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Serge Poliakoff (1906-1969)

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I love his art. It always reminds me of the best dutch abstract artists from the 60’s and i would not be surprised of Willem Hussem was influenced by Poliakoff’s art

Serge Poliakoff was born in Moscow in 1906, the thirteenth of fourteen children. (Some sources claim that he was born in 1900, which in fact fits in better with his later history – 1906 would have him leaving home and earning his living as a musician at the age of 12.) His father, a Kyrgyz, supplied the army with horses that he bred himself and also owned a racing stable. His mother was heavily involved with the church, and its religious icons fascinated him. He enrolled at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, but fled Russia in 1918. He arrived in Constantinople in 1920, living off the profits from his talent as a guitarist.

He went on to pass through Sofia, Belgrade, Vienna, and Berlin before settling in Paris in 1923, all the while continuing to play in Russian cabarets. In 1929 he enrolled at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. His paintings remained purely academic until he discovered, during his stay in London from 1935 to 1937, the abstract art and luminous colours of the Egyptian sarcophagi. It was a little afterwards that he met Wassily Kandinsky, Sonia and Robert Delaunay, and Otto Freundlich.

With these influences, Poliakoff quickly came to be considered as one of the most powerful painters of his generation. In 1947, he was trained by Jean Deyrolle in Gordes (Vaucluse region in France) amongst peers such as Gérard Schneider, Giloli, Victor Vasarely, and Jean Dewasne. By the beginning of the 1950s, he was still staying at the Old Dovecote hotel near Saint-Germain-des-Prés, which was also home to Louis Nallard and Maria Menton, and continuing to earn a reliable income by playing the balalaika.. A contract enabled him to quickly gain better financial stability.

In 1962 a room was given over to his paintings by the Venice Biennial, and Poliakoff became a French citizen in the same year. His works are now displayed in a large number of museums in Europe and New York. Poliakoff also worked with ceramics at the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres. He influenced the paintings of Arman.

The following Poliakoff publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Lotti van der Gaag, Kees van Bohemen & Bram Bogart

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Three famous names in the dutch and Belgian art scene, but never named in relation to each other except for this one occasion in 1956. In March/April of this year these 3 artists were presented in an exhibition at the “galerie Colette Allendy” in Paris. Lotti van der Gaag and Kees van Bohemen knew each other from Den Haag , but Bram Bogart had left Delft/Den Haag years before and was at that time working and living in Paris. In 1960 he would return to Brussels , but in 1956 they met and were exhibiting at this little known Parisian galerie. I want to share this rare item i have on this exhibition and which is now for sale at www.ftn-books.com. It is a leporello like folder with 6 small pages and portraits of the artists. This is a truly scarce item and for collectors a one time only offering.

allendy

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André François (1915-2005)

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Born Rumanian, but living for most of his life in France.  From the early Fifties on, France had a very lively comic art scene. This surely has been an influence since his cartoon-like drawings were strongly rooted in this kind of art in France BD / Bandes Dessinees) became increasingly popular and so did the art by André François. This was picked up by Willem Sandberg who curated an exhibition on André François in 1966. Catalogue design by Wim Crouwl makes this one of my personal favourite catalogues from the Sixties. the article below was published in the Guardian some years ago…..and of course www.ftn-books.com has the 1966 Stedelijk Museum catalogue available.

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André François born André Farkas in 1915 was an illustrator known for his satirical cartoons and comics. He was born in Romania and but eventually moved to Paris. He was a left-wing Jewish and during WWII he hid away from the Germans, and after the war moved to Grisy-les-Plâtres where he eventually passed away in 2005 after a long successful career.

Francois took his early inspiration from the Art Deco movement and the renowned illustrator A.M. Cassandre. When he moved to Paris he actually studied under Cassandre for some time.

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He worked in many satirical publications in France and also in American publications like the New Yorker, Vogue, Holiday and Sports Illustrated. Beyond magazines he also worked in the realm of children’s book illustration, adult content illustration and within the advertising industry (as many illustrators of the time did). In advertising he often created visual puns usually. This usually involved turning inanimate objects into human forms as well as the opposite.

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He became known in Paris for the sense of humour in his work, which he primarily completed in crude black and white ink drawings, with the occasional injection of vibrant colour. He became well-known and sought after by art directors in America after he published several anthologies of his cartoon work titled “The Penguin André François”, “The Tattooed Sailor and Other Cartoons From France” and “The Half-Naked Knight”. His obituary published in the New York Times describes his style perfectly: “François’ crude but sensual black-and-white brush drawings and starkly colored paintings, employing surreal and ironic juxtapositions, introduced serious whimsy to conservative commercial art. He also injected a comedic eroticism that broke various taboos.”

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At the age of 86, his house underwent a terrible house fire and he lost almost all of his work. His friends report that he wanted to create a completely new set of work to replace that which was lost. In 2005 he died from heart and kidney failure.

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What drew me to François’ work is the looseness and simplicity. It reminds me of another contemporary illustrator who I love named Manddy Wyckens. It also reminds me of the illustrations done by Jean-Jacques Sempé for the children’s comic Petit Nicolas. What I love about François’ work is that he doesn’t just create cute, or beautiful images, he is always saying something. While he aims to convey a message, he also doesn’t give the audience all of the puzzle pieces. Sometimes it takes a little longer to understand what the illustration means but when you understand it, it’s all the more rewarding.

I think part of the reason I’m attracted to his work is that I can relate to it as I feel that I am always trying to say something with my work, but often the results are crude drawings and paintings.

The looseness and simplicity is also something I love about his work. Being able to communicate a message with a style that seems effortless is commendable. Looseness and simplicity is something I would love to learn how to use in my own work so I will be sure to look to André François for future inspiration.

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Sources:
https://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/16/world/europe/obituary-andr-franois-illustrator-and-cartoonist.html

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Hergé (1907-1983)

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Hergé is Georges Prsoper Remi and deserves a well earned place among the greatest of artists from the last century. His Kuifje/Tintin albums have been translated in over 40 languages and have sold hundreds of millions all over the world. It is still a true delight to read once in a while these great adventure stories and after reading these i realize that the amount of detail which is drawn on every page of the story is tremendous,

making these not only great stories but also travel journals in which everyday life from a certain decade in an exotic country was depicted. Since i admire Hergé very much and i think together with Franquin and Swarte this is the best comic art can present i have collected a number of albums and Hergé collectibles of which some are available at www.ftn-books.com. The latest addition is an official bag by ther Moulinsart Museum.

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100 Meesterwerken by Willem Sandberg

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This is arguably one of the best Willem Sandberg publications of all time. An impressive cover, the use of multiple kinds of paper, the best art works from the Paris Modern Art Museum and an unbeatable price, because these are still available, but become more rare every year. I managed to collect 4 copies of this excellent 1952 catalogue of which 2 are now for sale at a special price of USD 35.00.

Please inquire at wvdelshout@ziggo.nl for a direct sale at this price.

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Artsy.net list and Zilia Sanchez (1926)

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If you are interested in art by young artists here is a list you can look it and compare it with your own findings. According to Artsy these are the young emerging and established artists of 2019.

https://www.artsy.net/series/artsy-vanguard-2019

There is one favorite in the chapter

THE ARTISTS FINALLY RECEIVING THE ACCLAIM THEY DESERVE

Zilia Sanchez ise my personal favorites and her work is represented by galerie Lelong

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Jean Villeri (1896-1982)

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One of the nicest things of writing a daily blog is that you keep discovering “unknown” artist. One of these artists is Jean Villeri. I found a signed book on the bookmarket ( now for sale at http://www.ftn-boks.com) . An artist who lived through some very important periods, post impressionism was one of them and from his earliest beginning he started as a post impressionist painter. He met and was influenced by Bonnard, he later became an abstract painter/sculptor. The result …in the end his works were presented and collected by french museums and his art was sold at galleries in France. He has had some some exhibitions outside France, but his main public were the french gallery public. The book/catalogue that is now for sale is for his 1963 Galerie Blumenthal exhibition and shows in an excellent way his strength as an artist.

villeri a

 

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Leonardo Delfino ( 1928)

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If an artist has not acquired the fame he deserves it is hard to make his name more known at the end of his career. This is why i support any initiative to help the artist. Leonardo Delfino is such an artist. He rose to sdome fame at the end of the Fifties amnd early Sixties ( this is the period i last discussed in an earlier blog) and had an important exhibition at galerie Delta in 1971 ( catalogue available at http://www.ftn-books.com), but after some dutch and french exhibitions it was quiet, with hardly any exhibitions outside Italy and France. Born in Torino he soon went to France to help his career further on, but is stayed relatively quiet with hardly any exhibitions being held. This doe not mean his work is not interesting. His scupltures are timeless abstract colums or pieces of raising /concrete. I thinh he uses the same procedure to create his sculptures as Mmark Boyle does. Using the original to cast a raisin copy from it.

look for Delfino on the internet and there is hardly any information, but there is a facebook site worth visiting at: https://www.facebook.com/Delfinoproject

Some early Delfino publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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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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Louis Icart (1888-1950)

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Another French Art deco artist to write about is the less famous, but very much intriguing Louis Icart,

He was best known for his drawings of glamorous women—often erotic or mildly humorous in tone—as well as for his depictions of 1920s Paris life. He was born in Toulouse, France in 1888, and began drawing at a young age. In 1907, he moved to Paris and began studying painting, drawing, and printmaking. Influenced by Jean Antoine Watteau, François Boucher, and Jean Honoré Fragonard, he became a major figure of the Art Deco period, with his work surging in popularity in both the United States and Europe throughout the 1920s and 1930s. He also worked as a designer in fashion studios during a time when the industry was undergoing a major change, moving away from the conservatism of the 19th century towards a more progressive simplicity. He died on December 20, 1950, at his home in Paris, France.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice publications on Icart available.