Another great artist who surfaced in the Sixties was Jasper Johns. Starting his career at the end of the Fifties , he soon became one of the best known and expensive artists from his generation. At one time one of his flag paintings was the first to fetch an incredible 10 Million dollars at auction, making it the most expensive painting by a living artist.
Now we are accustomed to these crazy prices collectors are paying for art, but at that time is was unbelievable that a living artist could fetch such a price. Because of his popularity Johns soon had an exhibitions in the Netherlands at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. A special print exhibition and this exhibition was for me personally the perfect one.
It was one of the first exhibitions i ever visited in the Stedelijk. I had an interest in graphic art and , young as i was, a rookie in the world of art, i had no idea of prices. I thought i could afford a small print. But no way, these were far too expensive for a young starting collector. What remains? … i still have the catalogue for sale at www.ftn-books.com and cherish it together with my personal copy. Book design was done by Wim Crouwel and it is available at www.ftn-books.com together with other Jasper Johns titles.
It is over 35 years now that i know Arja van den Berg and followed her progress in art. She stayed true to all subjects close to her. Kitchen, fruits, dogs, cats and the occasional portraits complete her oeuvre. Painting, graphics and ceramics make her work diversified as much as possible, but subjects are always found “close by” in her daily life and studio. The books and prints that www.ftn-books.com has available of her show this on every page. Somewhat romantic, very skill full and highly accessible works, make her art timeless.
One of the first graphic works i bought from my pocket money some 45 years ago was a set by Michel van Overbeeke. An artist who had his works sold by ARTA in Den Haag. Arta is no longer there. It closed it’s doors some 30 years ago, but they had a system in which they had members and made the works they commissioned with artists, available to their members. For as little as 25 guilders you could buy an original piece of art. It was in the early seventies and i was impressed by a set on the I TJING . van Overbeeke made this visible in enchanting scenes with many of his characteristic figures. van Overbeeke never changed his style very much and always stayed true to this very personal style of graphic art. He also made paintings but his strength is in his graphic work. Always small editions and in general well beneath a 100 copies printed by hand. Always signed and numbered in pencil. And sizes not bigger than 70 x 50 cm. He printed his etchings himself, colored them in many cases by hand and build a strong circle of admirers through the decades which followed the seventies in which he became quit known in the Netherlands and abroad. Sometimes these works are offered at auction. What strikes me is they are never held up and they always find a buyer. Look at these works yourself at www.michelvanoverbeeke.nl and see the “magic” of this artist. and for those looking for the book that is nowhere to be found………..