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Felix Vallotton (1865-1925)

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Felix Valotton is without a doubt one of those less familiar names in Modern Art, but still he is very important for the development of modern Art as we know it, because when you look at his works more closely you can discover the fundaments of abstraction.

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In 1893, he became a member of Les Nabis, a semi-secret, semi-mystical group of young artists, mostly from the Academie Julian, which included Pierre Bonnard, Ker-Xavier Roussel, Maurice Denis, and Édouard Vuillard, with whom Vallotton was to form a lifelong friendship. While the Nabis shared certain common ideas and goals, their styles were quite different and personal. While he was a member of the Nabis, he kept his distance; his jocular title among the Nabis was “The Foreign Nabi”, [10] Vallotton’s paintings in this period reflected the style of his woodcuts, with flat areas of color, hard edges, and simplification of detail. His subjects included genre scenes, portraits and nudes. Examples of his Nabi style are the deliberately awkward Bathers on a Summer Evening (1892–93), now in the Kunsthaus Zürich, and the symbolist Moonlight(1895), in the Musée d’Orsay.

His paintings began to be noticed by the public and critics; Bathers on a Summer Evening, presented at the Salon des Indépendents, was met with harsh criticism and laughter.  But they also woodcuts also attracted considerable and growing attention and clients, and he became financially secure. Between 1893 and 1897, he received many commissions for illustrations from notable French newspapers and magazines, including La Revue Blanche, and from foreign art publications, including The Chap-Book of Chicago. He also made woodcuts for the covers of theater programs and book illustrations. One of his prominent patrons was Thadée Natanson, the publisher of the Revue Blanche, and his wife Misia, who commissioned many important decorative works from the Nabis. Through the Natansons Vallotton was introduced to the avant-garde elite of Paris, including Stéphane Mallarmé, Marcel Proust, Eric Satie, and Claude Debussy.

During the Nabi period, he also produced a remarkable series of woodcuts. His woodcut subjects included domestic scenes, bathing women, portrait heads, and several images of street crowds and demonstrations—notably, several scenes of police attacking anarchists. He usually depicted types rather than individuals, eschewed the expression of strong emotion, and “fuse[d] a graphic wit with an acerbic if not ironic humor”. Vallotton’s graphic art reached its highest development in Intimités (Intimacies), a series of ten interiors published in 1898 by the Revue Blanche, which deal with tension between men and women. Vallotton’s woodcuts were widely disseminated in periodicals and books in Europe as well as in the United States, and have been suggested as a significant influence on the graphic art of Edvard Munch, Aubrey Beardsley, and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. In 1898, he produced one of his most important series of woodcuts,

By 1900, the Nabis had drifted apart. One source of the division was the Dreyfus affair, the case of a Jewish army officer falsely accused of aiding the Germans. The Nabis were divided, with Vallotton passionately defending Dreyfus. He produced a series of satirical woodcuts on the affair, including The age of the Newspaper,which were published on the first page of Le Cri de Paris on January 23, 1898, at the height of the affair.

Another major event during this period was his marriage to Gabrielle Rodrigues-Hénriques, a upper middle class member of the Paris artistic and social elite. The union also brought to his household three children from her previous marriage. After a brief honeymoon in Switzerland, they moved to a large apartment on near the Gare Saint-Lazare train station. He also established a solid relationship with the Bernheim family and their gallery, which presented a special exhibition devoted the Nabis, including ten of his works. The marriage brought him financial security, and he gradually abandoned woodcuts as his main source of income. Thereafter he devoted his attention almost entirely to painting. www. ftn-books.com has some titles on vallotton available.

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Hap Grieshaber (1909-1981)

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Hap Grieshaber is one of the great graphik artist from the 20th Century.

Personally i consider Hap Grieshaber, H.N.Werkman and Josua Reichert to be the top in graphic artists from the 20th century. Reichert is the best, but Grieshaber and Werkman are close in second spot.

Grieshaber is a typical 50’s /60’s artist. The first time i encountered his works i had a strong asscociation with the Catholic bid prints, inserted and collected in bibles by young people in the early 60’s.

But there is so much more to be discovered in his works than simple figures. The combination of abstract patterns in the background of slhouetted figures are typical Greishaber and make the composition to appear totally abstract. Willem Sandberg was a Grieshaber admirer and together they made one of the most iconic of all Sandberg / Stedelijk Museum catalogues

grieshaber cata a

This and other Grieshaber publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

Grieshaber was honoured with numerous prizes and retrospective exhibitions. He exhibited works at the documenta in 1959 and 1964. In honor of his 70th birthday in 1979, large retrospectives were shown in various museums in both parts of Germany. The last prize that Grieshaber was awarded in 1980 was the art prize of the town of Konstanz. Grieshaber died in 1981 in Eningen unter Achalm aged 72 years.

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Josua Reichert…5 additions

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It took me a while, but finally i purchased the small and interesting collection of Josua Reichert prints/posters i had my eye on. It contains 2 of his best and signed lino cut prints and 3 Museum publications from the Sixties. The one i want to point out is the one Reichert specially made for the Werkman exhibition in Baden-Baden. Two print masters united in one print makes this very special to me and shows the genius and complexity Reichert could realize with prints. all prints are available at www.ftn-books.com

reichert werkman a

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Erich Heckel (1883-1970)

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Germany has a great history of Woodblock printing. Dürer was one of the arliest of great artists who used the technique but the 20th century had his own group of great aretists who used the technique. Tere were of course the rtaist of the BLAUE REITER, but there was also the group of the BRÜCker to which Heckel belonged. Heckel is arguably one of the most abstract Brücke artists, but his technique is as good as all the other together, Personally i like Heckel very much and this has resulted in a nice selection of publications available at www.ftn-books.com

Heckel and other members of Die Brücke greatly admired the work of Edvard Munch, and aimed to make a “bridge” between traditional neo-romantic German painting and modern expressionist painting. The four founding members made much use of the print as a cheap and quick medium with which to produce affordable art.

Primitive art was also an inspiration to the members of the Die Brücke. It was Heckel’s brother who introduced the group to African sculpture, and it is noted that their acceptance of primitive art, which was to fortify decisively the expressive yearnings of European artists- Was unequivocal. It is through this style that they found a source of strength in the barbaric figures.

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Alfred Kubin (1877-1955)

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Alfred Kubin was a Bohemian printmaker and illustrator who became an important figure of both the Symbolist and Expressionist movements. His inventive black-and-white drawings often featured fantastical or morbid elements, and depicted supernatural creatures and sexual violence. Born on April 10, 1877 in Leitmeritz, Bohemia (now the Czech Republic), Kubin had an emotionally unstable childhood, attempting suicide and suffering a nervous breakdown before the age of 20. Upon moving to Munich in 1899, he was introduced to the works of Francisco de Goya and Max Klinger, the latter having a particularly profound impact on Kubin. He began producing nightmarish ink-and-wash drawings, and briefly became affiliated with the Russian artist émigré group, the Der Blaue Reiter, which included Wassily Kandinsky and Marianne Werefkin. Kubin was perhaps best known for illustrating the German editions of books by Edgar Allan Poe and Fyodor Dostoevsky. During rise of Nazism in Germany, his work was considered degenerate; he retreated into solitude and lived in a castle in Zwickledt, Upper Austria. He was awarded the City of Vienna Prize for Visual Arts in 1950, and died at his home on August 20, 1959.

www.ftn-books.com has Kubin titles available

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New site for FTN books and discount code

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It was a necessary step to make the site more accessible, so i changed the lay-out made it much more clear for all visitors to find their way among the 8000+ items that are for sale at www.ftn-books.com.

The result a clean and pleasing site in a blue and creme color scheme. Pleasing to the eye, with a great search engine to find those titltes you are looking for . Please take a look at www.ftn-books.com and when you order use the discount code: FTNnew (10% discount on all items), which is valid until the 6th of February 2019.

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Ans Wortel (1929-1996)

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When i started to collect art ( editions) i must have been 16 years of age and one of the first lithographs i acquired was one by Ans Wortel. A feminist artist who found her inspiration nearby. A feminine, mother, child approach to her subjects made her work very accessible and understandable to many. This together with the strong graphic quality these works were very appealing and at that time i bought 2 lithographs for my starting collection.

These were sold a long time ago because i found the works after many years to become less interesting. This was now some 30 years ago, but lately i rediscovered her works, because when you look at them again after not seeing them in a very long time , you discover them to be timeless and well worth collecting. There were other things to discover about Ans Wortel because at her peak she had some important exhibitions and became very popular as an artist in the Netherlands resulting in multiple exhibitions, among them at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam which catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

In the 1970s, the paintings and prints of Ans Wortel (1929–1996) were hailed by critics and purchased by major museums. Her work, imbued with intensely feminine themes, was very much in demand. The artist became a well-known Netherlander, whose non-conformist lifestyle spoke to everyone’s imagination. In the village of Bergen, where she lived for 20 years, her villa Kranenburgh is now museum Kranenburgh.

Tough women

Where her fellow artists sought innovation in abstraction, Ans Wortel remained faithful to figuration, developing a distinctive visual language and palette. Her paintings feature tough and robust women, with large hands and eyes, surrounded by surreal landscapes.

Liberated

In 1968 the mayor of Bergen offered her villa Kranenburgh. Many were the parties in her building – more numerous were the stories about her eccentric lifestyle. Her free-spirited life is reflected in the countless drawings and paintings that filled Kranenburgh. When, after twenty years, she had to leave the villa, she protests vehemently, but in vain.

 

 

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Zoltin Peeter (1942)

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Born in Amsterdam but living for the most part of his life in Friesland near Hallum. His works reflect the presence of the rural country side nearby. Abstract forms tumbling in an empty space. Etchings with dark thin forms in an empty white space give me the feeling of ZERO art, but it certainly is not. They fascinate and deserve to be known much better. Peeter has had some exhibitions in the 70’s in prestigious museums like the Kroller Muller Museum. The first encounter with a small work by Zoltin Peeter was his multiple he made for his 1971 exhibition in the Lakenhal. The multiple is available at www.ftn-books.com and shows directly the directions he was taking with his works. decades later you can see where is ended for now. Abstract forms, sparce use of color and in many compositions a realistic form or subject appears. I love his work and his studio…..

His studio is something different. Housed in an old shed he creates his works in the vicinity of the Friesland landscape. I found some beautiful photo’s on Google and want to share these with you , because i find them very special and they give the best impression possible of the surroundings in which Zoltin Peeter creates.

Her are the items which are for sale at www.ftn-books.com and ftn art

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Jan Montyn… author/painter/etcher

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I never had seen a Montyn work until the early ~Seventies. At that timne i bought my first Jan Montyn etching. A blue bird, simplified on a typical Montyn background. It was a fairly large etching and i had it on the wall for over 10 years and then i changed it for a photograph of Lucien Clergue. It is in a drawer for 3 decades now, but i still like it . It is the same with all other Montyn etchings. They have something dreamlike  and combine realism with abstract parts and all have great technique. Some years after i bought this etching i read the autobiography of Jan Montyn in which he tells the story of his early life. Specially the days he spent in the Foreign Legion, was shipwrecked as a sailor for the Kriegsmarine and was sent to the Eastern Front near Koerlandand and particpated in the battles over there. A colorfull figure, who perhaps did not always make the right (political) choices in his life, but his art still stands out and deserves to be appreciated apart from these. An excelllent title , published on the occasion of 75th birthday in 1999 is available at www.ftn-books.com

montyn

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Harunobu ( 1724-1770) and Utamaro (1753-1806)

Both are Japanese print masters and there is only a time difference 30 years between these two great Japanese artists, but the difference between them is as large as  a classical painting by Sir Alma Tadema and a Modern painting by Soulages.

Where Harunobu’s craftmanship is rooted in the tradition of Japanese print making , i find Utamaro’s prints being far more inventive. His lines are clean and do remind me a little of the  outlines used by Herge and Joost Swarte. Classic scenes, actors and geisha’s and even shunga prints, all is mastered by this great Japanse artist. These prints were “In Vogue” by the impressionist artists and that is one of the reasons why so many of them can be found in Western Europe. Monet had them, van Gogh collected them and even made some paintings after them and the Rijksmuseum has thousands of them in their collection from which a selection is now and then on show. These shows are accompanied by some great bilangual catalogues of which the Harunobu and Utamaro ones are for sale at www.ftn.books.com