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Peter Stämpfli (1937)

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The reason for this blog is that i lately found sand deiscovered some interesting Pop Art artists in Germany and Switzerland and Peter Stämpfli is one of them.

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Born July 3, 1937 in Deisswil, Switzerland Stämpfli is a Swiss painter of the Pop Art movement. A major figure in 20th century painting, Peter Stämpfli has always scrutinized everyday life: our environment, our objects, our gestures. However, far from being satisfied with the simple appearance, his work has endeavored to reveal the depth and the strength that it contains. From 1963, the artist devotes himself to a work of inventory of all the repetitive details of everyday life, which he methodically fixes on a white background. The artist isolates, from 1969 until today, the pattern of the tire, emblematic of our industrial society; it quickly becomes his favorite theme and offers countless variations. Interview with an artist who appropriates his entourage in amazing simplicity to invent his own icons… an absolutely Pop art.

www, ftn.books.com has added a Centre Georges Pompidou title recently. It is the book published on the occasion of the 1981 Paris exhibition in the Pompidou museum.

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Marlene Dumas (continued)

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Undoubtedly Marlene Dumas has proven to be one of the leading artists from last and this century. Always surprising original and highly recognizable. I always have admired her and i am still adding publications on her to my inventory. Last addition is the exhibition catalogue for the Cabinet at the Centre Pompidou in 2002. Beautiful and sparkling publication ands now available at http://www.ftn-books.com.

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Jean Widmer (1929)

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Yesterdays blog and the acquisition of some former Ben Bos library books on grapphic design inspired me to find some more information on Jean Widmer.

Jean Widmer is an acclaimed Swiss graphic designer too based in France.

From 1946 to 1950 he studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Arts and Crafts) of Zurich, then directed by the former Bauhaus master Johannes Itten (1888-1967). In 1953 he moved to Paris, where attended lithography courses at the École des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts).

After one-year internship at the Atelier Tolmer, located on the Île Saint-Louis, he was appointed Art Director of SNIP—Société Nouvelle d’Information et de Publicité (New Society of Information and Advertising), holding this charge from 1956 to 1959. He later moved to Galeries Lafayettes, a major department store, substituting Peter Knapp as its Art Director, from 1959 to 1961. At the same time he also worked at Jardin des Modes magazine as art director and photographer, holding the position until 1969. During the 1960s he also travelled in Japan to study ‘shodo,’ Japanese calligraphy, and ‘mon,’ Japanese traditional crests.

In 1969 he opened Visuel Design, focusing on coordinated graphic communication for cultural and public institutions. The same year he was the first designer to develop a corporate identity system for a French cultural institution, developing the graphic communication of the CCI—Centre de Création Industrielle (Center of Industrial Creation).

It was during this period that Widmer developed his own original graphic language, based on synthesis, rigorous geometry, and schematic typography that to this day represents the first and one of the few examples of Modern graphic design in France.

In 1972 he took charge of the first design for the French Highways signage, drawing a beautiful and effective pictogram system. From 1974 to 1977, and again in 1985, he designed the coordinated identity for the Centre Georges Pompidou, formed from the merging of the CCI with other cultural institutions, for which he designed a beautiful and iconic mark that portrays the famous façade of the building.

In 1979 he designed an acclaimed poster for Kieler Woche, the major sailing event in the world that is famous in the world of graphic design for its striking communication. From 1983 to 1987 he worked on the corporate identity design for the prestigious Musée d’Orsay, in collaboration with the prominent graphic designer Bruno Monguzzi.

He continued to focus on corporate graphics for cultural institutions, developing the identity for the Théâtre National de la Colline, and the IMA—Institut du Monde Arab, both in 1987, and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in 1994. In 1989 he also designed a typefaces, Bi-89, on the occasion of the French Revolution’s bicentennial.

In 1960 he joined the faculty of the ENSAD—École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (School of Decorative Arts), Paris, where he taught until 2000 remodeling the graphic design curriculum, stressing mastery of typography and color as fundamental skills. Since the early 1990s, he also taught at the Atelier National de Recherché Typographique (National Bureau for Typographic Research).

During his career he received important recognitions, including the Toulouse-Lautrec Prize in 1980, the Grand Prix National des Arts Graphiques from the French Ministry of Culture in 1994, and the Distinctive Merit Award from the ADC (Art Directors Club), New York. He was appointed Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1983, Officer of the same order in 1991, and Commandeur in 2001.

The important Centre Georges Pompidou publication is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Balthus ( 1908-2001 )

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Balthus was the older brother of Pierre Klossowski, but beside the style which is almost identical, their subject and approach to painting are too. Where Balthus uses voyeurism in many of his paintings, Pierre Klossowski is more outspoken in his approach to sexuality.

I have always thought they were the same artist until i discoverd an exhibition where the were presented next to eachother and explained that these were brothers,

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Balthus (1908-2001) was a Polish-French artist who rejected the usual conventions of the art world and did not want to be associated with any of the art movements. His paintings often portray young girls in erotic and voyeuristic poses, but beside this his painting have a dreamlike composition. Figures are frozen in their action and the use of colors is warm and comforting. 

He is viewed as one of the great masters of twentieth-century art, and is certainly one of the truly singular painters of his time. In his complex and multifaceted oeuvre, admired by some and spurned by others, he pursued an artistic approach that embodied an alternative, and a challenge, to modern avant-gardes. In his opposition to prevailing views, he refers to a whole range of art-historical traditions and precursors. Yet in his eccentric detachment from modernism, he developed his own specific avant-garde attitude, which now appears almost postmodern and contemporary.

These are paintings to savour, but are rarely encountered outside France. His paintings are spread all over the world, but if you ask me which public collection has them, thre is only one that comes to mind. It is the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Beyler collection in Riehen, so when you find a Balthus painting, to your tme with it and savour the moment.

The above publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Jean Hélion (1904-1987)

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Try to find a good portrait of Jeran Helion and you will have a hard time finding one. There is one possible explanation and that is that Jean Hélion was a modest artist. I read a little on him and he lived for his art , developing his style into a recognizable style of his own. Helion is mostly known in France , but some of his paintings found a way acroos the French border and were presented in other museums too.

In 1921, Jean Hélion moved to Paris, working as an architect’s assistant and frequenting the Louvre. While visiting the museum, he encountered the works of Nicolas Poussin and determined to switch courses and become a painter. By the mid-1920s, Hélion had entered into a milieu of artists that included Otto Freundlich and Joaquín Torres-García. Quickly transitioning from Cubism to nonobjective abstraction, the artist adopted and implemented ideologies culled from artists such as Piet Mondrian and Max Ernst. In 1940, he joined the French resistance army, was subsequently captured, and lived as a prisoner of war for the next two years. Following his release, Hélion rejected pure abstraction in favor of more figurative elements, producing paintings which harkened back to Neoclassical compositions and the works of Fernand Léger. The artist died on October 27, 1987 in Paris, France. Today, his works are held in the collections of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, the Tate Gallery in London, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, among others.

www.ftn-books.com has some Helion publications available

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Blinky Palermo (1943-1977)

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Decades ahead of his time, the art of Blink Palermo has proven to be “classic”. The use of color and the forms he useed makes him stand out from his contemporary artists and in the decades after his death this art form developed into an art that i personally am a great fan of. Look at Piet Dirkx, Richter, Forg and many others who must be inspired by Blinky Palermo. His works are a combinaton of Constructivist and Minimal paintingsPalermo was born as Peter Schwarze, but took the name Blinky Palermo as an artist name at the time he studied with Joseph Beuys at the Dusseldorfer Kunstakademie. In 1973 he moved to New York where he stayed and worked until his death in 1977.

In the short time Blinky Palermo lived and worked as an artist he did not receive the recognition he deserved, but soon after his deat . Retrospective exhibition were being held and showed the importance of Palermo. Some of these publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

among these venues are Moma, Hirschhorn, Mocba, Lacma and Serpentine galeries. These are not the least venues to be presented as an artist and i predict that the works by Blinky Palermo prove to be highly original and groundbreaking in the years to come.

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Ben Vautier…Le Magasin de Ben

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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

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Brancusi studio

 

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One of the best (free) places to visit in Paris is the studio of Constantin Brancusi. This Studio and all its contents was left to the state of France by Brancusi after his death on the condition that it should be kept complete and on show. First it was located in the Modern art Museum at the Avenue Wilson, but later it became part of the Centre Pompidou complex. A special building by Renzo Piano ( co architect of the Pompidou) was erected and in it the complete studio with all its magnificent art works by Brancusi was re created including all his tools and equipment what makes it the complete setting as it was and gives excellent insight in the proces of creation. 30 minutes is all you need for your visit, but the memory will last a lifetime and to keep this alive there are the books available at www.ftn-books.com

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Constantin Brâncuși (1876-1957)

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With a little bit of luck i will be able to visit the studio of Constantin Brâncuși in the next couple of weeks. We are planning a Paris visit and one of the things i would like to see is the studio by Constantin Brâncuși. One which i visited over 35 years ago when i was living in Paris for a year. At that time the studio was just reconstructed and could be visited in the Modern Art Museum at the Avenue Wilson. Since the studio has been relocated and now can be visited in a special building designed by architect Renzo Pian0. The building is partly build into the surface of the square, right in front of the entrance of the Centre Georges Pompidou and the only one time i could have visited it( 8 years ago)…it was closed. There were exhibitions in between, all with works by Brancusi ( Beyeler and Boymans), but to see all of these magnificent works, brought together in one place is one of the things i really am looking forward to.

There are some nice older Brancusi titles available at www.ftn-books.com

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Agnes Martin (1912-2004)

The 3rd blog on a female artist. Tate, Moma, Lacma, Guggenheim, Centre Pompidou, Stedelijk Museum…..They all have in common that they have a work or works by Agnes Martin in their Permanent collections. Martin is considered by most as a Minimal artist but she herself thinks more of herself as an abstract expressionist painter. Anyway ,she is absolutely one of the most important and original artists from the 20th century. Personally i think her paintings have a unique quality. More Minimal than abstract, but made with a technique that is typical Agnes Martin. The Guardian says the following on Martin.

A late starter, Martin kept on going, working at the height of her powers right through her 80s; a stocky figure with apple cheeks and cropped silver hair, dressed in overalls and Indian shirts. She produced the last of her masterpieces a few months before her death in 2004, at the grand old age of 92. But she was also so deeply ambivalent about pride and success and the ego-driven business of making a name for yourself that in the 1960s she abandoned the art world altogether, packing up her New York studio, giving away her materials and disappearing in a pickup truck, surfacing 18 months later on a remote mesa in New Mexico.

When she returned to painting in 1971, the grids had gone, replaced by horizontal or vertical lines, the old palette of grey and white and brown giving way to glowing stripes and bands of very pale pink and blue and yellow. “Sippy cup colours”, the critic Terry Castle once called them, and their titles likewise address states of pre-verbal, infantile bliss. Little Children Loving Love, I Love the Whole World, Lovely Life, even Infant Response to Love. And yet these images of absolute calm did not arise from a life replete with love or ease, but rather out of turbulence, solitude and hardship. Though inspired, they represent an act of dogged will and extreme effort, and their perfection is hard-won.

Martin’s work is in museums and collections across the world, and changes hands for millions of dollars at a time. All the same, she hasn’t achieved quite the renown of her mostly male contemporaries in abstraction, partly because the subtleties of her paintings are almost impossible to reproduce in print.
I think there is one exception. the excellent poster that was an original silkscreen for the Quadrat Bottrop exhibition. It is still available at www.ftn-books.com
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