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Billy Apple ( Barrie Bates – 1935 )

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Billy Apple is considered to be a Pop Art artist, although he side stepped at some occasions his main works are related to the Pop Art movement. Coming from New Zealand but working and living in the US he made a career for himself knowing many of his great contemporaries personally.

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Billy Apple (ONZM) is an artist whose work is associated with the New York and British schools of Pop Art in the 1960s and with the Conceptual Art movement in the 1970s. He collaborated with the likes of Andy Warhol and other pop artists. His work is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (New Zealand), Auckland Art Gallery / Toi o Tamaki (New Zealand), the Christchurch Art Gallery / Te Puna o Waiwhetu (New Zealand), The University of Auckland (New Zealand) and the SMAK/Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (Ghent, Belgium).

Barrie Bates was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1935. He left secondary school with no qualifications and took a job as an assistant to a paint manufacturer in 1951. Bates attended evening classes at Elam School of Fine Arts, where he met Robert Ellis, a graduate of the Royal College of Art in London.

In 1959 he left New Zealand on a National Art Gallery scholarship. He studied at the Royal College of Art, London, from 1959 until 1962. During his time at the Royal College of Art, Bates met several other artists who went on to become a new generation of pop artists; including David Hockney, Derek Boshier Frank Bowling and Pauline Boty. He exhibited frequently during his time at the College in the Young Contemporaries and Young Commonwealth Artists exhibitions along with Frank Bowling, Jonathan Kingdon, Bill Culbert, Jan Bensemann and Jerry Pethick.

In 1962 Bates conceived Billy Apple: he bleached his hair and eyebrows with Lady Clairol Instant Creme Whip and changed his name to Billy Apple. Apple had his first solo show in 1963 – Apple Sees Red: Live Stills – in London at Victor Musgrave’s Gallery One.

Apple moved to New York in 1964: he progressed his artistic career and also found work in various advertising agencies.

A pivotal event was the 1964 exhibit “The American Supermarket”, a show held in Paul Bianchini’s Upper East Side gallery. The show was presented as a typical small supermarket environment, except that everything in it — the produce, canned goods, meat, posters on the wall, etc. — was created by six prominent pop artists of the time, including Billy Apple, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, Jasper Johns and others.

Apple was one of the artists who pioneered the use of neon in art works (Apples to Xerox and Neon Rainbows). Other exhibitions and series include Art for Sale, The Given as an Art Political Statement, Transactions, Golden Rectangle, The Art Circuit etc.

In 2008 Apple was the subject of a feature length documentary called “Being Billy Apple”.

http://www.ftn-books.com has acquired the important UNION JACK poster by Billy Apple he made for his 2009 Witte de With exhibition. Now available at www.ftn-books.com

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George Hendrik Breitner (1857-1923)…continued

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Over 3 years ago I wrote a short blog on Breitner in which i wrote about his models and his Japanese Kimono painting. This blog is on another aspect of his artist life.

Breitner is known to have been one of the very first artists who used photography as a means for composing his paintings. The photographs he made were for him like sketches he made in the streets. These early days of photography everything was different…ni camera phones but large camera’s with sensitive plates, but the result was not only historically of importance but showed great artistry.

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This quality is now recognized of one of the very important aspects of his artist life and many of his photographs are now in public collections being a part of the heritage of the complete artist George Hendrik Breitner was. He was one of the very first street photographers in the world.

www.ftn-books.com has some Breitner photography books available.

 

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Hugh Weiss (1927-2007)

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The first time i encountered some actual painting by Hugh Weiss, was at the timne the Venduhuis held an auction with works from the estate of Hans Sonnenberg, the former owner of the Delta Gallery in Rotterdam. Sonnenberg had a very personal way of collecting and was not affraid to present young artists like Haring and Basquiat in the Eighties and Schjolte and van Geest in the Eighties/Nineties. In the Sixties he liked a different kind of art and beside some POP ART he presenetd there was this American born artist who he liked very much…..Hugh Weiss

Hugh Weiss was born in Philidelphia in 1925, but practically lived his entire working life in Paris /France. Here he has made a name for himself and from France  a contact with Sonnenberg was established, The result exhibitions at galerie Delta of which one catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com. It is the 1965 catalogue

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The works intrigue, but not so musch as that at timne of the auction i wanted to add one to my collection. I focussed instead on the Arie van Geest paintings and i was successful. Now that i look at them again in the catalogue i think it is a pity that i did not bid, but wh knows perhaps in the future there is another chance.

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Henk van Vessem (1939)

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For me van Vessem is a typical dutch abstract painter. Bright colors and a kind of abstraction that is common among dutch painters and perhaps the way these paintings feel familiar makes me less of a fan. It is a kind of art which is much appreciated by those who seek a decoration on the wall and decide for a brightly colored abstract painting. Perhaps this is a too negative approach to his painting, but since this is a personal blog  i am allowed to express my opinion on an artist and his works. I read somewhere that there are works by van Vessem to be found in the collection of the Royal House of Orange, but this does not automatically mean that one have to admire his art.

Still http://www.ftn-books.com has a nice publication available which included an original lithograph and i can understand why others like the colorful paintings by van Vessem.

 

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Daan van Golden and Mick Jagger

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At first sight an unlikely combination for the dutch Pop Art artist Daan van Golden. Still…van Golden made an hommage to Mick Jagger in 1967. The silkscreen was printed in an edition of 10 copies and is now sought after as being one of the most iconic of his works. It is a large silkscreen measuring 123 x 106 cm. and this copy of the Stadscollectie Rotterdam was acquired at the famous dDelta gallery who was at that time the representing gallery of van Golden. The image of the silkscreen was used in 1988 for the cover of the book published on the occasion of the presentation of the Stadscollectie Rotterdam . This book is now available at http://www.ftn-books.com.

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Stephen Prina a Post Conceptual artist (1954)

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Stephen Prina is an American artist whose work has been categorized as post-conceptualism. Prina is a professor at the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University.

He was born in 1954 in Galesburg, Illinois.

This is probably one of the shortest introductions i found on an artist on the internet. I like Prina’s art very much. Crates, monochrome paintings , ladders and the decoration of an entire space/ room are the elements that Piet Dirkx uses too. Both are from my generation and perhaps that is also one of the reasons i understand their art and like it so much. Where i have followed Dirkx for over 3 decades now, Prina is a discovery from the last 10 years. His exhibitions are true events but rare to be found in Europe. Still there was one held at the Boymans van Beuningen Museum in 1992 and to accompany that exhibition an artist book was published . The only color used for all pages is a bright yellow. A scarce book and now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Wally Elenbaas (Continued)

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On the 8th of May 2018 i published a blog on the very impressive photography by Wally Elenbaas. These were photographs not lightly to be forgotten. Specially because Elenbaas was sentenced to prison for these beautiful photographs.

https://ftn-blog.com/?s=elenbaas

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Now it is time to shine some light on another aspect of this great dutch artist. Elenbaas was also a gifted designer and used his typography to create images and illustrations consisting of letters transforming these and their meaning into illustrations. Images tell a far better story than words so here are some illustrations….and….the LETTERBOEK is available at http://www.ftn-books.com

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Charly van Rest (1949)

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Born in Indonesia ( Jakarta) he practically lived his entire life in the Netherlands/ Rotterdam. Perhaps this is the reason why his main exhibitions were also held in this city. van Rest had exhibitions at the Museum Boymans van Beuningen ( catalogue available at http://www.ftn-books.com ) and the Witte de With space.

At first you have to grow accustomed to his art. The way he looks at reality is transformed into a personal kind of art. The source is almost always reality. Transformed, enhanced, enlarged, cut and thereafter transformed into his personal art.

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George Segal (1924-2000)

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Because of a recent find of the 1972 Boymans van Beuningen catalogue (available at http://www.ftn-books.com) i was reminded that i never published anything on George Segal. Segal is present in some of the most important dutch collections but after some exhibitions in the Seventies his works were rarely on show in the Netherlands.

There is an excellent biography on Segal to be found on the Art Story of which i publish the text here:

George Segal was born in New York City on November 26, 1924 to Jewish immigrants from Poland. His father, who had come to America in 1922, would lose all his brothers at the hands of the Nazis. Segal’s parents ran a kosher butcher shop in the Bronx, working long hours, and dreamt of a more prosperous life for their son.

While attending public school, Segal developed a passion for art. His art teacher nurtured his love of drawing, giving him art supplies and encouraging him to explore the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Segal’s high science and math scores earned him admission to Stuyvesant, one of the city’s top public high schools. His parents, who had moved to New Jersey to run a chicken farm, hoped he would become a doctor or a scientist. Much to their dismay, Segal remained focused on art, living with his aunt in Brooklyn while finishing high school and spending weekends working on the chicken farm.

After graduating from high school in 1941, Segal sporadically attended a number of art schools. Due to the outbreak of World War II, his parents needed a hand on the chicken farm, which interrupted his course of study. Nonetheless, he continued to pursue his ambition to be an artist, taking courses when he could at New York’s Cooper Union, Rutgers University in New Jersey (where he attended night courses), and the Pratt Institute of Design in New York. In 1949 he finally graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in art education from New York University. He would later return to Rutgers University to pursue a Master of Fine Arts which he received in 1963.

Early Training

In 1946, Segal married Helen Steinberg, a girl who lived on a neighboring farm and who he first met in his teens. They bought land across the road from his father and continued in the family business of chicken farming. His pursuit of a career in art was due in part to her unwavering support, and when the threat of bankruptcy loomed in 1957, Segal used his art education degree to get a teaching job at a New Jersey high school. There, he taught art until he was able to support himself and his family solely on his income as an artist.

Throughout his early years of struggle, Segal never wavered from his pursuit of making art and showed an early interest in painting. He and his fellow New York artist friends couldn’t help but be influenced by the large-scale, color-filled paintings of the Abstract Expressionist movement that was sweeping through the New York art scene. Despite this, Segal and others in his circle were not inspired to create such works, choosing rather to create works depicting images from the real world. Many derived their inspiration from elements of popular culture and consumer images as seen in the world of advertisements, the media, and comic books; while Segal focused more on the human figure performing acts of daily life such as waiting at a station or talking on the telephone. During the 1950s Segal began to receive attention for his paintings and in 1956 he had his first solo show at the Hansa Gallery, an artist cooperative, in New York.

Mature Period

In 1961, while teaching an art class for adults, Segal discovered the substance that would become his primary medium. The husband of one of his students worked for Johnson & Johnson and asked Segal to test a new plaster bandage material and write a text about how the material could be used in art projects for children. Segal experimented with plaster, bandages, and water, manipulating and drying it into the shapes of various objects. To his excitement, Segal realized this included making casts of parts of his own body after letting the material set for only a few minutes. Inspired, Segal took the plaster casts of various parts of his body and recreated them into the form of a seated figure, incorporating objects including a table and chair to complete the work. The work, Man Sitting at a Table (1961), became the first of his plaster sculptures.

While Segal created these sculptures throughout the rest of his career, he continually experimented with different ways they could be made and refined. Moving from casts of his own body, he also used other people including his wife, friends, and eventually his daughter Rena as his models. Segal also explored the effect of adding color by painting the white plaster casts various colors and also painted some sculptures black, such as Woman Sitting on a Bed (1993) which allowed him to focus on the impact of light in a new way. Segal explored the effect of casting his sculptures in bronze and then painting the works white and also made works using only body fragments rather than depictions of the full human figure.

These plaster sculptures, which primarily depicted scenes from everyday life such as figures sitting at a diner and waiting in a station, helped to make Segal one of the leading artists of the Pop art movement. While often the subjects were engaged in some of the less exciting albeit often necessary functions of daily life, Segal also drew inspiration from popular culture. The beloved American pastime of going to the movies was referenced in his sculpture Cinema (1963) – a life-sized plaster cast figure in the act of changing a movie title on the cinema’s marquee. Hollywood factored again in his sculpture The Movie Poster (1967) which featured a plaster cast man staring at a black and white photograph of iconic film star Marilyn Monroe.

In addition to his sculptural works, Segal continued to work in a variety of other media including paint, pencil, pen and ink, and pastels. The works created included numerous themes such as close-up studies of body parts, still lifes, and portraits.

His ability to so vividly capture human figures made him a good choice to create outdoor public sculptures. This type of sculpture was becoming increasingly popular in the United States and Segal contributed works such as his sculpture The Restaurant (1976), which was placed at the Federal Office Building in Buffalo, New York. Also, he was offered the commission to create pieces commemorating important world events such as a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust and tributes to American leaders including United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Throughout his career, Segal saw exhibitions and retrospectives of his work travel through the United States and other parts of the world including an exhibition that began in Switzerland in 1971 and subsequently toured Europe; a traveling retrospective at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1978; a retrospective of his work in Japan in 1982; and a 1997 retrospective at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Late Period

Segal showed a renewed interest in photography later in his life. He used the photographs of people and city scenes in both New Jersey and New York as basis for some of his later sculptures and as the starting point for drawings. One of his final series, Nightscapes, began with photographs the artist took of the night lights on the US 1 highway. After returning to his studio, Segal enlarged a photograph onto plywood, painted the scene, and after cutting out holes in the plywood, placed real light bulbs where the lights were in the photograph, creating a three-dimensional recreation of his photographic captures of the highway at night. Segal remained active as an artist until his death on June 9, 2000 in South Brunswick, New Jersey.

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Dolf Henkes (1903-1989)

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Without knowing i have collected a number of important Dolf Henkes titles and what struck me is that the interest in his works is something which is still here and constant over the past six decades . Henkes was an artist creating on the crossroads of realism and abstraction and this shows in his paintings.

Born and raised in Rotterdam, moving to Paris and staying at Curacao for a while all these places shaped the art Dolf Henkes was creating. His painting touch is vivid and light and the city of Rotterdam valued the art of Henkes and presented him with a beautiful retrospective exhibition in 1988 to memorate his 85th birthday. Shortly after he died, but his name is still very much alive and used for the Henkes art price , which is each year presented to a young aspiring artist from Rotterdam. The Museum Boymans van Beuningen ( now closed for renovation) has a large collection of important Dolf Henkes paintings. http://www.ftn-books.com has some nice Dolf Henkes publications available.