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Jean Messagier (1920-1999)

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Personally i think Jean Messagier was a true Avant Garde artist. He explored paths and ways of painting well before others did and researched and developed a kind of painting which was typical for his art.

An almost spontaneous movement with the brush makes paintings and watercolors that feel organic, but these works are far from spontaneous, but well thought over works of art . It is the same as with Hans Hartung. The works look existed from some movements with pencil or brush, but designs and sketches prove that the gesture is not spontane and the result not just abstract, but a very well thought over abstract composition which is enlarged for the painting.

The same with Jean Messagier works . It is not necessary to buy an expensive painting by Messagier, because the Maeght gallery made some very nice Derriere le Miroir publication with Messagier and www.ftn-books.com has one of the most sought after CARGO publications with work by Jean Messagier available at its site.

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Pol Bury (1922-2005) and kinetic art

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Pol Bury, painter and sculptor, but his importance comes from his early participation in the Kinetic arts mouvement. It has been a long time before i appreciated Pol Bury art., but since i collected some of his Derniere Le Miroir publications by Maeght i started to know his works a little better and the time i saw one of his sculptures at Bottrop , i was convinced of the importance of Pol Bury for Modern Art. The sculpture i refer to is in the permanent collection of Bottrop and  acquired at the time of my visit the signed poster for the Bury exhibition in 1990. The poster shows the sculpture of the Bury kinetic sculpture. Like a giant flying saucer it stand in the middle of a pond , water coming out its opening. Mouvement and form , making it into a giant kinetic sculpture. This signed poster is available at www.ftn-books.com

Pol Bury about his own work:

Pol Bury: I see no point in revealing the technical details of the mechanism that drives the movement [in my sculptures]. We are too quick, nowadays, in this particular art form, to equip ourselves with the engineer’s compasses and slide rule. For me movement is a medium, like colour and line for painters. No one asks a painter for a chemical analysis of his chosen medium. The perception of movement should be immediate and obvious to the viewer; most importantly, the means used to create the animation should be invisible, and readily forgotten.

While making this blog on Bury i encountered an excellent site with many quotes on Bury and his importance. For those interested please visit:

https://www.christies.com/features/The-master-of-slowness-An-oral-history-of-Pol-Bury-6848-1.aspx

and the ones that want to inform themselves on Bury. There is a nice selection of publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

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I am not an admirer of Marc Chagall. I am even one of those art lovers that does not like Chagall at all. Except there were 2 occasions i was impressed with Chagall. I remember the first time i went to the Fondation Maeght where ” La Vie ” was on display.

This painting had everything in it. Color, abstraction, symbolism and its size made it an overwhelming experience. The second time was in France too. I visited the Reims cathedral where the glass stained windows were designed by Chagall. In this religious setting everything came together again. Like the experience in Vence i had the same experience in Rheims…an overwhelming sence of piece and joy and realisation that life is great and beautiful. On the Maeght site i found this story on Chagall and for any publications on Chagall visit www.ftn-books.com

Painter born, Moïche Zakharovitch Chagalov, 7 July, 1887 near Vitebsk, in Belarus (then part of the Russian Empire), acquired French nationality in 1937 and died 28 March, 1985 in St. Paul de Vence.

Aimé Maeght met Marc Chagall for the first time in October 1947 at the opening of his retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris organized by Jean Cassou to promote and celebrate the return of the painter after years of exile in the United States.

“Ida Chagall took me to her father’s house, and in the studio I was amazed when I discovered the gouaches painted in the United States and Mexico, sixty superb works that I had the chance to bring to rue de Téhéran. We all stopped the project for the first exhibition at the gallery. This meeting marked the beginning of our close and confident collaboration and a loyal friendship.” explained Aimé Maeght. This exhibition was held in March 1950. It was also the year that Chagall came to live in Vence near Saint-Paul.

When Marguerite and Aimé Maeght created the Foundation, they asked Chagall for a large painting for the room to be dedicated to him. The artist created La Vie  (1964, oil on canvas, 296 x 406 cm), a large swirling composition where real-life events and dreams that had always lived within the painter come together : the rabbi grandfather,  the marriage to Bella, the birth of Ida, the two exiles, the one from Russia by horse and the one to America by boat, musicians, acrobats and dancers, Paris all in blue and at the end of the path, the painter with the palette that appears to contemplate this epic that is larger than the adventure of one man. Above him, embracing him in her arms, is Vava his companion, the beneficial ally, who seems to be born of his painting to soothe the anxiety and torment of the creator.

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Saul Steinberg (1914-1999)

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What have the Maeght foundation , Museum Boymans van Beuningen and the Stedelijk Museum in common? They all three organized exhibitions with Saul Steinberg. This is what i thought of before i started to look at information on the internet and found the foundation of Saul Steinberg  / saulsteinbergfoundation.org. This site starts with giving an overview on his life , but soon you discover that this is one of the great sites on art on the internet totally dedicated to Saul Steinberg. Try it and if interested in the artist you soon will loose yourself completely and spent a long time on this site discovering why Saul Steinberg was important. Here is the short intro from the Steinberg foundation on the artist and please do not forget that www.ftn-books.com has some nice publications available.

Famed worldwide for giving graphic definition to the postwar age, Saul Steinberg (1914-1999) had one of the most remarkable careers in American art. While renowned for the covers and drawings that appeared in The New Yorker for nearly six decades, he was equally acclaimed for the drawings, paintings, prints, collages, and sculptures he exhibited internationally in galleries and museums.

Steinberg crafted a rich and ever-evolving idiom that found full expression through these parallel yet integrated careers. Such many-leveled art, however, resists conventional critical categories. “I don’t quite belong to the art, cartoon or magazine world, so the art world doesn’t quite know where to place me,” he said. 1 He was a modernist without portfolio, constantly crossing boundaries into uncharted visual territory. In subject matter and styles, he made no distinction between high and low art, which he freely conflated in an oeuvre that is stylistically diverse yet consistent in depth and visual imagination.

 

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Maeght edition….NOISE no. 10 LeWitt/Appel

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If ever there was a series that deserves to be collected it is the NOISE series published by Maeght editeur and sepcially the no. 10 volume within the series is exceptionally beautiful ( available at www.ftn-books.com). These publications are printed by the best in the business and are far larger sized than the usual Maeght publications. At a size 15 x 10.6 inches and in many cases spread over two pages, these publications are a true treasure trove. For instance the no. 10 issue has contributions by Karel Appel and Sol LeWitt and these artists show their best works in this publication. Check out the different issues published by Maeght and take a look at the no. 10 issue for sale at my shop.

 

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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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Roger Bissière, a lyrical abstract painter (1866-1964) in a Wim Crouwel catalogue

 

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A lyrical abstract artist and related to other abstract French painters like Manessier and Bazaine, Admired by Willem Sandberg , Bissiere received his first Stedelijk Museum exhibition in 1958 and in the early sixties another followed , this time with a spectacular catalogue designed by Wim Crouwel and for me this catalogue is the reason to write this blog, because i find this catalogie one of the very best Wim Crouwel ever made.

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Clean, bright with some highly original details, the early smaller size and great typography makes this a Crouwel classic and the art…..well not bad either!

books available at www.ftn-books.com

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Valerio Adami and Pop Art

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Sixties and seventies are the decades of Pop Art and Valerio Adami was one of the artists outside the US that was influenced by the more famous Pop Art artists and developed his own style from the popular comics, with their thick black outlines (ligne clair). He was not always appreciated for his art, but always was assured of a valuable platform to show his art in the Maeght galleries and publications. He took figures , situations and objects apart to reassemble them again into another composition, thus making them abstract and hardly recognizable.

Personally i am very fond of Valerio Adami. For me he is the artist who bridges comics with serious (Pop) Art. This is another of the artist who s relatively cheap to buy and collect and i predict his works and publications will be in high demand in the next 20 years.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice Maeght and other publication on this great artist.

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Pierre Alechinsky and Sol LeWitt, two recent acquisitions.

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Remember that a few weeks ago i mentioned that there was some great art out there to be picked up….and what is more..at very reasonable prices.

Last week i acquired from a small collection 2 beautiful books. Both folio sized and containing some of the best art you can imagine. First of all there is the Alechinsky publication, he made for his galerie de France exhibition in 1962. The cover is a spectacular 2 page original lithograph by Alechinsky. The book s published in an edition of only 2000 copies, numbered ( numero 460)  and beside the cover containing another 8 original 1 page lithographs printed by Maurice Beaudet. Price USD 275,– which makes it only USD 28,00 per lithograph. Excellent publication and when you use the code: alechinskyblog…. a discount of USD 25.00 is applied to the purchase of this beautiful publication .

available at www.ftn-books.com

Secondly there is the NOISE 7 publication by Maeght editeur.

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When Maeght finished their Derriere Le Miroir series, they tried to launch an even better series….NOISE…. only far less volumes were published than within their DLM series. The NOISE 7 is arguably the very best volume within the series ,because it contains the lithographed contributions by Karel Appel ( 5x a one page lithograph ) and Sol LeWitt ( 3x a double page lithograph). Original great works of art at low prices is what there is out there and these are two excellent examples and proof that great art has not to be expensive.

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Maeght edition…Derriere le Miroir

Starting in 1946 ( December) and ending in 1982 with number 250. This publication was published by Maeght on an almost regular basis of 5 publications each year. Many great artists have made contributions to this famous magazine and what is best, these contributions were in almost all cases original works of art.

Original lithographs were publiohed on one or 2 pages  in each publications and in most of the sases there were more than 2 lithographs included. Thre is even a famous publications on Miro with over 20 originals within.

What made it affordable is the edition size which were far more than regular art editions by Maeght, but because these lithographs were not signed they were “original’ cheap works of art. ~Many great artists like Chagall, Chillida, Giacometti and Miro made special editions within the series.

My personal favorit…Wifredo Lam

 

This series is collectable and affordable and whenever you see a copy in which you are interested make sure that it is complete, because many of the editions did not survive as complete copies because these were torn down and sold separately.

Look for some nice ones

at www.ftn-books.com and search for “Derriere”