It was in the early Eighties that i learned of the Minimal Art collection and history of the Haags Gemeentemuseum.
Crucial for the collection was the interest of almost all modern art curators in Minimal Art. Starting with Enno Develing who introduced the key artists of the Minimal Art scene for the first time in a large exhibition in 1968. Among them Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Carl Andre and of course Sol LeWitt. Many of them would receive solo prentations in the years to follow, but this first time was a breakthrough for Minimal Art. The catalogue is arare book nowadays and i am lucky to have a copy for sale at www.ftn-books.com
After this first exhibition many exhibitions would follow. Enno Develing, Flip Bool, Rudi Fuchs and Franz Kaiser all took an interest in Minimal Art and because of this interest , exhibitions with LeWitt, Andre and Judd were organized in the decades after this first 1968 Minimal Art exhibition. I doubt that none was as important as this very first one, because after this first one Minimal Art was established as an art form, but another aspect that makes this first ( Develing ) exhibition important is that the relationship between the Gemeentemuseum and these artist was not only an artistic one. The museum and its curators became friends with practically all Minimal Art artists, resulting in an ever growing collection of Minimal Art.
There is a nice link to a tribute to Sol LeWitt to be found over here:
Rudi Fuchs was the admirer and curator who convinced Donald Judd to have a large retrospective at the van Abbemuseum. Judd had his entrance into the dutch Museum scene with Enno Develing who had organized, with all important minimal art artists, exhibitions at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in the Sixties . Judd was one of them and since the popularity of Minimal Art in the Netherlands grew steadily. The van Abbemuseum made an exhibition with Judd in 1987, after which exhibitions another one with Judd, Fuchs and Jitta was held on the prints by Donald Judd at the Gemeentemuseum. It was one of the last exhibitions Rudi Fuchs curated for the van Abbemuseum before he switched to the Gemeentemuseum as a director and made this print exhibition. Fuchs was a great fan, because together with the print exhibition he ordered furniture, desks and even a complete parquet floor all done by Judd of which only the floor remains at the Escher Museum at the Paleis Lange Voorhout location. The rest “disappeared” , was damaged, or was sold during the last 2 decades.
The blog is to point out that this is an important catalogue which is now available at www.ftn-books.com together with some other publications. As mentioned …Enno Develing wast the first European curator who presented the Minimal Art movement and his artists at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. Here is the extremely important catalogue of this exhibition which i gladly make available for my readers. Click the MINIMAL ART link below and read the PDF version of this rare and very important catalogue.
It looks like Donald Judd publications are getting more rare every month. Since his tragic death in 1994 no more “original” exhibition publications have been published. Of course there are some retrospective ones on the market, but the original ones during his lifetime are harder and harder to find. www.ftn-books.com is therefore proud to have 2 of these rare publications available in pristine condition. First there is the van Abbemuseum catalogue from 1987. The book served as a catalogue for 4 venues of which the van Abbemuseum was the most impiortant one because the exhibition was curated by Rudi Fuchs. Secondly there is the Donald Judd / Prints and Works in ecitions published by Schellmann , which even is shrink wrapped. This is rare opportunity to acquire these rare and highly collectable Judd publications for your collection.
Jan Maarten Voskuil was my personal discovery during the auction of the Klein Breteler collection last month. Immediately that i saw his monochrome “paintings” i got excited. These paintings have a quality which reminded me of a combination of both Donald Judd and Ellsworth Kelly. Two artist i admire very much and both artists are among the most important ones from last century. That standing is not for Jan Maarten Voskuil yet, but look as his approach to his paintings and the way he prepares the works to reach the ultimate result with the finished work and conclude that it is a question of time that he will be presented as one of the great contemporary minimal painters. These works shine with their simplicity and are in the meantime complex to execute. In every work he uses only one color to make a monochrome work, but put some together and the result is a multi colored wall with Voskuil works.
It was my luck that i could purchase one of the works at the Breteler auction. It was the lot. 152 titled “Wat een toeval” from 2009.
Originally this was made for the LADE PROJEKT of gallery Phoebus and because of the height of the drawers, the dimensions of the work itself were limited, but it still has all the qualities the works of Voskuil contain. A mochrome white surface and assembled from 3 different parts combine into a fascinating painting
www.ftn-books.com has no books on Voskuil , but i know that there is one book titled “Getting to a point” which is well worth reading and to have in your collection of Minimal art books ISBN. 978-90-811487-3-3
The Sikkens foundation chooses every year an artist for their prestigious Sikkens Award and in 1993 the honor was Donald Judd’s. He received the award for his entire oeuvre and delivered a lecture/speech on the subject and the importance of Piet Mondriaan on that occasion. The title “SOME ASPECTS OF COLOR IN GENERAL AND RED AND BLACK IN PARTICULAR”. For years i tried to find the little book which was published on that occasion and presented to the invited audience. A beautiful little book , cahier stitching, designed by Rutger Fuchs, with a typical Donald Judd cover and finally i have found one for www.ftn-books.com. The book is not the perfect copy i would have wished for. On a scale from 1 to 10 i would rate it as 7.5 ,but given the fact that only about 400 copies have been published this is the best copy which is on the market at this moment and possibly the only one for a long time to come available and for sale, because these are scarce and extremely hard to find.
So if you think the Judd publication is a “ghost” publication….it is not ! It is real!. Here is a short impression.
There was a time that the Escher Museum at the Lange Voorhout functioned as a modern art dependance of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. Rudi Fuchs initiated this by convincing the municipality of the Hague, that the town was in need of an extra Modern Art museum. A little like the Castello di Rivoli near Torino, where he curated the first exhibitions. Decorated with an original Donald Judd floor, the setting was perfect for modern art. Responsible for the project was John Sillevis who invited some friend artists to exhibit in the palace. One of them Jean-Charles Blais. Together with this exhibition a catalogue was published , which was designed by one of the very best at that time….Gracia Lebbink. Beautiful cahier stiching, printed by Lecturis this is a true gem of a catalogue. Since many exhibitions have been held in the palace but few were as impressive as the Blais exhibition.
Jean-Charles Blais was born in Nantes (Loire-Atlantique) on October 22, 1956. At the tender age of eighteen he enroled at the “École des Beaux-Arts” in Rennes, where he studied for a total of five years. Since the early 1980s Jean-Charles Blais studied the work of the Nouveaux Réalistes, Pop-Art and Arte Povera of Mario Merz, especially the works of the so-called “affiches arrachées”, which had a fundamental influence on Blais’ work. This work, which is determined by the choice of material used to carry the picture, marked his departure to a new kind of painting. On the basis of torn-off advertising posters which are then stuck on top of each other in multiple layers, Jean-Charles Blais developed a pictorial language, that was less interested in the suface of the two-dimensionally formulated message and more concerned with the space articulated “behind” the surface. The multilayered nature of the material and the view to the incidental edges and creases create associative structures. On their basis Jean-Charles Blais created representational motifs, figurative elements, houses and animals, plants and tools on the back. Thanks to numerous solo exhibitions in France and later also in Germany and the USA, Jean-Charles Blais’ works became known to a larger audience during the eighties. His first large-scale work in a public space attracted a great deal of attention in 1990: Jean-Charles Blais was commissioned to design the Paris Metro station “Assemblé Nationale”. In 1996 the “Telephone Booths” project for the “Thinking Print” exhibition of the Museum of Modern Art in New York followed. Digital technologies and new materials have been in the centre of Blais’ creative work since the turn of the millennium.
Mullican is possibly more known and appreciated in Europe than in the US. Born in Santa Monica / California in 1951 he had part of his artistic education in the Netherlands and it was here and in Belgium that he received his first exhibitions. Flip Bool, curator at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in the mid eighties acquired a large Matt Mullican for the collection of the Gemeentemuseum and this, together with a beautiful and impressive Donald Judd garden sculpture were 2 of the acquisitions i admired very much at that time and over the years both have proven to be important and valuable additions to the collections of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.
His work is concerned with systems of knowledge, meaning, language, and signification. Mullican also works with the relationship between perception and reality, between the ability to see something and the ability to represent it.
Mullican work is still very appealing to me. But unfortunately executed on a scale that is hard for a private collector to add this to their collections. It is executed at a scale that needs space, museum space or a large office hall space and therefore for me only to be admired at a distance. Only one publication on Mullican is available at www.ftn-books.com. But it is an important one in a limited edition by Imschoot.
Time to dedicate a blog to another icon of minimal art, but not only minimalism , but also Land Art was one of the key parts within his oeuvre. Robert Morris was one of the central figures of Minimalism. Through both his own sculptures of the 1960s and theoretical writings, Morris set forth a vision of art pared down to simple geometric shapes stripped of metaphorical associations, and focused on the artwork’s interaction with the viewer. However, in contrast to fellow Minimalists Donald Judd and Carl Andre, Morris had a strikingly diverse range that extended well beyond the Minimalist ethos and was at the forefront of other contemporary American art movements as well, most notably, Process art and Land art. Through both his artwork and his critical writings, Morris explored new notions of chance, temporality, and ephemerality. This makes him one of the most important contemporary American artists alive. As early as the early sixties thre has been an interest in his minimal and land art in the Netherlands. The Kroller Muller, Stedelijk Museum and van Abbemuseum all held exhibitions on Morris. Some of these publications are still available at www.ftn-books.com. Lately the interest in his works has decreased, but that does not mean that his projects are not epic. This is an artists of whom people say in the 23rd century…….a true visionary.
Marfa Texas…that is where the Chinati Foundation is settled. The Foundation was an initiative by Donald Judd who founded this in 1979. Since buildings were eerected and exhibitions were being held with friends and admired artists. There were exhibitions with works by John Chamberlain, an installation by Dan Flavin occupying six former army barracks, and works by Carl Andre, Ingólfur Arnarsson, Roni Horn, Ilya Kabakov, Richard Long, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, David Rabinowitch, and John Wesley. Each artist’s work is installed in a separate building on the museum’s grounds.
One of the main buildings is called the Arena. It was built in the 1930s as a gymnasium for the soldiers at Fort D.A. Russell. After the fort closed in 1946, the gym floor was torn up for the wood, and sand was laid to provide an indoor arena for horses. In the mid 1980s, Judd restored the building, which was largely dilapidated. Judd left the long strips of concrete that had originally supported the wooden floor, and filled the intervening spaces with gravel. For practical considerations, Judd poured a large concrete area by the kitchen at the south end, and a smaller area at the north end of the building’s interior. These two areas comprise half of the total area of the building. Judd also added a sleeping loft and designed the outer courtyard, which includes areas for eating, bathing, and a barbecue. There are two works by David Rabinowitch installed in the building: one on the ground floor (Elliptical Plane in 3 Masses and 4 Scales, 1971-72) and one in the loft (6-Sided Bar, III, 1969). These works are on long-term loan from the Judd Foundation.
Chinati is like a Disney park for the Minimal art admirer. Everything breathes Minimal Art and the Judd designs make it even more special. There are some very nice Donald Judd books available at www.ftn-books.com including one publication by the Chinati foundation.
I chose these 3 artists to tell you something on Minimal Art in the Netherlands. These 3 artists were the first to be invited to have an exhibition on Minimal Art in 1968,. The exhibition was curated by Enno Develing and the catalogue published with this exhibition has become one of the rarest of dutch museum catalogues from the last half century. I am fortunate to still have it available in PDF, because this one was so rare i decided, at the time i was working as a bookseller/publsher for the Haags Gemeentemuseum to buy one to turn it into PDF files and so making it available for collectors and visitors. Thanks to Ap Gewald, who had the original copy and lent it to me for this purpose, this project became possible. A good decision, because it has become a very hard to find catalogue and because of its importance it is still available for students and collectors alike in PDF.
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For all customers ordering in the next week, i make this catalogue available on request and sent it by Wetransfer. But because of this long time relation of these 3 artists, all three of them have made special editions with the museum shop. Sol LeWitt made painted tiles, Carl Andre small copper plates in editions of 1/1 and Donald Judd, made brightly colored furniture for the bookshop in the early nineties. Of course these products are all completely sold out, but what is still available, but is increasingly becoming more scarce every day, is the Museum publications and artist books by these artists. Specially Sol LeWitt works are harder to find each
month, but i am proud to have one of the 1972 editions by Sol LeWitt in my inventory. It is the Macerata edition of 8 original /signed silkscreens by Sol LeWiit in its original white plastic container.
Artist/ Author: Oliver Boberg
Title : Memorial
Publisher: Oliver Boberg
Measurements: Frame measures 51 x 42 cm. original C print is 35 x 25 cm.
signed by Oliver Boberg in pen and numbered 14/20 from an edition of 20