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Jean Hélion (1904-1987)

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Try to find a good portrait of Jeran Helion and you will have a hard time finding one. There is one possible explanation and that is that Jean Hélion was a modest artist. I read a little on him and he lived for his art , developing his style into a recognizable style of his own. Helion is mostly known in France , but some of his paintings found a way acroos the French border and were presented in other museums too.

In 1921, Jean Hélion moved to Paris, working as an architect’s assistant and frequenting the Louvre. While visiting the museum, he encountered the works of Nicolas Poussin and determined to switch courses and become a painter. By the mid-1920s, Hélion had entered into a milieu of artists that included Otto Freundlich and Joaquín Torres-García. Quickly transitioning from Cubism to nonobjective abstraction, the artist adopted and implemented ideologies culled from artists such as Piet Mondrian and Max Ernst. In 1940, he joined the French resistance army, was subsequently captured, and lived as a prisoner of war for the next two years. Following his release, Hélion rejected pure abstraction in favor of more figurative elements, producing paintings which harkened back to Neoclassical compositions and the works of Fernand Léger. The artist died on October 27, 1987 in Paris, France. Today, his works are held in the collections of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, the Tate Gallery in London, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, among others.

www.ftn-books.com has some Helion publications available

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Fernand Leger…wegbereider ( 1957)

If there is one book book from the Fifties published by the Stedelijk Museum and designed by Willem Sandberg, it is the catalogue no. 158…Fernand Leger / Wegbereider. The typography and book design is typical Sandberg and “stunning” and to mark the end of January this book is for a limited time (until the 5th of February) for sale for only $ 25.00 when you use the discount code “Sandbergforonly25”

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More Leger and Stedelijk Museum publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Fernand Leger (1881-1955)

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I am still in doubt for myself if i must consider Leger as one of the great artists from last century…or does he uses a ‘Trick” to compose and impress with his paintings. If one sees an extremely large sized work …it is almost in every case impressive, but as soon as it is a smaller one, the attraction is gone. I will show this with to examples. The first painting is roughly 3 x 4 meters and in the collection of the Fondation Maeght. The send is Trois Camarades in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. The first has typical figures by Leger with an abstract pattern painred over them….. a beautiful and impressive Leger. The second one, is for me far less appealing and a “flat” painting.

Make up your mind yourself on Leger , but know that there are some excellent publications available at www.ftn-books.com including a famous Sandberg designed catalogue

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La Grande Parade / Stedelijk Museum 1984

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Yesterday i stumbled upon a short note included in one of the catalogues that i have in my collection that the former owner wanted to see the exhibition La GRANDE PARADE in the Stedelijk Museum. I remembered visiting that exhibition and now almost 3 decades ago i realized that this was one of the first blockbuster exhibitions held in the Stedelijk . A great overview of Modern Art from the 20th century curated by Edy de Wilde who showed his special qualities as a collector with this exhibition and said goodbye to this collection as the director of the SM . It has probably the nicest Leger ever made in it and….Willem de Kooning….many many Willem de Kooning paintings ,who is still one of the key artists within te collection of the Stedelijk. Leafing through the catalogue one can only be amazed that so many great art was once in one place. There are not many of these exhibitions any more, because these are far too expensive to organize , but if there is one….go stand in line for a couple of hours and remember in 30 years the exhibition you visited. If it is as good as LE GRANDE PARADE it was well worth the wait. For the catalogues please visit www.ftn-books.com