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Stuart Davis(1894-1964)

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Not many Europeans are familiar with the works by Stuart Davis. Davis is for the Americans the equivalent of what matisse is for the Europeans. Of course Matisse is far more known than Davis ever will become, but study his works closely and you can similarities between the appraoch of the composition and the elements within the composition. Sandberg was an admirer so was Gielijn Escher

left Davis/ right Gielijn Escher

 

Rudi Fuchs wrote an excellent text on Stuart Davis in the Stedelijk Museum Bulletin from 1998 . The publication is available at www.ftn-books.com. It explains why Davis works are lesser known , but for me the conclusion was …please give me more. These works are fascinating and a joy to look at.

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The article below comes from Wikipedia:

Stuart Davis, (born December 7, 1894, PhiladelphiaPennsylvania, U.S.—died June 24, 1964, New York, New York), American abstract artist whose idiosyncratic Cubist paintings of urban landscapes presaged the use of commercial art and advertising by Pop artists of the 1960s.

Davis grew up in an artistic environment. His father was a graphic artist and art editor of a Philadelphia newspaper, where he worked with William J. Glackens, George Luks, John Sloan, and Everett Shinn, all later famous as members of the Ashcan school of American painting. His parents encouraged his interest in art, and at age 16 he quit high school to study painting in New York City under Robert Henri, leader of the group known as The Eight (later absorbed into the Ashcan school), whose teaching emphasized the importance of taking subject matter from urban life.

By 1913 Davis was competent enough to show five watercolours in the Armory Show. This was the first large exhibit in the United States of avant-garde European art, and the event marked a turning point in his career. Over the next few years he strove to achieve the compositional order, nonimitative colour, and shallow picture space characteristic of the new European painting. He began to experiment with collage (a recently invented technique of making compositions from bits of paper and objects glued to a surface) and sometimes varied the usual process by making paintings of his collages, as in Lucky Strike (1921), finally arriving at a completely nonillusionistic style, which culminated in his Egg Beater series of 1927–30.

In 1928 Davis traveled to France, where he spent a year painting relatively realistic street scenes in Paris. Back in the United States during the Great Depression of the 1930s, he developed a new style based on the rhythmic contrast between geometric areas of flat colour and objects clearly defined in linear perspective. During these years, Davis was an outspoken opponent of fascism and, in 1938, became the national chairman of the American Artists’ Congress.

After the mid-1940s, Davis produced many of his most important works, such as The Mellow Pad(1945–51) and Little Giant Still Life (1950). These meticulously planned and executed paintings possess a wit and gaiety in contrast to Abstract Expressionism, the then-dominant style of art. Davis was inspired by taxis, storefronts, and neon signs. The dissonant colours and lively, repetitive rhythms in his work can be seen as visual analogs to jazz music, which he loved.

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Victor Vasarely another special edition added

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I have had a weakness for the art of Victor Vasarely. It must have been one of my first encounters with Modern Art in the Mid Sixties. In the window of an art dealer in de Hoogstraat in Den Haag there were on display signed serigraphs by Vasarely and since OP Art and Pop Art were popular  i took an interest in these Vasarely too. I could not afford them, but found some 20 years later that Vasarely published highly affordable book publications which had the same quality as his prints. I have been collecting and adding Vasarely books and special publications to my collections ever since and yesterday i added another special publication. It is the 1961 Hanover gallery Vasarely catalogue. Not too many pages ( 32) , but what makes this special is the extra silkscreened inlay which can be combinedx together with the first print within the catalogue. My guess is not many of this rare cataloguue will have survived and what makes it even more special is the pristine condition of both silkscreened print and bookpage. Here are the photographs of this special and highly collectible Vasarely catalogue which is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Jim Dine (1935)

He is for certain one of the greatest Pop Art artists if ever there was one. One from the first generation of Pop Art artists who rose to fame in the early 60’s and who even had some great exhibitions in the years to follow at the Stedelijk Museum and the Boymans van Beuningen museum in the Netherlands in the 60’s and 70’s. Both museum have since some great paintings in their collections , (left Stedelijk / right Boymans van Beuningen)

but the Stedelijk Museum stands out for me , because beside multiple art works in their collection they published one of the first simple orange/red catalogues designed by Wim Crouwel. This one devoted specially to the drawings of Jim Dine and available at www.ftn-books.com and this is Wim Crouwel classic

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But of course there are other Jim DIne titles also available at http://www.ftn-books.com

 

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Konrad Klapheck (1935)

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It is still not clear to me if i should call the art by Konrad Klapheck the german equivalent of Pop Art or German realism. …Just tell me what you think yourself?

Fact is that his art is highly recognizable and emerged in an era where ordinary items like typewriters and teakettles were blown up, abstracted and enhanced and painted on canvas. The art of Konrad Klapheck could be described as a typical “east german” kind of art the use of green and brown are very present in his paintings, but where this comes from is not clear, because he was born , raised and even studied in Dusseldorf. But his use of these specific colors makes this not the happy kind of Pop Art like the Pop Art of the Americans or the French, but a restrained kind of Pop Art. His subsequent paintings, often large in scale, are precise and seemingly realistic depictions of technical equipment, machinery and everyday objects, but strangely alienated; they are “monumental, amusingly absurd and sexually suggestive”.

Klapheck’s subjects through the years have included (in order of introduction) typewriters, sewing machines, water taps and showers, telephones, irons, shoes, keys, saws, car tires, bicycle bells and clocks. Influenced by Duchamp, Man Ray, and Max Ernst, Klapheck’s “ironic treatment of everyday mechanics” prefigures Pop art in its magnification of the trivial. www.ftn-books.com has some Klapheck titles available

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Pop Art exhibitions in the Low Countries.

According to my information the first large scale Pop Art exhibitions in the Netherlands took place in 1964. With it was the famous Wim Crouwel designed catalogue published with the upper right corner  “folded”.

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A spectacular cover and an example for many other designers to follow this and being inspired by this cover for the years to come. Since, other exhibition  followed of which many publications are available at www.ftn-books.com. One other has certainly to be mentioned because it followed in the year after the Stedelijk Museum exhibition took place. In this case POP ART was combined with the French/Belgium wave which followed in the steps of Pop Art, Le NOUVEAU REALISME.

 

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This way the United States Pop Art mouvement was combined with the European Pop Art artist like Martial Raysse.

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Since other Pop Art exhibitions took place all over Europe, but the Netherlands  and Belgium stayed interested in this fascinating art. I remember recent exhibitions in Schiedam, Nijmegen, Kunsthal Rotterdam, Brussels and the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag all being successful, making Pop Art an established art form…Pop Art is here to stay.

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the galerie Arnaud and Ado ( the artist)

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One of the most intriguing books in my collection of www.ftn-books.com is this precious book Dai DAi Submarine by Ado. I found it years ago and it is for some inexplicable reason still for sale. The design is striking. the contents is typical Pop Art and the design /lay out are one of a kind . A book that should find a nice spot in a Sixties design collection. I have only one available and the condition is excellent. Book published by Galerie Arnaud in 1969 and believed to have an edition of less than 500.

 

 

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Ferdi ( Ferdina Jansen 1927-1969)

Ferdi was the wife of dutch Pop Art painter and sculptor Shinkichi Tajiri and was married to him until her tragic death in 1969. If i look at her work now, the first other artist i think about is Niki de Saint Phalle. I really do not know if they have known each other but it is possible when you look at the time frame, they possibly knew and inspired each other. Ferdi, educated by Ossip Zadkine, used large pieces of cloth and textiles to assemble her figures female form inspired figures for which she has become very well known in the Netherlands. Recently, I think it was 2012 , the Rijksmuseum acquired WOMB TOMB with the help of the heirs of her estate

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Her husband Shinkichi Tajiri is nowadays a recognized and settled name and specially known for his large Pop Art sculptures. Ferdi is far less known. Her works appear sometimes at auction but that is it for this moment. It is time that some dutch museum shows new interest in her because her works fascinate and deserve to be known abroad too. The stedelijk Museum published a very nice catalogue with her works which was designed by Wim Crouwel and some 15 years ago another important book was published in which her works were shown together with toise from her husband. Both are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Allen Jones (1938) is British Pop Art

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For me Allen Jones stands for his mannequin like sculptures. Possibly the best known is a woman kneeling on all fours with on her back a glas table surface. The sculpture acting like a salon table. This use of glass and mannequin sculptures is frequently done by Jones. He made several tables and even some chairs out of these mannequins.

This is possibly the most famous part from his oeuvre, but one must not forget his paintings. Highly original Pop Art paintings and well deserving their place among the best Pop Art in the world. Jones his images are influenced by Lindner but they also have some parts of the cheesecake poses of the ones Mel Ramos produced ( tomorrows blog).

www.ftn-books.com has some Jones items available

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Salvatore Scarpitta (1919-2007)

 

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Lets start a five day blog session with forgotten artists and here is the first to appear in this FTN blog.

An American artist with an Italian background, but born , raised and died in New York. In between he moved to California and studied art in Rome. I tried to figure out the italian influence in his works, but can only see his American roots. If  ever there is an influence it probably is the American Pop Art scene that influenced him. What struck me in his life that he was a passionate racing driver and at one time even had his own racing team. His life and progression in art develop a little like the Italian multi talented artist Carlo Mollino, who was also a passionate racing driver, but where Mollino convinces with his aesthetics, Scarpitta is a far more robust and less subtile artist. Still his works stand out from his contemporaries with the frequent use of wood, steel and bandaged objects.

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He fascinates…and deserves to be known by far more people . www.ftn-books.com has a few titles on Scarpitta available.

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You want to learn the story of Salvatore Scarpitta as a racing driver? you will find it over here:

https://www.classicdriver.com/en/article/classic-life/monuments-man-dirt-track-racer-tale-salvatore-scarpitta

 

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Jasper Johns (1930)

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Another great artist who surfaced in the Sixties was Jasper Johns. Starting his career at the end of the Fifties , he soon became one of the best known and expensive artists from his generation. At one time one of his flag paintings was the first to fetch an incredible 10 Million dollars at auction, making it the most expensive painting by a living artist.

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Now we are accustomed to these crazy prices collectors are paying for art, but at that time is was unbelievable that a living artist could fetch such a price. Because of his popularity Johns soon had an exhibitions in the Netherlands at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. A special print exhibition and this exhibition was for me personally the perfect one.

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It was one of the first exhibitions i ever visited in the Stedelijk. I had an interest in graphic art and , young as i was,  a rookie in the world of art, i had no idea of prices. I thought i could afford a small print. But no way, these were far too expensive for a young starting collector. What remains?   … i still have the catalogue for sale at http://www.ftn-books.com and cherish it together with my personal copy. Book design was done by Wim Crouwel and it is available at www.ftn-books.com together with other Jasper Johns titles.