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Kees Maks (1876-1967) .

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Another painter of daily life in the Netherlands, but only known in the Netherlands , is Kees Maks. The same as Mondrian, Sluijter and Gestel, he tavelled to Paris in his younger years before the first World War. There he entered the Salon the Automne and became a member, where he met Kees van Dongen ( see blog yesterday) and became influenced by this painter. Maks was fully recognized as an important painter when his painting Nightcafe was purchased by the Musee de Luxembourg in 1927.

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Contemporaries often placed Maks’s modernity in his figures, who were clothed and coiffed according to the latest fashion and demonstrated the latest dances, such as the FURLANA. Maks himself chose the clothing for his models, undoubtedly assisted by his wife who worked at Hirsch and later became and independent fashion designer.

As DE TELEGRAAF put itin in 1920….MAKS proved himself a painter who dares to go into raptures over the fashion of time. But despite all this qualities Maks in only known in the Netherlands and is rarely encountered in collections outside our borders.

There are a few tiles on Maks available at www.ftn-books.com

maks shop

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Karel Appel and Jan Vrijman ( Ik rotzooi maar wat aan, 1961)

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Of course the official title is different . The documentary by Jan Vrijman from 1961 is called ” De werkelijkheid van Karel Appel”, but most people from the generation of Karel Appel know these famous words ….”ik rotzooi maar wat aan”, but reality is his painting is far from intuitive and improvisation. Many of his complex paintings were thought out and prepared on paper and i suspect that even the painting Appel is executing in the documentary is prepared and worked out on paper before he paints the canvas.

Appel is a great artist and certainly one of the most important ones in the Netherlands from the last century. His painting is the summit in abstract expressionism and he deservedly earned his place among the worlds greatest artist.

www.ftn-books.com has a large collection of Karel Appel books available

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David Salle (1952)

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David Salle…..still one of te great names in Modern Art and still very famous in the US, but his works tend to be forgotten a little bit in Europe after he had had many important shows here in the eighties and nineties. Painter, graphic artist, cinema director and photographer Salle is a multi disciplined artist who was one of the first living artist who reached star status in the art world after his works were soled for over a million dollar at auction. Personally i do not think any painting is worth so much money, because i  think art is to be consumed and admired and not bought or sold as an investment. An artist who’s works are bought after he/she died is an exception. The works have proven themselves and it is important for museum to show the works of an artist in relation to other works of art, but….for living artists like Salle, Hirst and Koons ART has become a way of making money ( and a lot if it). The idea behind the work is less important than the interest t should create with buyers and investors. So my advice …buy what you personally think is worth to look at, admire and collect it and if it is more expensive … pay a little more for it because you will enjoy the work every day you look at it.

Books on Salle are 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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Giovanni Nicolai…. Update

For those of you who remember the blog i wrote on a promising young Italian artist…. Giovanni Nicolai…and are interest in following his career, here are 2 articles in Italian magazines on the artist and his works.

http://www.corrierealtomilanese.com/2017/05/30/giovanni-nicolai-leleganza-del-tratto-e-poesia/

and

http://www.cagliariartmagazine.it/giovanni-nicolai-la-classe-e-arte/

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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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Robert Ryman (1930)

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People who follow this blog know of my admiration for Minimal Art and for me Minimal Art includes the work by Robert Ryman. I hesitated to start with this sentence because many believe Robert Ryman is not a Minimal painter but more of a painter who makes monochrome works of art. Still ,when searching on Google for Ryman he is by many categorized as “Minimal”.

Often allied with Minimalist, Conceptual Art, and Monochrome Painting, Robert Ryman has painted works in which theme and medium are one. A majority of his paintings feature only white or off-white paint on square canvases, varying in scale and texture and draw the eye toward the nature of the brush strokes and the depth of paint. To further heighten the effect of subtle variations in technique, Ryman manipulates how each work is hung on the wall, playing with the frames themselves as well as with each painting’s distance from the wall. For example, the eleven-panel Vector (1975/1997) comprises 11 wood units of the same size painted in white and hung equidistant from one another, the empty spaces on the walls between the panels echoing the nuanced texture and forms of the panels themselves. A great painter and one of the last from his generation of Minimal artists. www.ftn-books.com has some nice publications on Ryman available.

 

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GÜNTER BRUS (1938)

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First of all aq uote by Peter Weibel…GÜNTER BRUS, An observer of the second order, he explored the contexts of body and painting, the body’s social and sexual functions, the social and cultural functions of painting. By treating painting and body as a single system, and by analysis of these media of expression, he ultimately pursued an anatomy of society and its social systems.”

It was one of the first artists Rudi Fuchs introduced to the collection of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and since that occasion , GÜNTER BRUS fascinated me. Specially his drawings are my favorites and 2 years ago i saw some movies by Brus in Vienna in an exhibitions on Aktionismus. Self mutilation does not make this an easy art form, but fascinating it is. You do not have to watch the video, but for those interested know that this is not a pleasing art form and could be shocking to some. There are some more examples to be found on you tube and for those interested in Brus, know that there are some nice publications available at www.ftn-books.com

 

 

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Antoni Tapies (1923-2012)

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It must have been some 12 years ago that i first visited Barcelona and found myself amazed and surprised by this city full of Gaudi and other modernista marvels, but the best find for me was the discovery and first visit of the Fundacio Antoni Tapies.

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The building itself is already worth visiting and the inside is even more spectacular. An old facade houses a very modern museum inside which houses the works donated by Antoni and Theresa Tapies. I loved its collection and it proved to me that Tapies his art is timeless, very spanish and cosmopolitan at the same time. Tapies is possibly , next to Picasso and Dali , the most important spanish name in Modern Art. He often uses large canvasses and on them paints with “earth” colors impressive abstract compositions and uses  matter in them.

In these matter paintings , the materials used are no longer simple media used to express an idea; they are the idea itself. That process produces a complete identification between material and form, between concept and language. Those works become opaque surfaces, walls on which the artist writes his graffiti and attaches the forms of objects or people. His identification with the work through his surname (in Catalan Tàpies means “walls”) expresses a more profound desire to break with Western dualism and blend with the material in a continuous formlessness.
Over the post-war years there was a general interest among artists on both sides of the Atlantic in material. Awareness of the atomic bomb and the new scientific discoveries aroused a strong curiosity in science, the new ideas about space-time and substance, while inventions such as the electronic microscope provided a new view of nature.
At the same time, Tàpies had developed an interest in Eastern philosophy, because of its emphasis on material, the identity between man and nature and its denial of the dualism of our society.

There are some excellent Tapies publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Alberto Magnelli (1888-1971)

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Born in Florence / Italy, Magnelli stayed his entire life true to a mix of abstract art mixed with futurism. Not the most likely combination because in a time when his artists friends were making futurist paintings he chose the opposite road and made brightly colored still lives. Still, there are many examples of paintings in one can see shapes and movements appear in them.

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Magnelli has not become the world famous name in art people and admirers had hoped for , but his works show quality and are still showed whenever there is a an exhibition on italian painting of the first half of the 20th century. A nice french catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com and he is one of the artist who appeared in the catalogues on italian art which were published by the Stedelijk Museum in the 50’s and 60’s.