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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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Wout Muller (1946-2000)

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Wout Muller , a member of the group of New Realist painters will certainly grow in importance and appreciation in the next decades to come. His technique and detailing is the best possible and his compositions are timeless. In many cases the paintings and drawings contain some erotic elements, which make their appeal certain for all decades to come.

Of course there are other realist painters who use erotic elements to enhance their paintings. Melle, Aat Veldhoen and Hans Kanters are among them, but none of them knows exactly how to create a landscape that looks more than a “dream” and has the softness needed to be an outstanding painting and not an ensemble of erotic objects. Yes, from all these painters Wout Muller is my personal favorite. www.ftn-books.com has some wout Muller titles available.

 

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Francis Picabia is “PAPA DADA”

It took a long time for me to finally appreciate the works by Picabia. Once known as “Papa Dada,” Francis Picabia was one of the principle figures of the Dadamovement both in Paris and New York. A friend and associate of Marcel Duchamp, he became known for a rich variety of work ranging from strange, comic-erotic images of machine parts to text-based paintings that foreshadow aspects of Conceptual art. Even after Dada had been supplanted by other styles, the French painter and writer went on to explore a diverse and almost incoherent mix of styles. He shifted easily between abstraction and figuration at a time when artists clung steadfastly to one approach, and his gleeful disregard for the conventions of modern art encouraged some remarkable innovations even later in his career, from the layered Transparency series of the 1920s to the kitsch, erotic nudes of the early 1940s. Picabia remains revered by contemporary painters as one of the century’s most intriguing and inscrutable artists.

on the excellent site THE ART STORY i found this text on the ideas of Picabia

In the 1910s, Picabia shared the interests of a number of artists who emerged in the wake of Cubism, and who were inspired less by the movement’s preoccupation with problems of representation than by the way the style could evoke qualities of the modern, urban, and mechanistic world. Initially, these interests informed his abstract painting, but his attraction to machines would also shape his early Dada work, in particular his Mechanomorphs – images of invented machines and machine parts that were intended as parodies of portraiture. For Picabia, humans were nothing but machines, ruled not by their rational minds, but by a range of compulsive hungers.
Picabia was central to the Dada movement when it began to emerge in Paris in the early 1920s, and his work quickly abandoned many of the technical concerns that had animated his previous work. He began to use text in his pictures and collages and to create more explicitly scandalous images attacking conventional notions of morality, religion, and law. While the work was animated by the Dada movement’s rage against the European culture that had led to the carnage of World War I, Picabia’s attacks often have the sprightly, coarse comedy of the court jester. They reflect an artist with no respect for any conventions, not even art, since art was just another facet of the wider culture he rejected.
Figurative imagery was central to Picabia’s work from the mid-1920s to the mid-1940s, when he was inspired by Spanish subjects, Romanesque and Renaissance sources, images of monsters, and, later, nudes found in soft porn magazines. Initially he united many of these disparate motifs in the Transparency pictures, complexly layering them and piling them on top of each other to provoke confusion and strange associations. Some critics have described the Transparencies as occult visions, or Surrealist dream images, and although Picabia rejected any association with the Surrealists, he steadfastly refused to explain their content. Picabia always handled these motifs with the same playful and anarchic spirit that had animated his Dada work.
Picabia learned early on that abstraction could be used to evoke not only qualities of machines, but also to evoke mystery and eroticism. This ensured that abstract painting would be one of the mainstays of his career. He returned to it even in his last years, during which he attributed his inspiration to the obscure recesses of his mind, as he had always done.
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www.ftn-books.com has some excellent publications on Picabia including the very special Ronny van de Velde publication PICABIA ( price upon request)
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Bruce McLean (1944)

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It took me decades to discover the art of Bruce McLean. A typical Sixties artist who started with performances and now ends his career with HUGE paintings. In between …… an abundance of works of which the large canvasses i appreciate most.

An original and personal style of painting . …the result…. recognizable paintings. I looked up the artist Bruce McLean and found that his paintings are still on the verge of affordable to wealthy private collectors and maybe now is the time to start looking and finding a beautiful McLean painting for your collection?

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www.ftn-books.com has a few bruce McLean publications available

 

Bruce McLean is a Scottish sculptor, performance artist, filmmaker and painter. He studied at the Glasgow School of Art from 1961 to 1963, and from 1963 to 1966 at St. Martin’s School of Art, London, where he and others rebelled against what appeared to be the formalist academicism of his teachers, including Anthony Caro and Phillip King. In 1965 he abandoned conventional studio production in favour of impermanent sculptures using materials such as water, along with performances of a generally satirical nature directed against the art world. When in 1972 he was offered an exhibition at the Tate Gallery, he opted for a ‘retrospective’ he titled “King for a Day” which lasted only one day. From the mid 1970s, while continuing to mount occasional performances, McLean has turned increasingly to painting/sculpture and film work. In 1985, McLean won the John Moores Painting Prize. Since retiring from his professorship of painting at the Slade School of Art, he has taken on a large studio in west London where he has been making increasingly large paintings and sculptural film works.

 

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Barrie Cooke (1931-2014)

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For me Barrie Cooke stands for the excellent taste Rudi Fuchs has in art and the beautiful designed catalogue Gracia Lebbink made for the Cooke exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in 1992. I can not remember if Cooke was present at the opening, but i still remember the first impression his paintings made on me when i first saw them in the exhibition rooms in the Gemeentemuseun. These paintings were personal and overwhelming and reminded me of the ones Francis Bacon made.

left Cooke and right Bacon

At that time Fuchs had become very interested in Irish art and presented Cooke shortly after he had had an exhibition with works by Jack B. Yeats

An artists’ artist, he won enormous respect from his peers over several generations for his utter commitment and the integrity of his vision. He was a passionate fisherman and the natural world was always at the heart of his work. His figure paintings and portraits are also exceptional.

His paintings are cherished for their dynamic, immediate, visceral connection with their subject matter. Early training at Skowhegan in the US and at Oskar Kokoschka’s School of Vision in Salzburg helped to shape the urgent vitality of his pictorial approach – a vitality reflected in the artist’s personality.

Having grown up in Bermuda and studied in the US, he went to England in 1954 to revisit his roots but found little to engage him. So he took a ferry to Ireland and, he said, felt at home even as he walked down the gangplank.

Irish life
He settled in rural Co Clare where he and his first wife, Harriet Cooke, lived in some poverty. Later he moved to Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, with ceramic artist Sonja Landweer, who introduced him to Rudolf Steiner’s ideas on natural processes. His next move was to a remote house overlooking Lough Arrow in Co Sligo.

The Barrie Cooke Gemeentemuseum catalogue designed by Gracia Lebbink is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Teodoro Wolf Ferrari (1878-1945)

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It is hard to find work by Teodoro Wolf Ferrari, but here and there in Italy there is a chance you wil encounter his works in local Museums. Are his paintings known outside Italy….NO!

TWF always stayed a typical Italian painter who’s works were very rarely exported outside Italy, but very slowly his works becomes known outside Italy too. His works always remind me a little of Hodler and Klimt, but maybe this is because they were produced in the same time bracket as the ones by these 2 artists.

on the left Ferrari and on the right Klimt.

 

You even can distinguish an influence of Scandinavia paintings, but i doubt that he ever visited Scandinavia. It is rare to find publications on Ferrari, but ftn-books has one available at www.ftn-books.com

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Joris Geurts (1958)

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Just a little younger than myself, but this is an artist who grows on you. I had the opportunity to follow his works for a long time now. In the early stages of his career at gallery Art & Project and later on at Slewe gallery ( from 1995).

In the beginning his compositions did not attract me at all, but from the mid Nineties on his works develop into something very special. He creates with his composition a universe and builds it with lines, squares, oval shapes and circles making them highly recognizable and personal paintings.

Slewe gallery represents Joris Geurts now for over 2 decades and in this time they commissioned Irma Boom to make a Geurts catalogue which has become one of my favorite Irma Boom catalogues of all time.

The catalogue is a typical Boom designed book , but it is not the catalogue which draws your attention, but the paintings depicted within. This period was a highly productive period for Joris Geurts and FTN-art is lucky to have acquired 2 paintings by Geurts from these important years ( POA). The Irma Boom designed catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

 

Here is the text from  the Slewe gallery pages

Joris Geurts, born in 1958 in Oss (NL), makes abstract paintings, drawings and prints.They are assiociatively built up, but transparantly layered and traceble. Small squares and dots float on deep blues and greens, giving associations with the kosmos or landscape.

After his study at the AKI in Enschede, Geurts started his career at Art & Project Gallery in Amsterdam in the early eighties. Since 1995 he showed regularly at Slewe Gallery. In 2001 he had a show at Noordbrabants Museum in ’s-Hertogenbosch, on which occasion a catalog had been published Purple Blue and Lemon Yellow, giving an overview of his work, with texts by Bert Jansen and Henk van Woerden. In addition to his painting practice he also works as a composer of music. His works have been collected by several important public collections, such as the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede and the corporate art collections of the AKZO Nobel, ABN AMRO, KPN, Bouwfonds and AEGON.

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Ronald de Bloeme (1971)

 

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It took me a very long to finally acquire a Ronald de Bloeme painting for our collection , but finally we found one and added it on the 2nd of October 2018. It is one from the series “Oil On Postal bags” and comes from the former Hans Sonnenberg collection.

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This collection was split up and auctioned some months ago and this work found in the end its way to our collection. It is an impressive painting and shows exactly why de Bloeme becomes more and more important in modern art. The series of postal bag paintings was partially painted at the time he was in residence at the Kunstlerhaus Bethanien where he made several of these large paintings. Postal bags stitched to each other and with their original postal prints still on them, de Bloeme made a composition on them in which points, arrows, dots, numbers and stripes are attached to each other, making a composition in which you can see that the subject is COMMUNICATION in all its appearances and the essence of this series of paintings. The feel of the canvas is totally different than expected.  You expect a coarse surface, but this is not the case. The surface feels like nylon and it looks and feels more like a sail or a tent canvas.

The painting that we now hold in our collection has all these symbols included. Planes, dots, postal bags from czechoslovakia, Turkey and India symbolize the routing of the planes and the dots could stand for all the places that are reached in these countries. Of course this is my personal interpretation, but it is for certain a very impressive and important painting.

The painting is depicted in the Ronald de Bloeme Bethanien catalogue on page 33 and it is available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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André Emmerich (1924-2007)

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Andre Emmerich was an exceptional art dealer. Robert Motherwell introduced Emmerich to “the small group of eccentric painters we now know as the New York Abstract Expressionist School”. During the second half of the 20th century the Emmerich Gallery was located in New York City and since 1959 in the Fuller Building at 41 East 57th Street and in the 1970s also at 420 West Broadway in Manhattan and in Zürich, Switzerland.

The gallery displayed leading artists working in a wide variety of styles including Abstract Expressionism, Op Art, Color field painting, Hard-edge painting, Lyrical Abstraction, Minimal Art, Pop Art and Realism, among other movements. He organized important exhibitions of pre-Columbian art and wrote two acclaimed books, “Art Before Columbus” (1963) and “Sweat of the Sun and Tears of the Moon: Gold and Silver in Pre-Columbian Art” (1965), on the subject.

In addition to David Hockney, and John D. Graham the gallery represented many internationally known artists and estates including: Hans Hofmann, Morris Louis, Helen Frankenthaler, Kenneth Noland, Sam Francis, Sir Anthony Caro, Jules Olitski, Jack Bush, John Hoyland, Alexander Liberman, Al Held, Anne Ryan, Miriam Schapiro, Paul Brach, Herbert Ferber, Esteban Vicente, Friedel Dzubas, Neil Williams, Theodoros Stamos, Anne Truitt, Karel Appel, Pierre Alechinsky, Larry Poons, Larry Zox, Dan Christensen, Ronnie Landfield, Stanley Boxer, Pat Lipsky, Robert Natkin, Judy Pfaff, John Harrison Levee, William H. Bailey, Dorothea Rockburne, Nancy Graves, John McLaughlin, Ed Moses, Beverly Pepper, Piero Dorazio, among others.

Between 1982-96, Emmerich ran a 150-acre sculpture park called Top Gallant in Pawling, New York, on his country estate that once was a Quaker farm. There he displayed large-scale works by, among others, Alexander Calder, Beverly Pepper, Bernar Venet, Tony Rosenthal, Isaac Witkin, Mark di Suvero and George Rickey, as well as the work of younger artists like Keith HaringMany of the above mentioned artists are available with different publications at www.ftn-books.com

, but FTN books also has some specific Emmerich publications available.

In 1996, Sotheby’s bought the Andre Emmerich Gallery, with the aim of handling artists’ estates. One year later the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, the main beneficiary of the Albers’ estates, did not renew its three-year contract.The gallery was eventually closed by Sotheby’s in 1998.

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Narcisse Tordoir (1954) …painting as an act

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A key figure in the Antwerp art scene and also very well known in the dutch art scene because he is an advisor to the Rijksakademie Amsterdam.

But besides his presence in the art scenes of both the Low Countries, he has become world famous because of his approach to painting. Tordoir considers painting as an act and with this he has had performances in France, the UK, USA , Austria and many more countries, thus introducing his very personal approach to the art of painting to a new art scene each tine he had a performance or an exhibition outside Belgium or the Netherlands.

It is hard to find a reasonable priced work by Tordoir, but about 10 years ago i got lucky and bought a tetralogy at a local auction. It is a work typical for the works Tordoir produced during the eighties on which he combined several smaller ” paintings into a unique work of art. This work consists of 4 framed works of abstract figures forming together a unique Narcisse Tordoir. This work is now for sale at FTN art together with the books www.ftn-books.com has on Narcisse Tordoir.

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