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 http://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

Co Westerik (1924)

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One of the last grand “old” masters of the dutch Art scene. Of course C ( Jacobus) Westerik has had his exhibitions abroad, but beside the Netherlands, germany and Belgium his name is not that well known. I met Westerik at the time he was making the portrait of Theo van Velzen. One of the former directors of the Haags Gemeentemuseum. The portrait was presented as a farewell present when van Velzen resigned to be hung in a gallery with portraits of other former directors. A small portrait which he managed to squeeze in and complete it in between 2 other paintings. His canvasses are not too big , but they are scarce because Westerik has a very small production yearly. I really do not know if he still is active as a painter, but at the time the van Velzen portrait was made , his production was 3 paintings a year. All were sold up front to collectors and museums. Among them Frits Becht (1930-2006) .He was the private collector with the largest Westerik collection .

He who was a personal friend for his entire life and followed his career through the years and bought many works. beside a painter Westerik was also known for his graphics in which he excelled. His production as a graphic artist was much much larger and there are almost a thousand different prints known by him. Westerik is a very important artist for dutch art and because i followed him over the years www.ftn-books.com has many publications on Westerik available.

A short documentary on Westerik can be found at this address: http://hollandsemeesters.info/posts/show/7738

Mario Merz (1925-2003)

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This was the first photograph i encountered on the Net of Mario Merz and i instantly was frightened. Here is an angry man if ever there was one. Mario Merz works are on show in the van Abbemuseum and the Stedelijk Museum and at the time Rudi Fuchs was director of the Haags Gemeentemuseum , there was one work on loan. What struck me at that time was the lightness and transparency of the works. Larger sized and as a work of art these works were changing the rooms in which they were shown and interacting with the space they were presented in. There is a nice example of such a presentation in the Castello de Rivoli in Torino which first exhibitions were also curated by Rudi Fuchs.

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These works take time for an art lover to be appreciated, but when you do so. There is no artist equal to Mario Merz and you forget about the “angry” old man in the photographs , but only see the sheer beauty of the works he created.

There ares ome nice examples of Mario Merz catalogues availabel at www.ftn-books.com including the first series of catalogues on the Castello di Rivoli project by Rudi Fuchs.