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Picasso and Monet in the Gemeentemuseum

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About 30 years ago Rudi Fuchs became director of the Gemeentemuseum and one of the first things he notices was the limited amount of purchase power he had in building a new collection for the Gemeentemuseum. He wanted to expand the collection with some quintessential new works which showed the importance of the collection. At that time most of the dutch museum were all collecting the same dutch artists, because there were no funds to acquire works on the international market and thus build the same kind of collection in contemporary art. Fuchs developed an idea to sell 3 of the less important major works from the collection of the Gemeentemuseum.  Being 2 Picasso paintings and the early Monet /Quai du Louvre. All important , all very well known and probably priceless at auction. These highly important works would easily fetch over 50 million USD at that time and with the interest of that sum he would ten fold his budget for purchasing art. Politics thought different, because these works were not bought by the museum but bestowed to the museum.

This morning i remembered these paintings and realized that when they had been sold , they would have been lost for the Gemeentemuseum visitors, but even more important….with an interest rate of less than 1% , there would not have been sufficient funds to acquire anything important in todays art market. Conclusion for me that it is a good thing that they were not sold and can still be admired in the gorgeous Berlage building which houses the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.

For those that are interested in the collection of the Haags Gemeentemuseum…please take a look at www.ftn-books.com

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Jean Lurçat et “La Creation du Monde” ( 1949)

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Jean Lurcat, is not forgotten by those who are interested in the art of the 40’s and 50’s from last century. A contemporary and ground breaking artist who’s works can be considered among the best that french art has produces in those decades.  When i have to describe his art it would be something in between a Picasso and Matisse style, but totally Lurcat and original. Sandberg recognized his importance and made an exhibition with his works in 1959 in the Stedelijk Museum.

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My interest was awakened last year , because i had the opportunity to buy possibly the most important book published with Lurcat lithographs. Published in an edition of only 99 copies, signed by the artist and numbered in print ( This is no. 20). The book LA CREATION DU MONDE, was published by Les Exemplaires with a story by Andre de Richaud and contains in total 56 original lithographs by Jean Lurcat. The book was printed by Mourlot/ Paris who was the leading printer for original lithographs in those days . Because of their qualities they were commissioned by the Galerie Maeght for their art publications too. The book is one of the highlights in my inventory and would grace many art book collection, but as always pictures tell a better story than words. Therefore i give you an impression of this magnificent publication which is now for sale together with the Sandberg designed catalogue at www.ftn-books.com

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Heinz Berggruen (1914-2007)… AAA publications

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What is the resemblance between Ernst Beyeler and Heizn Berggruen? ….. both are grand masters of the Modern Art dealer world, both have become famous and both have started their own galleries and the result was that in the end they both had their own museum. Beyeler in Riehen and Berggruen in Berlin.

This blog tells something about the history of Heinz Berggruen, who started his art dealer career with buying some Paul Klee’s in a time that money was scarce and good quality art and appreciation of modern art even more problematic. Still he bought one of his first water colours by Paul Klee for $ 100,- of a jewish person who was in need of money. This way he started dealing and collecting art and continued to do so , even after he resigned from his Paris gallery in 1980, and continued building his own collection into one of the great collections of modern art in the world. The collection contained, Paul Klee, Braque, Klee, Matisse, Giacometti and a very large collection of over 80 Picasso paintings. All this great art made it invaluable. The result …he wanted  the collection to stay together and sold his collection to the Berggruen Museum at a reduced price where his collection is now on show. Over 100 masterpieces still together at one place, the Berggruen Museum.

http://www.smb.museum/museen-und-einrichtungen/museum-berggruen/home.html.

What made me look up the story of HeinZ Berggruen?  About two years ago i had a chance to buy a small collection of Berggruen catalogues at auction and had the final bid. At home i was struck with these beautiful little books. In many cases there was original art in them or on the cover. The best for me is the Arp catalogue , but all these small gems together give a great impression of the quality Heinz Berggruen realized with his art publications of his favorite artists. These are all AAA publications.

The ones in the picture are for sale at www.ftn-books.com

berggruen set

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Arshile Gorky (1904-1948)

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Friend of famous surrealists like Breton, Tanguy and Matta, but above all finding his own way in painting . Influenced by Picasso, Cezanne and later Miro, Gorky received several exhibitions in the Netherlands. The dutch public was spoiled by the exhibitions in the Stedelijk and Boijmans and this was something different. It wasn’t abstraction as they encountered it in the fifties and sixties, but it also was not surrealism as the Boijmans had had on show.

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It was a symbiosis between cubism and surrealism and this combination made Gorky stand out from the other painters from his generation and for this combination he would become known after his suicide in 1948. There are some nice Gorky publications available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Antonio Saura (1930-1998)

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When you mix Jackson Pollock with Jean Dubuffet with a topping of a little bit Picasso you get Antonio Saura. Abstraction at his best, because within the composition one always can recognize something realistic. A face , a body , some houses they are all there if you find the rest to study these great paintings. This is not simple, easy art, but it needs to be savored in a slow way. Because the fist impression is chaos, one tends to walk away from it, but just give it a minute or two and the paintings opens up to you.

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La grande foule, 1963, oil on canvas, 220 x 515 cm

It is a pity that there are so few of these fascinating Saura paintings in the Netherlands, but once you have a chance to visit the modern art museums in Spain they are easy to spot and to enjoy. www.ftn-books.com is fortunate to have a nice selection of books on Saura including the Stedelijk Museum catalogue by Wim Crouwel.

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Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973)

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The importance of Lipchitz can not be underestimated, because he was was probably the first who worked out cubism in 3D. His cubist sculptures are highly recognizable and because the artist has a strong following in the Netherlands, where he had in the late 50’s some Stedelijk MUseum presentations curated by Willem Sandberg, his works can be found in most of the large museums in the Netherlands. Paris is where he studied and found soul mates .

It was there, in the artistic communities of Montmartre and Montparnasse, that he joined a group of artists that included Juan Gris and Pablo Picasso as well as where his friend, Amedeo Modigliani, painted Jacques and Berthe Lipchitz.

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Living in this environment, Lipchitz soon began to create Cubist sculpture. In 1912 he exhibited at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts and the Salon d’Automne with his first solo show held at Léonce Rosenberg‘s Galerie L’Effort Moderne in Paris in 1920. With artistic innovation at its height, in the 1920s he experimented with abstract forms he called transparent sculptures. Later he developed a more dynamic style, which he applied with telling effect to bronze compositions of figures and animals.

For more publications on cubism and Lipschitz please visit www. ftn-books.com

 

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Erotic Art . Kronhausen collection ao

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First springday in the Netherlands and a very nice 18 degrees celsius made me clean our terrace with the high pressure cleaner….away wth the green algae and a four hour job. It is like meditation….always the same movement from left to right and my mind thought about the blog i had to make today. What is the subject which always attracts the most readers…yes it still i sex. so i decided to devote the blog to erotic art. All great artist from the middle ages until today always have at one time made their own interpretation of the female body and the act of intercourse. Picasso, Dali, Bellmer, Ernst, Mapplethorpe, Wesselman, Rodin and Ramos…just to name a few. From the mid sixties there were even some collectors who collected erotic art. The most famous ones were the Kronhausens. Their collection travelled the world and made erotic art  more acceptable. Nowadays one is not surprised nor shocked when seeing a highly erotic subject from an artist , but in those days these exhibitions were a first. www.ftn-books.com has some nice books on this subject and other publication throughout the years  prove that the subject is still a very popular one.

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Icônes de l’Art Moderne. La Collection Chtchoukine

 

And there we were at the Fondation Louis Vuitton for the Chtchoukine collection…..

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Linda, David , Monica and myself were looking forward to visit this exhibition. What could we expect? Great Picasso’s, the best Matisse paintings, iconic Monet’s.  and all in one exhibition …to see this must be a fantastic experience. Some of them i had seen before, like the Gauguin’s in the Beyeler and some even 100 times or more ,because these were in the Gemeentemuseum exhibition in 1996″ FROM MONET TO MATISSE”.

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Monet tot Matisse

The bowl with gold fish by Matisse is such a painting, but it were the lesser known paintings that impressed me most. There was this magnificent small Rousseau in which one could see the early days of industrialization. Airplane and balloon prominently present in the painting. Furthermore there was this Maurice Denis with the subdued pastel colors. Looking like the dejeuner sur l’Herbe but in the Denis way and a beautiful, very impressive Picasso of 3 Nude Women. But the best was at the end . The part where you could see Chtchoukine had a very good eye for the modern, because the Rodtchenko’s and Malevitch’s were the works in which you could see the transition into Modern Art.

Here above are my favorites from this exhibition and of course there are many books to be found on these painters in the inventory of www.ftn-books.com

 

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Fondation Louis Vuitton

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We joined our friends David and Monica this weekend in Paris. Planning this to meet each other half way planet earth took some organization, but it was worth it, because the exhibition of the Sergueï Chtchoukine collection is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity to see all these marvelous paintings in one place. Later i will blog on the exhibition itself, but for now i will focus on the building in which it is presented…the Fondation Louis Vuitton. Starting as a company making high quality bags, travel trunks and accessories out of prepared canvas and leather, the company later became one of the leading companies in the fashion world. Nowadays they are part of the LVMH group. A large holding specializing in luxury goods and one of the wealthiest companies in the world….and that shows, because in the Bois de Boulogne they build a museum which can not be compared with anything i have seen except the other Gehry designed buildings. Guggenheim Bilbao, Vitra in Weil Am Rhein and the Disney Concert Hall in LA), but this one is special….. First of all the layers / shells are all executed in white instead of the aluminium ones in Bilbao and L.A.). constructed and attached to each other with wooden supporting beams and because of the outer layer material, it was possible for Daniel Buren to convert these shells into one of his most complex, impressive and colorful In Situ works ever.

When you walk towards the entrance you get a glimpse of the pattern as it is executed, but when you leave the museum at the other side and walk into the garden, …..get some distance…..there it is …. you see a beautiful building totally covered by a great work of art. I do not know how long the Buren will be visible on the building but as long it is there, try to see it because it is well worth to see this one “live”. Compare it with the Christo In Situ works. Whenever you have seen one there is no photograph which can be compared with seeing the project with your own eyes. The scale in which it is executed makes these works special and so is this Daniel Buren….and Yes the Fondation Louis Vuitton is not the only one who combined these artist together, because books on Vuitton, Gehry and Buren can all be found at www.ftn-books.com

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Pablo Picasso and Guernica

 

schermafbeelding-2016-09-08-om-19-32-09Personally i am not a great fan of Picasso. I understand his importance for Modern Art, but somehow he never appealed to me very much. One exception . In 1937 Picasso painted GUERNICA. The first time i saw this extremely large painting was in 1977 when i visited New York with my father. It was breathtaking!

So much to see in this painting. I shows the city of Guernica while it was bombarded by the Condor legion of the Luftwaffe. Pure panic and chaos on every painted part of the painting. This is a painting you must see in reality, because the sheer size is breathtaking already. It was one memory i brought home with me.

About 12 years ago the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag had the studies for Guernica in a special show and even on these much smaller studies you can see the struggle of the painter and the power of the subject.

A few years ago we went to the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid and saw this masterpiece again. The same experience…still breathtaking.

When you look at this painting you can see that it has influenced many painters. . For one, there is a dutch painter  ” Willy Boers” who borrowed the theme with the horse and made his own version of chaos and despair. The painting is called “La Quintessence” dated 1947/1948, 10 years after Guernicia was painted and is depicted in DOORBRAAK VAN DE MODERNE KUNST IN NEDERLAND. Can you spot the similarities too?

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wilfried

www.ftn-books.com

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Maeght – Derriere le Miroir…Great art can be inexpensive.

Maeght editeur is one of the leading art publishers from the last 50 years. Beside the exhibitions they organized, they are also a very influential publisher in the art scene. One publication in particular stands out …and that is the DERRIERE LE MIROIR series….which was published from 1946-1982. Many great names were presented within this series and beside the many Miro publications, there were also volumes devoted to Picasso, Braque, Calder, Bazaine and many others. What makes this series so great is the original lithographs that are included in each volume. Beside the normal illustrations there were original lithographs in almost each volume. depending on the number of pages there were at least 2, but in many cases 8 to 10 originals to be found in each number and sometimes they were printed over 2 pages, which made the size 22 x 14.8 inches. really impressive and because they were not numbered nor signed they were published with a reasonable retail price, but they stayed affordable and when you calculate the price per original lithograph, they are right out “cheap”.

The series eventually stopped in the early eighties , but during the time of its publication the artist within the series got an opportunity to make a publication for “everyman” .

www.ftn-books.com still has a nice selection of this great and historic series. Among the titles available there are volumes containing works by Calder, Braque and Miro and i can only give the highest recommendation to these very nice books with great art within them.