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Alik Cavaliere (1926-1998)

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Day 2 of the forgotten artists blog is this one on Alik Cavaliere. Without knowing it, i first encountered his works because of an exhibition which was organized by the Haags Gemeentemuseum in 1967 of which some catalogues were left. The stack of catalogues was removed and destroyed from our inventory, because no buyers could be found for these “old” catalogues. Decades later, i was lucky to find the obscure special edition of this catalogue which had a special , signed and dated print included. ( the catalogue is for sale at www.ftn-books.com) and it struck me that his art is so playful and even a little avant-garde and can be appreciated by practically all interested.

The etching is of an excellent playful quality and shows his strength as an artist. His bronzes…. just compare them to Guido Geelen’s tulip and you see that 40 years before Geelen , Cavaliere made his bronzes of flowers too and they are far less expensive than the ones by Geelen which are now sought after by collectors worldwide.

cavaliere is an artist who had its fame in the Fifties and Sixties ut was forgotten after that. He still had in his years of fame worldwide exhibitions in Italy, Hungary and the US and perhaps it is time now to appreciate his art once again and show it to a new public. A younger public who discover Alik Cavaliere.

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Piet Dirkx….and now for something completely….special.

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Readers following the “Piet Dirkx daily” know of my admiration for Piet’s his work.

We now have had over 600 cigarboxes and another 300 works to come. Among them cigarboxes, large paintings on wood and works on paper. Within the last category you will find the special of today. Piet made in 2005 some drawings/ gouaches to be sold in the shop of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and yes….i bought 3 of them and because i can only hang 2 from those three, i decided to sell the one that is still in one of my drawers.

Piet Dirkx, compositie, 2005
Piet Dirkx, compositie, 2005

It is certainly not the least out of those three and because if had first pick from the set which was to be sold i chose what i think were the best. Here it is …..A drawing like a series of open books and buildings, with a typical Piet Dirks mouth drawn in pencil upon them. Colorful, detailed and executed on perfectly square paper . It is the ideal Piet Dirkx composition upon a limited surface. (29,8 x 29,8 cm.)

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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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Jan Cremer (1940)

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I only met him once. It was at the time we had a meeting and discussed an exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum . We all sat down at the Library and together with all the staff involved we discussed the event. Across the room there were Jan Cremer and Babette. I remember that Babette had a clear vision of what had to be done to make the exhibition a success, but this was of course not the only time Jan Cremer and the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag had plans. There has always been a connection between Jan Cremer and Den Haag. The first is that he studied at the academy, buying his paint on the Hoefkade and exchanging his paintings for tubes of paint.

cremer fa a

One of these paintings is for sale at FTN art and secondly because he was one of the youngest, possibly the youngest artist that belonged to the Posthoorngroep and exhibited at the location of the Posthoorn. Others like Hussem and Nanninga were more important at that time , but the young Cremer soon found his place among them . His “barbaric” art was young and new and he had a good nose for publicitiy. His 1 million Gulden painting was discussed in practically all the newspapers in the early sixties, never found a buyer, but made his name as one of the young promessing artists. Later his name would be on everybody’s lips because of the controversial book  “Ik Jan Cremer” , which was an artistic and commercial success.

But never forget that Cremer is in the first place a painter, which he still proves everyday at 77. He still is the young man he once was, but with one difference …his painting has matured. www.ftn-books has some titles available on Jan Cremer.

 

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Hubert de Givenchy (1927-2018)

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This morning i learned that one of the great fashion designers died.  At the time i was working at the Haags Gemeentemuseum, the curator Ietse Mey, organized an exhibition of the fashion by de Givenchy worn by Audrey Hepburn and to enhance the exhibition a film festival was organized at the Filmmuseum with fashion worn by Audrey Hepburn in the movies. At the occasion of the opening i saw both celebrities and it struck me, that even as mrs. Hepburn was already ill at that time, she looked radiant and beautiful. The show was a huge success and one of the first in a long line of fashion exhibitions which were held at the museum. The catalogue is of course completely sold out , but sometimes you will encounter a copy on the book markets. If you find one….do not hesitate to buy it, because it is rare. An edition of only 1000 copies means that it was sold out almost instantly and it was never reprinted.

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Blouin has done an excellent biography on de Givenchy. Here is the text of it and if you are looking for more de Givenchy, Hepburn, LVMH /Louis Vuitton publications check www.ftn-books.com

Tributes continue to come in to Hubert de Givenchy, the French couturier whose elegance defined the 1950s and 1960s and the style of Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn and more. Givenchy died at the age of age 91 in his sleep on Saturday; his death was announced by his namesake fashion house. During his lifetime, he had received the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur in 1983, and a lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1995.

Givenchy was born in 1927 to a religious aristocratic family. He learned the couture “métier” from working for Jacques Fath, Robert Piguet, Lucien Lelong, and Elsa Schiaparelli, before founding his own namesake label. Givenchy would later establish his Parisian atelier across the street from Cristóbal Balenciaga, who was his dear friend and his longtime role model. He was also influenced by Madame Grès and Christian Dior, and inspired by artists. He notably created taffeta evening coats and robes du soir in homage to Joan Miró during the 1970s.

His first collection was presented in February 1952; it featured modern separates, providing more affordable and versatile options than the haute couture looks that were standard in the French fashion world in the middle of the 20th century. Nonetheless, Givenchy also made opulent and heavily embellished garments (with pearls, feathers, and ribbons), impeccable cocktail ensembles, and elegant accessories, notably sumptuous hats. He was known for dressing a wealthy, stylish clientele: Jacqueline Kennedy was a longtime client, as was Grace Kelly and the Duchess of Windsor.

The darling of the Givenchy fashion narrative, however, was Audrey Hepburn. They met when a mutual friend told the designer that Miss Hepburn was keen to be introduced, and Givenchy assumed the lady in question was Katherine Hepburn. Their friendship blossomed despite the misunderstanding, and Givenchy ended up making costumes for Audrey Hepburn’s then-upcoming film, ”Sabrina” (1954)—as well as “Funny Face” (1957), “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961), “Charade” (1963), and “How To Steal a Million” (1966). While Givenchy and Hepburn created many iconic sartorial moments on film, perhaps none rivaled the glamorous wardrobe of Holly Golightly, the onscreen heroine of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” who walked down Fifth Avenue wearing dark sunglasses, pearls, evening gloves, and a black Givenchy column dress. (In 2006, the dress was sold at a charity auction at Christie’s in London for six figures).

Givenchy was also associated with various successful perfumes: from the fruity and feminine L’Interdit (created in 1957 for Hepburn) to the heavily floral Amariage (created in 1991).

Givenchy sold his fashion house to the LVMH Group in 1988 and retired after his collection in July 1995. John Galliano succeeded him; less than two years later, he in turn was succeeded by Alexander McQueen, then Julien Macdonald. Riccardo Tisci held the reigns from 2005 until 2017, much to the original designer’s displeasure. Currently, Clare Waight Keller is the label’s Artistic Director.

In March 2016, the fashion house created an archival department to conserve and promote all garments and accessories dating from the original designer’s tenure, from 1952 to 1995. Just last year, the Museum of Lace and Fashion in Calais in northern France celebrated Givenchy’s work and presented 80 beautiful looks and accessories that spanned his career.

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Picasso and Monet in the Gemeentemuseum

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About 30 years ago Rudi Fuchs became director of the Gemeentemuseum and one of the first things he notices was the limited amount of purchase power he had in building a new collection for the Gemeentemuseum. He wanted to expand the collection with some quintessential new works which showed the importance of the collection. At that time most of the dutch museum were all collecting the same dutch artists, because there were no funds to acquire works on the international market and thus build the same kind of collection in contemporary art. Fuchs developed an idea to sell 3 of the less important major works from the collection of the Gemeentemuseum.  Being 2 Picasso paintings and the early Monet /Quai du Louvre. All important , all very well known and probably priceless at auction. These highly important works would easily fetch over 50 million USD at that time and with the interest of that sum he would ten fold his budget for purchasing art. Politics thought different, because these works were not bought by the museum but bestowed to the museum.

This morning i remembered these paintings and realized that when they had been sold , they would have been lost for the Gemeentemuseum visitors, but even more important….with an interest rate of less than 1% , there would not have been sufficient funds to acquire anything important in todays art market. Conclusion for me that it is a good thing that they were not sold and can still be admired in the gorgeous Berlage building which houses the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.

For those that are interested in the collection of the Haags Gemeentemuseum…please take a look 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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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

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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.