Smet (1877-1943)

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I have always been an admirer of the painting DE LOGE by Gust de Smet and at the time i worked at the Gemeentemuseum i have seen it numerous times and it never disappointed me. This work is so typical for the works by Gust de Smet and when you study it for a while, you begin to notice that it a bridge between abstraction and cubism, executed in a very personal way.

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There are so many object to be distinguished within the painting that it looks like a tapestrie of paintings within the painting. On many paintings by de Smet you will find, beside the figures, a still life or a bowl with fish or…. a vase filled with flowers. These objects make the painting typical de Smet.  De Smet is one of the great Belgian expressionist painters, but outside Europe he is hardly known. Undeservedly …..because De Smet makes beautiful paintings that deserve to be exhibited worldwide.

Whenever you have the chance, visist the De Smet museum in Saint MArtens LAtem and loose yourself among many great de Smet paintings.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice De Smet titles available