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.
Here si a classic sculptor who paved the way for modern sculpture. You just have to visit the Rodin museum in Paris to find the most beautiful Rodin sculptures all assembled into one place and find the “studies” among them. Look at them closely …travel in time some 50 years ahead and find parts of Henri Moore and Brancusi in them. Rodin was a genius and the dutch are lucky to have some great Rodin sculptures in public collections. There are statues in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and the Stedelijk Museum and there are 7 sculptures by Rodin collected by Mr. and Mrs Singer which are frequently on show at the Singer Museum in Laren. The most important one is a smaller sized “THINKER” statue.
Beside the statues , Rodin made some very impressive (erotic) watercolors. Studies of bodies which also have an abstract quality.
This will not be an easy blog and i was in doubt if i should publish it, but these prints are so impressive that i will make an effort.
In 1948 Jean Genet published Funeral Rites. An impressive, erotic, grief stricken, despairing novel on the death of his lover. The young hero who was shot at the barricades in the uprising of the populace of Paris against the german occupation in August 1944. Irreconcilable contradictions become the poles between which he constructs a vast, centrifugal ritual of Love, Death, ecstasy, horror, beauty, betrayal and despair. Johnson’s pictures are a translation and an expansion of these principal themes in which the love and physical excitement for his death lover remains after his death. The Hitlerian and Nazi imagery is suggested in the prints and is/was always present in the Genet novel and is the background, which together with the male nudity, gives them an uneasy feeling to the spectator. To understand these prints it is necessary to at least read a short summary of the Genet novel. Now for the technique…. I have seen many prints during my life, but this publication with these 10 prints belongs to the very best of all. All prints are special. Not only because the print quality is excellent, but nearly on every print a special collage is fixed to enhance the print and making it stand out. All prints are numbered and signed from an edition of 80 . Numbered 30/80
On Facebook i found some further information by David Cowper on this edition.
The genesis of this series of silkscreen prints goes back to 1970-72. Johnson, who was living in Tehran at the time, had read Genet’s ‘Funeral Rites’ after a visit to France where he met and talked to Bernard Frechtman, the translator. He was fascinated by the themes of betrayal, depair and love. as well as by the strange technique of the narrative. By 1972 he had completed twelve drawings with collages based on the book. In 1975 after coming to live in France the previous year, Johnson showed them to Genet at the Karl Flinker gallery in Paris. Genet enthusiastically encouraged Johnson to have them printed and in1976 when Rob Jurka of Amsterdam saw them he suggested publishing a series of prints based on the drawings. Johnson started preparing a set of ten plates for the printer and in May 1977 spent a month in Amsterdam with the printer Hans Jansen and completed the first five prints. The last five were completed in september 1977 and the series was first exhibited by Galerie Jurka at the International Contemporary Art Fair ‘FIAC’ in the Grand Palais in Paris. October 1977. (this text was taken from the booklet Definitions of Betrayal Part 1 Funeral Rites) The Prints have also been exhibited at the Schwules Museum in Berlin within the past couple of years.
I will not post any pictures that may offend the readers but for those interested in this very special portfolio by Galerie Jurka from 1977 … here is the link to download the PDF file with the 10 prints.
It is possible that i like the photography of Bettina Rheims so much because we are from the same generation. The french hotel rooms that are a little worn are familiar to me too and these are in many cases the backgrounds of the models that Bettina Rheims uses in her photography. Whenever i find a book or special publication by Rheims , i buy it. The MORCEAUX CHOISIS title that is available at www.ftn-books.com was found in Bilbao at a local bookstore when we visited it together with the Guggenheims. Still packed and in pristine condition . another title published a few years ago was found in Paris and the last one i added ” BONKERS” in Rotterdam. The collection of Rheims publications will be expanding in the years to come , but has now grown into quite a few titles.
Another discovery… This poster is rare. It was published in 1993 by editions Cicatrices and according to my knowledge the only print on this great work by Ben Vautier. The work was recently restored because age had deteriorated it too much to exhibited it without damaging the work.
But the poster was made in the early nineties for the Musee National d’Art Moderne and because of its size it shows the true quality of the work by Ben. A feast and an excellent way to represent the work in 2D. It is available at www.ftn-books.com
Since the early eighties i admire Geer van Velde. When i first entered our offices at the Gemeentemuseum, there was original art on the wall . Chosen by employees of the Gemeentemuseum the painting on the wall of our offices was an original large painting by Geer van Velde.
Geer van Velde was Bram van Velde’s younger brother they differ 3 years in age but their art differs even far more. Both influenced by fellow artists also living in Paris, Geer became known for his paintings winning Prizes and being admitted into the Salon des Independants . He is considered to be a member of the Ecole de Paris. The works by Geer van Velde are highly recognizable being abstract but still showing some realism in them. The use of color?? subdued not the bright colors his brother is known for. They come from the same nest but their works could not be more different .
Where Geer was known and admired is his early years, the case with Bram was totally different. It is now since 30 years that the works by Bram are more admired. They are “classic” made in the 50’s , 60’s and 70’s, but study them closely and you will sense that they belong in the present. These are bold and highly sensitive paintings. Both these van Velde brothers have their qualities, but maybe, in the long run, i prefer Geer.
The second day for the extra focus on the classics within the inventory of www.ftn-books.com
This time it is Picasso. Although i personally am not a great fan of Picasso, there are so many others that admire this Spanish artist and for them …take notice that this is the last day that the discount code is valid. Not only the many publicatons on Picasso are sold with a discount of 10%, but all publications and specials within the inventory go with a discount.
use : CLASSIC10 at your checkout and receive the discount.
Last week i mentioned an early Monet painting in the collection of the Haags Gemeentemuseum, the QUAI DU LOUVRE, but beside this painting they have a large sized painting BLAUWE REGEN which is almost like an abstract painting. Study it up close and there is nothing realistic in the subject nor in brushstrokes. It is pure and abstract, the same as the large Giverny paintings on show in the Orangerie ? PAris and the one in the Beyeler collection. They impress with their size , but for me there is more….they belnd with their surroundings ( Beyeler)
and they show their enormous abstract strength when seen each one after each other in the Orangerie. The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag is planning a large overview of paintings from Monet’s Giverny period at the end of 2019, but my guess is the “Blauwe Regen” will be one of the largest one on show, because the others are hard to put on transport and have them insured in an affordable way. So whenever you visit Paris or Basel, pay a visit to the Beyeler or Orangerie and be amazed by these extremely large Monet “abstract” paintings.
It was 1962 when Ben Vautier joint the Fluxus mouvement and stayed true to its principles until he moved forward and started the Figuration Libre mouvement in 1981.
When you read what Wikipedia says about him , you will notice that they mention that he is a ZERO artist, but for me he is everything but …. No he foremost is a great and one of the first Fluxus artists, who has developed an art language which is typical Vautier. You will recognize his works among thousands, because on an even background his writing language and saying are unique and o so typical Vautier
Pictures tell a better story than words in this case. Take a look at a screenshot i made from Google.
Arguably the most important french arts magazine was Cimaise. First published in November 1952 . this “Revue”, published by the galerie Arnaud/ Jean Robert Arnaud stayed a major force in and was of great influence on the french art scene in the 50’s and 60’s. The magazine was published from 1952-2000 and from 2002-2009. Specially in the early years the magazine was published in a way, that now these volumes are considered the best and are searched after because of the special ( printed) covers . www.ftn-books.com is lucky to have some of the very first volumes from this impressive magazine . There are volumes from 1952,1953 and 1954 available.