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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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Fausto Melotti (1901-1986) and Paul Klee

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One of the nicest and arguably best published catalogues i discovered recently is the catalogue which was published on the occasion of the KLEE-MELOTTI exhibition at the Musea d’Arte in the city of Lugano ( Suisse) in 2013. Personally i think the Suisse excel in their exhibitions and their catalogues which are published with these exhibitions. Take Zurich, Bern, Basel and Lugano. All cities house tremendous beautiful museums and each of them has its specialities.

This Klee-Melotti Catalogue fascinates in 383 pages and shows the relations between both artists. I did not know Melotti that well because i rarely encounter publications on him, but as soon as i laid my eyes on his works he became an instant favorite. His rows of staged sculptures look to have no connection at all, but look closely and they become one sculpture….

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i really love an artist who works in this way. For me Piet Dirkx has the same qualities. Dirkx combines objects and colors and present them as one sculpture.

The Klee-Melotti catalogue is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Klee / Kupka and music

 

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Two totally different painters with a complete different background. Both rose to fame in the Interbellum and booth were very much inspired by music and the rhythm of it.

In a time that exhibitions were developed around a theme. btw. the Spiritual in Art was such an exhibition, one of the most iconic exhibitions of the Eighties was presented in Germany. its name VOM KLANG DER BILDER. An exhibition in which the relation between music , sounds and rhythm and the influence they had on paintings was tried to be explained. It is for certain that music has been of influence to artists and both Klee and Kupka were the artist who made paintings in relation to music . Kupka is perhaps the artist who has been influenced by Music the most, but certainly Paul Klee has become known for his music inspired paintings and drawings.

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Klee perceived a clear visual connection to the structural articulations found in music. Focusing on polyphony and counterpoint, Klee produced his watercolor Fugue in Red in 1921.

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This early attempt to achieve a synthesis between music and art exposes a number of floating forms, either figurative or as abstract derivations. Overlapping shapes float over a two-dimensional surface, with the temporal aspect graphically represented by a gradual shift in color. Moving from the dark background to maximum transparency, the visualized counterpoint combines in a cosmic harmony that reaches towards a new sense of spirituality. Although essentially structural in approach, this painting embodies Klee’s believe in “harmony, autonomy, and universality in humankind.” As a musician and a painter, Klee essentially created a harmonious arrangement that echoes a universal order. www.ftn-books.com has on both artists several publications available.

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Ben Shahn (1898-1969)

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Ben Shahn  is one of the older Modern Painters emerging in the 40’s and 50’s from the American art scene. Jewish background and born in Russia. After his marriage to mrs Goldstein he travelled North Africa and the great museums in Europe and this shows, because from that date the influence of Klee and Picasso can be recognized in his works. Later he developed a style of his own in which color was an important aspect in his paintings.

Shahn mixed different genres of art. His body of art is distinctive for its lack of traditional landscapes, still lifes, and portraits. Shahn used both expressive and precise visual languages, which he united through the consistency of his authoritative line. His background in lithography contributed to his devotion to detail Shahn is also noted for his use of unique symbolism, which is often compared to the imagery in Paul Klee’s drawings. While Shahn’s “love for exactitude” is apparent in his graphics, so too is his creativity. In fact, many of his paintings are inventive adaptations of his photography and that is an aspect i did not know before. The Ben Shahn catalogue designed by Willem Sandberg for the Stedelijk Museum and available at www.ftn-books.com shows exactly why i think Shahn is one of the more important painters from last century.

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Herbert Bayer (1900-1985)

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Herbert Bayer is forgotten by many, but he definitely is one of the most important designers/artists from last century. He studied at the Bauhaus and was at one time educated by Kandinsky and Klee.

In the spirit of reductive minimalism, Bayer developed a crisp visual style and adopted use of all-lowercase, sans serif typefaces for most Bauhaus publications.[3] Bayer is one of several typographers of the period including Kurt Schwitters and Jan Tschichold who experimented with the creation of a simplified more phonetic-based alphabet. From 1925 to 1930 Bayer designed a geometric sans-serif Proposal for a Universal Typeface[1] that existed only as a design and was never actually cast into real type.[4] These designs are now issued in digital form as Bayer Universal.[2] The design also inspired ITC Bauhaus and Architype Bayer, which bears comparison with the stylistically related typeface Architype Schwitters.

Then his life changed drastically. In 1944 Bayer married Joella Syrara Haweis, the daughter of poet and Dada artist Mina Loy. The same year, he became a U.S. citizen. The result….Many lost interest in the works by Bayer, he did some typography and made some fonts, but gained again some importance in collecting over 30.000 works of art for the ARCO company. Still Herbert Bayer is recognized again as one of the more important artists from the Bauhaus era and this means his works start to grow in importance again.

www.ftn-books.com has some Bayer titles available.