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Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart (1899-1962)

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Beside the spectacular constructivist paintings Friedrich Vordemberg-Gildewart made, there is another aspect in his art life what made him special and important. FVG was the first artist who made abstract paintings throughout his entire career. At first glance his work is related to Mondriaan, de Stijl and Malewich, but look at it more careful and you notice that there is mus more space within the paintings. A way of painting which makes the painting seem less crowded. It is the way i like a painting to intrigue

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Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart was born in Osnabrück, Germany and studied architecture, interior design and sculpture at Hanover School of Art and the Technical College, Hanover. In 1924 he formed the abstract art group Gruppe K in Hanover with Hans Nitzschke and joined Der Sturm in Berlin. After meeting Theo van Doesburg, Kurt Schwitters and Hans Arp, he became a member of De Stijl in 1925. Together with Kurt Schwitters and Carl Buchheister he formed the ‘Abstrakten Hannover’ group in 1927. He was a member of a number of other artistic groups including: the Cercle et Carré, 1930, Paris and was a founding member of Abstraction-Création (1931), also in Paris. In 1937, in Munich, the Nazi regime exposed his works in the infamous Degenerate Art exhibition. Most of his works were confiscated and he was forced to leave Germany for the Netherlands.

there is a very special Bottrop publication from 1980 available at http://www.ftn-books.com, which contains 3 silkscreen prints by FVG.

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A recently discovered Mondrian

A few weeks ago i read an article by the  “de Speld”  ( it is an almost daily article on the backpages of the VOLKSKRANT paper), that a recently discovered Mondrian was presented to the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag to further complete its large Mondrian collection .

mondriaan smurf

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Piet Mondriaan….Molen bij Avond

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Two days ago i was so lucky to have a camera ( phone) at hand. We were planning to have a little boat ride in the evening, but…..suddenly it started to rain and we decided not to go. However, 10 minutes later it stopped raining and while we were having a cup of coffee we decided it was still worth it to go to Vlietlanden for a 2 hour trip. We left at 18.45 hr. and were returning at aprox 20.10 when we passed this windmill just near our home. I asked for my telephone and took this photograph. 5 seconds sooner and it would not have had the effect it has now. 5 seconds later and we would have been blinded by the light of the sun. But with this result i am so pleased. I have not done anything with the photograph, because i think it is 100% ok, but 24 hrs later Google send me the same photograph which they had worked over with some filters and this is the result they produced ( second photograph).

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The moment i saw it it reminded me of the Mondrian. Molen bij Avond i know so well from the years i worked at the Gemeentemuseum. There is 100 years between them, but these pictures show that there is still a very scenic the Netherlands to be found near the largest cities of this country. I have many of Mondrian’s publications available at http://www.ftn-books.com

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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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Piet Mondriaan / Mondrian’s studio

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The studio of Piet Mondrian were works of art of them selves. They acted like a true work “in situ” where every item had its proper place . Because of this, the studio itself became a work of art. This was recognized by many and one of the greatest photographers from last centur even made a series of photo from the Paris studio. The same with the NY studio which was photographed by Arnold Newman.

Kertesz and Newman , two great photographers who realized that Mondrian was a very special painter and made these photographs with one purpose….. so we could see the extraordinary qualities Mondrian had when he approached a painting or an object.

There is onegreat article on Artsy where the studio’s of Mondrian are described.

https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-mondrian-turned-studios-giant-abstract-paintings

There are some excellent publications on Mondrian and his studios available at www.ftn-books.com including a paper model kit

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Gerrit Benner (1897-1981)

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One of my first blogs was devoted to the museum Belvedere where i encountered some wonderful paintings by Gerrit Benner. This blog is solely devoted to Benner because he deserves it. His paintings are among the first abstract paintings which still hold a link with realism in the Netherlands . These paintings are definitely inspired by nature. Skies, meadows and even an abstract cow can be determined in the compositions. Benner is a painter “pur sang” who’s works are rooted in the dutch tradition of abstract paintings. For instance Mondrian used these abstracted landscapes in his own painting from the early 20th century.

on the left a painting by Benner with Red cloud on the right Landscape with Red cloud by Piet Mondriaan

Benner is a great painter who deserves to be known outside the Netherlands and for those visiting the Netherlands. When you visit the Stedelijk, Gemeentemuseum, Belvedere and Museum Twente you surely will encounter a Benner painting in their permanent collections.

There are some very nice Benner publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Jean Gorin (1899-1981) and Wim Crouwel

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Jean Gorin , a typical 50’s /60’s artist has stayed a little obscure outside France, but this is undeserved. His art is influenced by Piet Mondrian and Constructivism , but has developed into an art typical of Jean Gorin.

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This was recognized by Willem Sandberg who gave Gorin a solo presentation in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 1967. Here it is getting more interesting from my point of view, because together with this exhibition one of the very very best Wim Crouwel designed catalogues ever was published. The catalogue typically Crouwel sized was partly printed in black and the other part of the text on the cover executed in embossed printing. Together with the design of the catalogue itself it has become an exquisite artist book on Jean Gorin which is still available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Oval paintings …. rarely seen

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The Oval shape is the less common shape among constructivist, but is was at one time used by some great names in art. Piet Mondriaan used it and also Roy Lichtenstein was a fan and used the shape in his Mirror paintings. Put them beside each other and you will notice similarities between the two. Not only the shape , but also how the space is filled with the composition. I noticed this because a few weeks ago i went to an auction viewing and found the drawings by Henk de Looper for auction. All oval shaped and they really fascinated me.

 

Here is some information on this forgotten artist who deserves better and is represented by gallery PHOEBUS in Rotterdam.

https://www.phoebus.nl/KUNSTENAAR/Henk.de.Looper

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A special Donald Judd publication, 1993

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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.

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Bart van der Leck (1876-1958)

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Without me knowing and realizing it  I collected many van der Leck titles. Probably because subconsciously i must have realized that for me personally van der Leck is more important than Piet Mondriaan. Both are of course important members of DE STIJL group but where Mondrian is the artist who developed his art from realism into pure abstraction, van der Leck is the artist where realism was always present in his abstract works. When you look a little longer at his compositions you can distinguish the objects he depicted in his works. Take a look at these ducks…Yes it is a typical DE STIJL composition with primary colors, but you can clearly see the ducks in this painting.

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Bart van der Leck was born in the Dutch city of Utrecht on November 26th, 1876. He started working as a glazier, but began focusing on his artistic career soon after. He started his studies at the Art Academy in Amsterdam soon after 1898. He was initially influenced by Isaac Israëls and mainly depicted scenes from everyday life. After he finished his education, his realistic working style became a more monumental and modern one.
In 1907 he rented a room in a farming establishment in Blaricum. His only possessions were a small painting chest and some clothing. He lived in complete isolation for a period of four months and thus many paintings depicting Blaricum and its surrounding area exist from his hand.
It is known Van Der Leck was a friend of fellow painter Mondriaan. They both possessed progressive working styles and their paintings were not appreciated by the painters of the Laren School.
Together with Mondriaan and a few other names, Van Der Leck can be held accountable for the establishment of ‘De Stijl'(1917). He passed away in Blaricum on November 13th, 1958.

Here are some of the van der Leck titles available at www.ftn-books.com