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James Brown (1951)

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Of course James Brown deserves a blog. It is one of those artists who has become important for us Europeans since he has had exhibitions in the Netherlands ( Livingstone gallery ao) and Belgium in the last few decades in which we could see his paintings . Some of these catalogues are available at www.ftn-books.com. What follows now is the information you can find on Brown on Wikipedia.

Born in Los Angeles, California, he received at BFA from Immaculate Heart College, Hollywood. He then spent years in Paris, and attended the Ecole Superieure des Beaux Arts, Paris, France. He rebelled against the classical training there, which he considered irrelevant, but stayed as he wanted to stay in Paris. Tours of Europe seeing renaissance and especially medieval painting of Italy influenced his work. During the 1980s, his paintings, mixing the modernist tradition of painterly application and adherence to the picture surface with clear influences from tribal art. In the early 1980s he began exhibiting in New York, and in this decade this work became a hit in the galleries and art press, sharing a look with the Bad Painting and young neo-expressionism of the East Village painters of the time. On 12 September 1987 he married Alexandra Condon, who was studying History of Art at NYU at the time. They had known each other for little more than ten years. Despite some time on the East and West coast of New York, he continued to live in Paris. With the fading of the East Village art scene he had increasingly shown in European galleries, where his work was now seen in the context of a post-war European modernism in the tradition of Jean Dubuffet. James and Alexandra had their first child, Degenhart Maria Grey Brown, on 24 September 1989 in New York. In 1991 their second boy, Cosmas And Damian Maria Todosantos Brown, was born on 6 June in Paris. On 16 April 1993, their daughter was born, Dagmar Maria Jane Brown, in New York. In 1995 he moved out to the valley of Oaxaca (Mexico) with his family, where they lived in a hacienda for nine years. During that time, James Brown continued exhibiting in Europe, the United States and Mexico. He and his wife collaborated with various artists, making rugs in a village in the mountains of Oaxaca. The rugs were made in the traditional Mexican fashion, weaved by hand on large wooden frames. Jamaes and Alexandra then decided to start making books with artists, so they started Cape Diem Press. Like the rugs, these books are printed in Oaxaca using old-fashioned and traditional methods. The books are printed in limited editions, and Carpe Diem Press continues to collaborate with artists. In 2004, they moved to the city of Mérida, in the Yucatán. Since then James Brown has been spending much time in Europe, exhibiting his work in France, Germany, Italy and Holland. He has been working mostly in Paris.

His work has taken on several styles over the years, but maintains a hand-made look combining concerns of the modernist tradition with motifs and spiritual interests from tribal art. Much of his work is a non-realistic but contains depictions or signs of recognizable faces or objects. More recently he has done more in an abstract mode. However, the line between representation and abstraction is often a difficult one in his work, such as his more recent “Firmament Series” – abstract canvases that can also be read as referring to constellations or stars, or groups of rocks. Besides paintings Brown has also produced sculptures and series of prints at various points in his career, and in the 1990s started to heavily utilize collage. Drawing and other unique works on paper have been important to his artistic development and production. In an Artforum review of a 25-year retrospective, Martha Schwendener noted “The works range from abstract gouaches to biomorphic and figurative watercolors to collages that update the synthetic Cubist experiments of Picasso and Braque.

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Theo Eissens (1952-2015)

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I had never heard of Theo Eissens until i received the catalogue by Eissens SPRING BRUNNEN, which is now available at www.ftn-books.com. He photographs his surroundings and alters it by putting colored grids as an overlay on his photgraphs. It makes the works having a typical Eissens signature.

The catalogue which is for sale is the 2008 catalogue, but on 22 March 2015 the exhibition Theo Eissens – Berlin Calling opened at the Livingstone gallery with a series of new works: unique silkscreened images on canvas of abandoned and burdened places in and around Berlin.
Berlin played an important role in the life of Theo Eissens (Amsterdam 1952-2015). The title of this publication refers to the frequent trips he made from Amsterdam to Berlin and vice versa, and the recurrent long and short periods he lived and worked there, starting in 1992.
He worked at the Bethanien ( the same place as RONALD DE BLOEME worked at ) and exhibited with artists like A.R. Penck and Bruce McLean (1996, Galerie im Parlement, Druckwerkstatt Bethanien, Berlin) and was able to immerse himself in German (art)history.


In 2004 his focus shifted from prints on paper to works on canvas and wood panel. His ‘new’ concept involved photography combined with abstract and geometric shapes in acrylic paint. His extensive experience with printing techniques enabled him to use a silkscreen to literally transfer a photograph onto canvas and merge the image with parts painted in acrylic.
This development in his work led to the 2008 catalogue and exhibition Spring Brunnen. .

In 2015 Theo Eissens died unexpectedly, leavind us an important but small collection of impressive art works.

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Arie van Geest (1948)

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Without realizing i have collected a beautiful small collection with works by Arie van Geest. Born in Maasland he stayed in the region and had several studios in Rotterdam. The friendship with Pat Andrea shows in his early works which were a little surreal, but in the mid eighties he changed in the approach of his painting. His works became abstract with realistic elements and that is the time i met Arie and bought my first drawing. Together with Mariette Josephus Jitta, as the curator in charge, he made the Tableau Mourant exhibition in which 98 watercolors were shown. This series was later bought by the van Gogh Museum. For the exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum 2 editions were made. One “ordinary edition” designed by Paul Stoute and the other a linnen bound one, with a drawing/watercolor by van Geest.

The style changed dramatically and personally i prefer this “new” Arie van Geest above his more realistic style. He stayed loyal to this new found abstract style for almost 20 years and changed again to a more a realistic way of painting in 2002. All three periods are important, but when you look at the museums that bought Arie van Geest ( Gemeentemuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Boymans van Beuningen ) , They all made their acquisitions in the abstract period, except for the Athens Museum which made purchases from his most recent period. Arie van Geest was represented by Delta Gallery. He now has frequent shows with Livingstone gallery.  I have decided to sell part of my Arie van Geest works, so please have a look at FTN art and for the book related material visit www.ftn-books.com

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John van ‘t Slot ( 1949)

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We have met, but mr.van ‘t Slot does not remember and neither do i have any remembrance of our meeting, because it was at the beginning of my career with the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and i was a rookie in the art world. Exhibitions were held with promising artists and John van ‘t Slot was one them. Gerrit Jan de Rook curated the cycle of exhibitions called KEUS VAN DE KUNSTENAAR. Three of these were held in the early eighties with artists like Maarten Ploeg, Piet Dieleman, Panamarenko, Piet Dirkx and of course John van ‘t Slot. My first impression…. his works looked strange with horses and figures in a landscape , but over the years they grow upon you and eventually you admire these paintings and in the end i was fortunate to finally acquire a large early painting for FTN art which is now up for sale.

Van ‘t Slot is part of a mouvement called in the Netherlands the NIEUWE WILDEN. The same as their counterparts in Germany DIE NEUE WILDEN. In the eighties he was one of the artists that emerged and rose above others. Together with Rene Daniels and Marlene Dumas he was one of the chosen artists for the exhibition STOP MAKING SENSE, which showed the highlights in painting in the eighties and was presented in the Dordrechts Museum

www.ftn-books.com has excellent publications on John van ‘t Slot

and please take a look at the impressive painting by John van ‘t Slot FTN art has for sale.

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Ruri Matsumoto (1981)

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Sometimes you encounter works by an artist for which you have an instant liking and admiration. This is the case with Ruri Matsumoto. She was born in Tokyo and had her education in Japan and Germany. This is where she followed lessons with Helmut Federle and Markus Lupertz a.o.. She stayed after her education in Germany and now has her own studio in Dusseldorf, which she will leave for a temporary studio in Berlin until January 2018.

Her works are characterized by the use of  very bright colors and are compositions of almost random like patterns formed with tape, but look more closely….. you will find layers of abstract constructivist forms making a spectacular work of art. Of course art is always something personal and subjective, but i like these paintings very much and because there is this rare chance to see her works at Livingstone Gallery i write this blog to let you know that until the 4th of November some of her works are on show in the PAINTING NOW exhibition, curated by Jan Wattjes.

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To get an excellent impression of her works please visit:

https://www.rurimatsumoto.com and of course http://www.livingstonegallery.nl/home

for the information on the exhibition at Livingstone gallery in The Hague

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Raquel Maulwurf ….continued (1975)

I now followed her career for over 10 years and was lucky to acquire some nice small works for our collection. She still amazes with her works in black and white turning horrid events into beautiful , almost abstract works of art.  The large special project teh CARBON WAR ROOM “retrospective” at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag ended last weekend. Online you still have a possibility to get an impression.

https://www.gemeentemuseum.nl/nl/tentoonstellingen/raquel-maulwurf-carbon-war-room

Raquel Maulwurf (Madrid, 1975) developed the installation ‘The Carbon War Room’ especially for the Gemeentemuseum. It arose from the desire to physically create the depth that is evoked in her charcoal drawings in three-dimensions. By working with a very large format and creating wall drawings that cover several walls, she previously captured the feeling of ‘walking into a drawing’. This third dimension was also added literally from the moment she began scratching the museum board she uses for her drawings with a box cutter. The installation in the museum’s Projects Gallery enables Maulwurf to take the final step.

The Carbon War room was a project specially done for the Gemeentemuseum, but can be placed everywhere in the world and consists of the objects and subjects which are very typical for her work.This is an artist who impresses and shows us a world of “beauty” and ” horror” at the same time.

Some titles on Raquel Maulwurf are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Arnulf Rainer (1929)….übermalungen and OUTSIDER ART/ ART BRUT

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This what you first think of when you think of Arnulf Rainer…. he was the first to make ….übermalungen/overpaintings.

And has become world famous with them. Because of this fame and entrance to many collections and art dealers he has become probably the most important collector of Outsider art.

Ever since the early 1960s, he has been collecting Outsider Art: work by people on the fringes of society, including psychopaths, schizophrenics and other mentally ill people.

Arnulf Rainer was still very young when he first encountered Surrealism (an art movement in which madness is regarded as the ultimate expression of creativity). The experience motivated him to collect documents and photographs relating to art and mental illness. Rainer decided to train at the Academy of Art in Vienna, but abandoned the course almost instantly when he found that the teaching staff regarded his art as degenerate. An encounter with Breton, the founding father of Surrealism, also proved disappointing. These experiences in the early 1950s confirmed his belief that he needed to seek inspiration far outside the walls of the established art world. He developed his well-known ‘übermalungen’ (overpaintings), in which he reworked the surface of paintings or drawings by himself or by fellow artists.

In the 1960s he began purchasing works of what would later be dubbed Outsider Art or Art Brut. Via his Czech wife, a psychiatrist, he bought works of art from psychiatric institutions in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. In Vienna, he became friendly with psychiatrist Dr Leo Navratil, who was working at the Klosterneuburg Hospital (now known as Guggin) and offering talented patients, such as Hauser, the chance to concentrate on their art full-time. Rainer bought drawings and paintings by Guggin artists. Navratil in his turn held exhibitions and produced publications and invited Rainer to speak at international medical conferences.

In the early 1960s, Rainer made various drawings while experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs and alcohol to produce a state of mental confusion. He also became interested in the ‘catatonic phenomena’ – the voluntary adoption of bizarre and inappropriate attitudes – sometimes associated with schizophrenia. In 1968 he made his first ‘Face Farces’: black-and-white photographs showing himself in all sorts of uncomfortable positions, with his face contorted into a variety of grimaces, the contours and lines of the image being accentuated with felt-tip and chalk. If you consider the influence of outsider art to the works of Rainer himself , you must conclude that the influence is very strong, but that the Rainer art stands on its own.

There are some very nice Arnulf Rainer titles to be found on www.ftn-books.com

 

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Raquel Maulwurf (1975)

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Raquel Maulwurf at the Livingstone gallery Photograph taken from FLAK/AAA

I first discovered Raquel Maulwurf, after she had her solo exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, at the Livingstone gallery in Den Haag. Large and small canvasses with charcoal drawings depicting scenes from war and destruction. ( one the book titles of her is DRAWN TO DESTRUCTION).Inspired by war (action) photographs she transforms these black and white pictures into large paintings and drawings and because of their size and intensity ( these are all executed in black and white) they impress you immediately. Now the Gemeentemuseum has made a project with her ….titled :

RAQUEL MAULWURF – THE CARBON WAR ROOM

PROJECTS GALLERY GEMEENTEMUSEUM DEN HAAG

Raquel Maulwurf (Madrid, 1975) developed the installation ‘The Carbon War Room’ especially for the Gemeentemuseum. It arose from the desire to physically create the depth that is evoked in her charcoal drawings in three-dimensions. By working with a very large format and creating wall drawings that cover several walls, she previously captured the feeling of ‘walking into a drawing’. This third dimension was also added literally from the moment she began scratching the museum board she uses for her drawings with a box cutter. The installation in the museum’s Projects Gallery enables Maulwurf to take the final step.

https://www.gemeentemuseum.nl/nl/tentoonstellingen/raquel-maulwurf-carbon-war-room

Impressive project and a must see for her admirers and for all interested in great modern art. What i do not understand is that almost the same scene is used for the invitation as the one on page 21 of her book “Drawn to destruction”.The one in the book is turned 90 degrees if compared to the one depicted on the invitation….different title /different year, but almost 100% identical …..which one is the right one?…who can help?

Because of my personal interest in her works i have some nice titles available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Mark Brusse… “the blue shed”

About 4 weeks ago there was an auction at Venduehuis in which the complete company collection of Imtech was sold. Among the lots were several works by Mark Brusse. There was this one painting called the BLUE SHED which was very impressive . Excellent and because of its simplicity spectacular. The outlines of a blue shed and in the background just one sombre color made it very powerful. Yesterday, i remembered the painting and decided to list the small collection of Mark Brusse titles i bought last year from a collector. Some rather obscure titles among them and because of these special titles, they should be of interest to other collectors.

Take a peek at them and go to www.ftn-books.com for more information.

wilfried