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Klaus Fußmann / Fussmann (1938)

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Klaus Fussmann is not very well known outside Germany, but still important enough to devote a blog to this painter. My interest in Fussmann grew when i bought a signed copy of a 30 years old book. It is interesting to see that his style developed into a much more abstract approach to his subjects. If i must compare his works it might me with the later works of the dutch painter Contant. Both found a more realistic style in their paintings with lots of abstract elements. I think Fussmann’s fame stay in Germany only and not cross the border, but for those interested in this fascinating painter, know that www.ftn-books.com has some nice (signed) publications available.

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Walter Gramatte (1897-1927) a German expressionist rediscovered.

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Totally original…that is what i think of Walter Gramatte. His style is as recognizable as some of his contemporaries. Schiele, Klimt and and Klee are recognized within a split second and Gramatte is one of these artist who’s works are recognized as soon as you encounter and see them.

Since two decades there has been a new a renewed appreciation for his works, but publications on Gramatte are still rarities. Nevertheless www.ftn-books.com has a few titles in its inventory.

Walter Gramatté was born in 1897 in Berlin and died in 1929 in Hamburg.

Gramatté had a very short (15 years) career but a very productive one – paintings, drawings and prints with subjects of figures, portraits, still life’s, landscapes and book illustrations.

He fought in the First World War and was disillusioned as a result.  Like many artists of his generation his works depicted the individual and existential states of being. (Gramatté book, Kirchner museum). He was married to the Russian composer Sonia Fridman-Gramatté.

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Agnes Martin …the Islands (2004)

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Yesterday i spoke about the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop and their excellent poster publications. Today i will present the very best of them. It is the magnificent Agnes Martin poster for the “the ISLANDS’ exhibition. Executed as an original silkscreen this poster is a true work of art.

martin islands poster a

Publisher: Quadrat /Josef Albers Museum, 2011 Measurements: 31.4 x 24 inches Condition: mint-

This is a highly collectable and important poster> not only because the exhibition was important, but because of the printing technique this is a masterpiece.

Poster and exhibition catalogue are both available through www.ftn-books.com

catalogue design by Walter Nikkels

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Gotthard Graubner (1930-2013)

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I can not describe the qualities of Graubner better than the text on Wikipedia i found on this fascinating German artist.

Graubner’s art is characterised by his unique philosophy and the use of color in his work. He began developing his own style in 1959, while he studied under K.O. Götz. Before that, Graubner’s work had been characterised by using color sparingly, in shapes and on the edges of the canvas, but, from 1955 onwards, he had already experimented with different approaches towards color, at first with watercolor and later on canvas. Instead of focusing on shapes, he began to use color lavishly.

About 1960, the artist produced flat panel paintings with surfaces built up of differentiated nebulous color formations, the application of color in layers of varying degrees of transparency opening up the picture surface, producing a color formation of indefinite depth comparable to the paintings of Mark Rothko.

In the 1960s, Graubner mounted picture-size colored cushions onto his paintings and used Perlon fabric in an attempt to enhance the spatial effect of color surfaces. These works were displayed in Alfred Schmela’s gallery in Düsseldorf.

Between 1968 and 1972 he did what he called “Nebelräume” [“Fog Spaces”].

Graubner never allowed his style to be dictated by the current fashions or trends. He developed his own style of using color as the medium through which his work announced itself, allowing it to work independently of any connection to any kind of representation or theme. According to Helga Meister, his works have sensibility, feeling and meditative force.[50]However, his paintings are only at first glance monochrome; as a closer look reveals, they are in fact polychrome. They “breathe”; they live; their colors, even though fixed on canvas, have movement that stirs the imagination as much as his “fog-spaces” of the sixties, in which he continued the romantic tradition of Caspar David Friedrich. Moreover, his “color-space bodies” (“Farbraumkörper”) have been described by art historian Max Imdahl as “picture-objects” in which “color-space and body, intangible vision and tangible facticity cooperate in a special interrelationship.”

The following titles are available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Jaap Nanninga (1904-1962)

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Jaap Nanninga was born in Winschoten in the north of the Netherlands but after travels to Germany and Poland he settled in Den Haag in 1936, where he stayed and worked his entire life. meber of the famous Posthoorn group het met his friends artist for drinks and dinners at the POSTHOORN cafe at the Voorhout in Den Haag ( and yes…it is still there and serves the finest “Bitterballen” in Den Haag. He received his artist eductaion from Werkman and Wiegers and stayed for a short moment with Geer van Velde in Paris. These 3 artists made Nanninga the artist which we know nowadays. Abstract compositions rooted in the Fifties . a little Cobra mixed with abstract expresionism. Many dutch museum have some great Nanninga’s, but one museum i would like to mention specially is the FIGURA painting in the van Abbemuseum collection. Powerful and typically Fifties abstraction.

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www.ftn-books.com has some nice Nanninga titles available

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Willi Baumeister (1889-1955)… a constructivist?

 

Personally i consider, like Jurrie Poot, ( he wrote a short article on Baumeister in the Stedelijk Museum Bulletin) a constructivist. But a constructivist who became more free with every painting finally resulting in a style which was a cross between Malevich, Miro and in the Netherlands …Willy Boers.

Born at Stuttgart, where in 1911 he enrolled at the Art Academy as a pupil of Adolf Hölzel. Trip to Paris in 1912 where he discovered the work of ToulouseLautrec and Gauguin. Another trip to Paris in 1914 with Oskar Schlemmer; this time he became an enthusiastic admirer of Cézanne. From 1919 date his first Mauerbilder (wall pictures). A third stay in Paris in 1924, where he came into contact with Ozenfant, Le Corbusier, Fernand Léger and, some years later, the Abstraction-Creation group ( 1932). He taught at the Fine Arts School in Frankfort from 1928 to 1933, when he was dismissed by the Nazis and condemned as a “degenerate painter.” Thereafter he lived a retired life in Stuttgart and worked on in solitude until the end of the war; earned his living during this period by working in a printing plant. Appointed to a professorship at the Stuttgart Academy of Fine Arts in 1946. In 1947 he published a book, Das Unbekannte in der Kunst, written four years earlier. His work has been represented in most of the major post-war exhibitions in Europe, and also at the exhibition of German Art of the Twentieth Century, held in 1957 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Baumeister retrospectives organized at Documenta ll ( Kassel, 1959) and at the 1960 Venice Biennale.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice titles on Willi Baumeister

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John Heartfield ( Helmut Herzfeld 1891-1968) ….a DaDa artist

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John Heartfield is considered as one of the inventors of the PHOTOMONTAGE. Together with George Grosz he experimented with this new technique. Because of this  new technique he made some of the most powerful anti Nazi statements in art.

On the back of a photograph which was taken in 1912 his name is written as “Helmut.” While living in Berlin, in 1917, he anglicised his name from “Helmut Herzfeld” to “John Heartfield,” an English name to protest against the anti-British fervour sweeping Germany. In 1916, crowds in the street were shouting, “Gott strafe England!” (“May God punish England!”)

In 1917, Heartfield became a member of Berlin Club Dada. Heartfield later became active in the Dada movement, helping to organise the Erste Internationale Dada-Messe (First International Dada Fair) in Berlin in 1920. Dadaists were the young lions of the German art scene, provocateurs who disrupted public art gatherings and ridiculed the participants. They labeled traditional art trivial and bourgeois. Heartfield was a member of a circle of German titans that included Erwin Piscator, Bertolt Brecht, Hannah Höch, and a host of others.

Heartfield built theatre sets for Erwin Piscator and Bertolt Brecht. Using Heartfield’s minimal props and stark stages, Brecht interrupted his plays at key junctures to have the audience to be part of the action and not to lose themselves in it.

He is best known for the 240 political art photomontages  he created from 1930 to 1938 to expose fascism and The Third Reich. These famous works of political photomontage were an astounding cohesive critique of the rise of fascism.

Heartfield’s artistic output was prolific. His 240 political montages appeared as covers for the Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ, Workers’ Illustrated Newspaper) from 1930 to 1938, a popular weekly whose circulation (as large as 500,000 copies at its height) rivaled any magazine in Germany during the nineteen thirties. Heartfield’s anti-nazi photomontages were featured monthly on the AIZ cover, an important point, because most copies of the AIZ were sold at newsstands. His anti-fascist art mocked Hitler, fascism, and The Third Reich on major street corners throughout Berlin where Heartfield lived until he nearly escaped assassination by the SS in April, 1933.

It was some 30 years ago that the art / photomontage were first recognized as true works of art and the van Abbemuseum presented them in a special exhibition of which the catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Gerd Arntz (1900-1988)

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Otto Neurath was the first, but together with Neurath, Arntz is considered to be one of the founders of Isotype. A simple word for ISOTYPE is pictogram and he made over 4000 of them. Gerd Arnyz is even in our days considered to be one of the great inventors of the pictogram. The strength is that one can immediately see the meaning of the picture/pictogram and in relation to numbers and other pictograms.

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Picture from www.gerdarntz.org

Because he opposed to the Nazi party in Germany and made some political drawings and statements against them, he fled to Den Haag in 1934, where he joined Neurath and Reidemeister. The three of them became extremely productive and it is in the Netherlands that most of his books, pictorial statistics and pictograms were published. Living and working in Den Haag, Arntz was familiar with its museum and for this reason the Haags Gemeentemuseum could acquire a large collection of his works and still on the book markets, when looking thoroughly, you can even find some nice publications, but this is getting harder and harder each year. www.ftn-books.com has some nice publications and the book ZEVEN HOOFDZONDEN in which an original woodcut by Arntz is published together with 6 other originals.

It was about 10 years ago that STROOM had a nice exhibition on Arntz and Neurath and they made a spectacular poster for the exhibition which is also available at www.ftn-books.com

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Anselm Kiefer (1945)

It is 31 years ago that i saw a  work by Kiefer for the first time I and was really impressed . I remember the occasion….the occasion the Anselm Kiefer exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Grey, sombre , large paintings with scenes that reminded of war, devastation and ruins .  Later i learned that the German history and the Holocaust were main themes Kiefer always used in his works. The history of Germany being one of the main subjects in his extremely large paintings. The Stedelijk Museum bought one of the paintings for its collection. “Innenraum” is a large painting ( 280 x 311 cm.)  , but small compared to other Kiefer works.

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The exhibition was a great succes and since i  encountered several other Kiefers in museums. One stands out, impressive and it’s size is overwhelming. ( almost 10 meters in length) and is a must see whenever you visit the North of Spain.

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Anselm Kiefer

Only with Wind, Time, and Sound (Nur mit Wind, mit Zeit und mit Klang), 1997

Acrylic and emulsion on canvas

473 x 944 x 22 cm

Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa

 ( the following text comes from the Art Story site)

It is the Anselm Kiefer’s monumental, often confrontational canvases were groundbreaking at a time when painting was considered all but dead as a medium. The artist is most known for his subject matter dealing with German history and myth, particularly as it relates to the Holocaust. These works forced his contemporaries to deal with Germany’s past in an era when acknowledgment of Nazism was taboo. Kiefer incorporates heavy impasto and uncommon materials into his pieces, such as lead, glass shards, dried flowers, and strands of hay, many of which reference various aspects of history and myth, German and otherwise. Influenced by his contemporaries Joseph Beuys and Georg Baselitz, as well as by postwar tendencies in Abstract Expressionism and Conceptual art, Kiefer is considered part of the Neo-Expressionist movement, which diverged from Minimalism and abstraction to develop new representational and symbolic languages.

Of course there are some nice publications available at www.ftn-books.com including the Anselm Kiefer / Stedelijk Museum catalogue from 1986
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Alvar Aalto (1898-1976)… a multi talent

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Alvar Aalto

First tine i ever heard of Alvar Aalto was when i bought a vase for my wife….design by Alvar Aalto. When i got further read on and got acquainted with the person Aalto i noticed that he was a tremendous architect and a great furniture designer . That is the time i started collecting the books on Aalto and in the last decades i built a great collection of books for myself. When you are such an avid collector it happens once in a while that encounter a book which you already have in your collection and these books were the first to appear in my own store at www.ftn-books.com

( look at the similarities between the shape of the vase and the buildings)

Through the years i visited, whenever in the neighbourhood, the architectural masterpieces by Aalto in Germany, but never had the chance to go to Finland where the main part of his buildings is to be found. Maybe in the future, but in the meantime i have my Aalto books.

So check my store when you are collecting Aalto or architectural books and maybe you can complete your collection with the ones on offer.