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Aart Klein (1909-2001) …typically dutch?

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No definitely not!….Klein is of the most important dutch photographers from the last century and recorded daily life in the Netherlands , but that does not mean that his photographs are typically dutch. Their subject is in many cases dutch, but their appeal is more international than one would imagine. I have sold Klein publications all over the world , including some to Japan. Aart Klein is for me one of the greats from the last century . His black and white photography has a graphic quality, which is rarely seen among his contemporaries.

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The Stedelijk Museum devoted a special exhibition to his photographs, but beside this special show he contributed to many other exhibitions with his quality photographs. Aart Klein publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Arie van Geest (1948)

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Without realizing i have collected a beautiful small collection with works by Arie van Geest. Born in Maasland he stayed in the region and had several studios in Rotterdam. The friendship with Pat Andrea shows in his early works which were a little surreal, but in the mid eighties he changed in the approach of his painting. His works became abstract with realistic elements and that is the time i met Arie and bought my first drawing. Together with Mariette Josephus Jitta, as the curator in charge, he made the Tableau Mourant exhibition in which 98 watercolors were shown. This series was later bought by the van Gogh Museum. For the exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum 2 editions were made. One “ordinary edition” designed by Paul Stoute and the other a linnen bound one, with a drawing/watercolor by van Geest.

The style changed dramatically and personally i prefer this “new” Arie van Geest above his more realistic style. He stayed loyal to this new found abstract style for almost 20 years and changed again to a more a realistic way of painting in 2002. All three periods are important, but when you look at the museums that bought Arie van Geest ( Gemeentemuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Boymans van Beuningen ) , They all made their acquisitions in the abstract period, except for the Athens Museum which made purchases from his most recent period. Arie van Geest was represented by Delta Gallery. He now has frequent shows with Livingstone gallery.  I have decided to sell part of my Arie van Geest works, so please have a look at FTN art and for the book related material visit www.ftn-books.com

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Wally Elenbaas (1912-2008) & Esther Hartog.

An artist couple that survived WWII but of whom Wally was put in prison, because of Nude photography which was still forbidden in the sixties. Wally spent 9 months in jail because of these beautiful photographs, taking all the blame and preventing that his wife would be punished too for making the same kind of photographs. Now in these modern times it is almost unthinkable that an artist would be put in prison, but in the early sixties it was done. Why took Wally all the blame on him?…… because he feared that esther would become insane since her family lost their lives in prison and concentration camps and by all means he wanted to prevent this to happen. A sad, but also beautiful love story which was the fundament of all their great photographs they made together and of each other.

It is now almost 10 years after Elenbaas died, but since his death a growing appreciation is there for the photography of both these artists which resulted in a beautiful impressive book published by nai010 which is also available at www.ftn-books.com

ellenbaas

 

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Stang Gubbels …. a dutch designer

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It was at the time Wim van Krimpen was the director for the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag that i met Stang Gubbels. Stang had worked with van Krimpen before on some projects he did with the KUNSTHAL/ Rotterdam. His style and designs are truly original , highly recognizable and together with the designs by Irma Boom and Gracia Lebbink, belons to the best dutch designs produced during the last 2 decades in the Netherlands.

Stang has an excellent internet site which can be reached at www.stang.nl and for those looking for his scarce publications…..www.ftn-boooks.com has two nice STANG titles available.

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Cas Oorthuys….continued

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6 months ago i published a blog on Cas Oorthuys, but since i discovered some more titles in which Oorthuys contributed to the photography. The most important one?  ROTTERDAM…Dynamische stad. 100% filled with great Oorthuys photography. Dated 1959. You can see a city , resurrecting after the WWII bombardment which removed the heart of this great city in the Netherlands. The photographs are all printed full page or spread over 2 pages . Size is almost folio like with 12 x 10.9 inches, linnen bound with gold /relief printing on the cover makes this one of the more important Photography books in my collection. It is availabel at www.ftn-books.com

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oorthuys rotterdam

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Tomas Rajlich (1940) in the Boijmans van Beuningen until the 27th of May.

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Last Sunday me and Linda visited the Tomas Rajlich exhibition in the Boijmans van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam. I had to see it , because i am a long time admirer of the works by Rajlich. Fundamental paintings almost like Minimal art , Rajlich stayed loyal to his monochrome paintings, with or without a grid with or without a very precise space of 5 cm. in between the lines just paint.  I admire his gold paintings with the pencil grids, but his grids can appear in very different ways. white lines, black lines, pencil or painted with the fingers or the entire hand. The ones in the Boijmans have a vertical grid which is applied with some sort of comb and like the smaller sketches/drawings in the adjacent room, glitter is applied on the surface which gives an extra dimension. Still the execution of the paintings is almost the same like some 30 years ago.

Look at the details of one of his gold paintings and the much more recent red painting. At the bottom of the painting it looks like paint is dripping from the canvas. as if all sites matter except the bottom. Rajlich is for my personally one of the most fascinating artist whom i have met and his art is timelesss. I am glad this show is organized with a great and impressive overview of some of his best recent paintings ( 2003) which he has lent on an extended loan to the Boijmans van Beuningen.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice and rare Tomas Rajlich publications available

Here is the text Boijmans published on its site:

Painting was declared dead in the early 1970s. Tomas Rajlich (1940) opposed this notion and revived painting by making the act of painting itself the subject of his canvases. In 1975 he was one of the most important exponents of Fundamental painting: a collective term for works in which idea and materials are inseparable. Rajlich still considers himself a Fundamental painter and has continued to develop as such to the present day.

The grids that were so characteristic of Rajlich’s early works seem to have disappeared from his recent monochrome canvases. The grid has become simply one of the elements, like the paint, glitter and linen that Rajlich uses to build up his extravagant paintings.

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Oval paintings …. rarely seen

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The Oval shape is the less common shape among constructivist, but is was at one time used by some great names in art. Piet Mondriaan used it and also Roy Lichtenstein was a fan and used the shape in his Mirror paintings. Put them beside each other and you will notice similarities between the two. Not only the shape , but also how the space is filled with the composition. I noticed this because a few weeks ago i went to an auction viewing and found the drawings by Henk de Looper for auction. All oval shaped and they really fascinated me.

 

Here is some information on this forgotten artist who deserves better and is represented by gallery PHOEBUS in Rotterdam.

https://www.phoebus.nl/KUNSTENAAR/Henk.de.Looper

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Andre Volten (1925-2002)

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Andre Volten is arguably the greatest sculptor form the second half of last century in the Netherlands. Educated in Amsterdam he soon became friends with contemporary artists like Ongenae. AAfter his arrival in Amsterdam he founded the LIGA NIEUWE BEELDEN and developed his art into a very personal form of abstract expressionism. Because he was at one time employed as a welder, steel and other metals were like wax in his hands and he could bend and transform them into the sculptures he wanted to make from the available materials. The result …. some magnificent large sculptures in public places. Sometimes they are hidden , but in many cases they are in the open. Just look at these 2 examples and find many more in classic publications on this artist at www.ftn-books.com. Among them iconic Wim Crouwel designed in brown and black cover . One of my personal favorites.

For more information on Volten please look at the www.andrevolten.nl site for information on the Volten foundation

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Kees van Bohemen (1928-1985)

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Yesterday i mentioned the POSTHOORNGROEP and one of its members was Kees van Bohemen.

I remember that at one time, me and my parents visited a restaurant next door to the Haagse Kunstkring on the Denneweg in Den Haag and my mother told me that at the bar was a famous The Hague artist….Kees van Bohemen. I only knew his name from the paintings i had seen at the Gemeentemuseum, but possibly this was the first time i saw a true artist/painter in the “wild”. I remember he was drinking a beer and never left the bar during our meal. Many years later we met again in the Gemeentemuseum and at that occasion van Bohemen was offering his publications and some prints to be sold at the museumstore of the Gemeentemuseum. We took some of them in consignation and since i have been following his career. Making exhibitions at Pulchri, Kunstkring and Delta gallery it always struck me that his style was typical sixties and highly recognizable. Nowadays you encounter his works at the less prestigious auctions ( Venduehuis and AAG) but this does not mean they are not to be admired, they may not be in a price bracket of the Warhol’s and Basquiat’s, but that is not what art is about. The art of van Bohemen is admirable and deserves to be collected and shown in museums and fortunately many do admire his works. Here are the publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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David Levinthal (1949) and Henk Tas ( 1948)

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For me David Levinthal is the US equivalent of Henk Tas in the Netherlands. Age difference is only 1 year and both have developed their photography into a form of staged photography where both use little ( plastic) figurines to populate their photographs. Where Levinthal uses baseball , barbie and military figures, Tas uses animals and female figures in a setting strongly influenced by music. http://www.henktas.nl/home.php?kid=1

If you read the text on Wikipedia on Levinthal you realize that these photographs are not made in an easy way. Setting, staging and lightning all need to be perfect for a good photograph.Here is part of what Wikipedia says about Levinthal

His work is included in the permanent public collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art,[2] and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. He has had solo exhibitions in New York City, Los Angeles, and Portland, Oregon.

Levinthal has produced a diverse oeuvre, utilizing primarily large-format Polaroid photography. His works touch upon many aspects of American culture, from Barbie to baseball to X-rated dolls. He uses small toys and props with dramatic lighting to construct mini environments of subject matters varying from war scenes to voyeurism to racial and political references to American pop culture.

He creates miniature scenarios using shoeboxes, cardboard, and foam core to make miniature offices, hotel rooms, pool halls, foyers and narrow corridors. These shadowy and dark scenes expose the secrecy and intimacy of small spaces. Levinthal is particularly interested in exploring the different emotions that each scene produces, such as reactions to an office corridor in contrast to those to a hospital or a private bedroom. Indeed, there is an inherently voyeuristic aspect to these early works.

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I love both artists and can offer a nice original by Henk Tas in a private sale. For the books on these artists visit www.ftn-books.com where there is the best book on Tas available and the highly collectable Smithsonian catalogue on Levinthal’s photographs.