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Henri-Georges Adam (1904-1967)

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One of the most striking catalogues from the Fifties by Willem Sandberg was done for the Adam exhibition in 1955. The use of simple brown colored paper and the special print by Henri-Georges Adam on the frontcover made this one very special and an example for many catalogues which were published since. The use of brown colored paper. the special print on the outside , the typography and lay out made this an outstanding catalogue by Sandberg . Willem Sandberg must have admired Adam, because you can feel the love that went into this catalogue.

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Adam a typical Fifties artist was groundbreaking in his etchings and because of the forms he used is typical for the abstract art which appeared in that decade. In the Netherland there were Ouborg, Hussem and Nanninga in France there was Henri -Georges Adam.

Here is an excellent biography on Henri-Georges Adam i found at gallery MC.

Henri-Georges Adam was born in Paris in 1904. In 1918, after his studies at the school of clock industry, he started working in his father’s workshop, jeweler. He followed (1925) evening classes to the art school Germain-Pilon in Montparnasse, then to the Beaux-Arts. Henri-Georges Adam became a drawing professor of the city of Paris. Then, he made satirical drawings and political caricatures. 
In 1934, he got injured after an accident and while his resting time he approached the etching. During all his life he wanted the etching to be black and white. In 1934 was organized his first exhibition. He met regularly Surrealists: Breton, Aragon and Eluard. In 1936, he created a series of etchings violently expressionists around the war of Spain. Adam adhered in 1936 to “the Association of the writers and revolutionary artists” where he met Estève, Manessier, Pignon or Arpad Szenes. He took part in the exhibition “July 14th” with Romain Rolland (and Picasso, Matisse, Dufy, Chagall, etc). 
Mobilized in 1939, he was taken prisoner; drafted the hospital of Besançon as a medical orderly, he carried out many drawings of soldiers and casualties. Released in 1940, Henri-Georges Adam discovered the sculpture two years later. His etched work, initially figurative, stuck more and more to the purity of the lines, the plans and their articulation together. In 1943, he was one of the fifteen clandestine founders of the Salon de Mai. This same year, he created decorations and costumes for “Les mouches”, the first play of Jean-Paul Sartre, put in scene by Charles Dullin. The artist made friend with Pablo Picasso who lent him his atelier in the Grand Augustin-street until 1950 and his property of Boisgeloup (1948-1949). 
From 1947, Adam made paperboards for the tapestry. An exhibition of his whole work was devoted to him in 1949 to the Maeght Gallery. In 1952, the Bookshop-Gallery La Hune presented his copperplate etchings cut. During 5 years, he was professor of drawing in Anthony (1950-1955). In 1955 a first retrospective of his work was organized in Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam. Adam created in 1956 and 1957 one of his most famous series of etchings, “Dales, Sable et Eau”, around the plays of the sea, sand and the granite, and the series of sculptures “Mutations marines”. He carried out new tapestries (French Embassy in Washington, UNESCO, etc). “The Signal”, set up on the square of the House of the Culture in Le Havre in 1961, was the first of his monumental sculptures. Adam multiplied from 1962 the architectural sculptures. Henri-Georges Adam was named in 1959 etching professor then chief-professor-atelier of monumental sculpture at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris. He set up his own atelier and his printing press in La Ville du Bois, close to Montlhéry, while many exhibitions of his work were presented in the French and European museums. The artist carried out in 1961 an important series of sculptures, “Cryptograms”. 
A retrospective of his work was presented in 1966 at the national Museum of modern art of Paris. 
The following year, in full creative activity, Henri-Georges Adam had a heart attack at the 63 years age. Many retrospectives of his work will be organized after the death of the artist.

Some of the Henri-Georges Adam publication are at this moment available at www.ftn-books.com

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Mark Rothko (1903-1970)….Walls of light

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I discovered that in the over 1000 blogs i published i never have written one about Mark Rothko and you must know that Rothko is one of the painters i admire most. There are several exhibItions i have seen on Rothko  . The first one was the Spiritual In Art, which had some Rothko’s within the exhibition and then there was recently the exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag which i liked very much and which had a near perfect chronological overview of his painting including the one he just made before his suicide, which was presented next to Piet Mondrian’s final painting,

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but the exhibition which impressed me most was the Rothko special exhibition at the Guggenheim Bilbao (2004). I did not know it was there and when Linda and I entered the room we both were overwhelmed with the paintings on show.

Large scale paintings, executed in colors which were either very bright or very close to each other with hardly any contrast in them. It was the first time we visited the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and on show were large scale works by Oldenburg which on another occasion were replaced for the Richard Serra work MATTER OF TIME and then , surprise….. one of the greatest and best overviews of Rothko paintings imaginable. Here is the text belonging to the announcement by the Guggenheim Museum

MARK ROTHKO

WALLS OF LIGHT

June 8, 2004 – October 24, 2004

Born Marcus Rothkovitz in Dvinsk, Russia, in 1903, Mark Rothko emigrated with his family to the U.S. in 1913, settling in Portland, Oregon. Rothko attended Yale University on scholarship from 1921 to 1923, when he left without a degree and moved to New York. He began to paint in 1925 and had his first solo show in 1933. He continued to refine his technique as he developed his famous mature style in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Since his tragic death in 1970, his art has continued to enjoy undiminished popularity. Today Rothko counts among the great pioneers of American postwar art and, alongside Barnett Newman and Jackson Pollock, as one of the major representatives of Abstract Expressionism.

In 2003, to mark the hundredth anniversary of Rothko’s birth, the Beyeler Foundation, Basel, in collaboration with the artist’s children Kate R. Prizel and Christopher Rothko, installed a sequence of Rothko rooms, now on view in an extended version at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. The exhibition features a representative cross-section of works from all phases of Rothko’s career and provides a moving homage to the artist and his work.

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The Mark Rothko exhibition is still in our minds and we have on our wishlist to go at one time to the Rothko chapel and experience once again the timeless abstract art by Mark Rothko. Rothko is truly timeless and undoubtedly one of the greatest painters the art world has given humanity. There are several Rothko titles available at www.ftn-books.com

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Wilhelm Wagenfeld (1900-1900)

If only one object from the Bauhaus has reached an iconic standing in world design it is the Bauhaus lamp by Wilhelm Wagenfeld. It is still produced in its original dimension and materials and is one of the design classics from last century. It was such a success in interior design in the last 3 decades that many copies were produced and sold.

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The only original one is done by Tecnolumen, but for much less you can buy an excellent copy. But beside the lamp Wagenfeld designed many more items. teapots, cutlery, candle sticks, door knobs but all with one specific design element. The design had to be “clean”. No curls and no ornaments…just functional design. Wagenfeld was  a true master of this clean design and influence with his designs many of the 20th century designers, including some dutch designers like Kho Liang Ie and Martin Visser , who’s designs were simple and functional .

the Bauhaus Lamp is probably the most iconic piece of lighting to come out of the Bauhaus, William Wagenfeld’s lamp, constructed of precisely cut glass and metal, is among the first objects to emerge under the Bauhaus’ technology-focused regime.

This a description as it is found on the internet, but i would like to add something else…William Wagenfeld is probably the first designer who respected the material and functionality of an object and taught this to his students. It is not the lamp that is iconic, but for me it is the designer, who is the grand master and who designed/invented the iconic Bauhaus lamp. www.ftn-books.com has some nice publications on Wagenfeld ( also one by Sandberg).

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Sandberg design of GKF de Hand en machine

After WWII the 5th of May became a day of remembrance and celebration of the Liberation of the Netherlands. Every year on the 5th of May in those days a special exhibition was held which was accompanied by a special catalogue. Key elements in the cover were always the colours red , white and blue. The colors of the dutch national flag. Personally i think the HND EN MACHINE from 1957 is the very best of these publications. It has everything.  A typical Sandberg design. the use of multiple sorts of paper , great printing quality and a spectacular cover, making this for me personally the best in the series.

 

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Jean Gorin (1899-1981) and Wim Crouwel

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Jean Gorin , a typical 50’s /60’s artist has stayed a little obscure outside France, but this is undeserved. His art is influenced by Piet Mondrian and Constructivism , but has developed into an art typical of Jean Gorin.

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This was recognized by Willem Sandberg who gave Gorin a solo presentation in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 1967. Here it is getting more interesting from my point of view, because together with this exhibition one of the very very best Wim Crouwel designed catalogues ever was published. The catalogue typically Crouwel sized was partly printed in black and the other part of the text on the cover executed in embossed printing. Together with the design of the catalogue itself it has become an exquisite artist book on Jean Gorin which is still available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Philip Guston (1913-1980)

 

Schermafbeelding 2018-02-03 om 14.19.31I once read a story of a collector who had sold over half of his collection to finally buy his ideal “dream” painting. It was a painting by Philip Guston. I knew some of his works because i had some books in my inventory of www.ftn-books.com, including the Sandberg designed stedelijk

Stedelijk Museum catalogue, but could not understand why one wants to trade in half of a collection, collected over decades, for a Philip Guston.

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I finally had a chance to see some of these painting a few years ago and i must say i was impressed by them. Personally i would not sell half of my collection, but these works have a strange appeal. A little like the Dubuffet paintings. They are ugly but bold and they represent another world.  A world which can only exist in the artist mind.

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Geer van Velde (1898-1977)

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Since the early eighties i admire Geer van Velde. When i first entered our offices at the Gemeentemuseum, there was original art on the wall . Chosen by employees of the Gemeentemuseum the painting on the wall of our offices was an original large painting by Geer van Velde.

Geer van Velde was Bram van Velde’s younger brother they differ 3 years in age but their art differs even far more. Both influenced by fellow artists also living in Paris, Geer became known for his paintings winning Prizes and being admitted into the Salon des Independants . He is considered to be a member of the Ecole de Paris. The works by Geer van Velde are highly recognizable being abstract but still showing some realism in them. The use of color??  subdued not the bright colors his brother is known for. They come from the same nest but their works could not be more different .

Where Geer was known  and admired is his early years, the case with Bram was totally different. It is now since 30 years that the works by Bram are more admired. They are “classic”  made in the 50’s , 60’s and 70’s, but study them closely and you will sense that they belong in the present. These are bold and highly sensitive paintings. Both these van Velde brothers have their qualities, but maybe, in the long run, i prefer Geer.

There are Geer van Velde publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Ernst van Leyden (1892-1962) … a forgotten painter

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Undeservedly forgotten by most and rarely presented nowadays in exhibitions and gallery presentations. The story of van Leyden is that he fortunately had a loyal group of admirers and collectors, but after trying to give him back his popularity with an exhibition around 2008, it is again complete silence.

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Van Leyden was an extremely productive and versatile artist, hugely inspired by his numerous travels: his use of warm colors, striking compositions, and strong rendition – whether figurative or abstract – of people, animals, objects and landscapes made him a thoroughly appreciated artist within a circle of peers and friends to which Picasso, Salvador Dali and Willem de Kooning belonged as well.

It just took a look at a recently acquired catalogue on van Leyden from 1964 and it oozes with quality.  Rotella, Villegle and others using the art of collage must have been inspired by van Leyden. Who dares …who presents this great artist again and gives him the stage in Modern Art he deserves to have?

www.ftn-books.com has the Stedelijk Museum and galerie Anderson -Meyer catalogues available for sale.

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Aristide Maillol (1861-1944)

 

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If ever i had to chose two great sculptors from France , for me personally it would be Camille Claudel and Aristide Maillol. Rodin is a great sculptor , but i find his sculptures/statues to classic. He is a craftsman but for me he lacks the personal touch that i encounter with Maillol and Claudel. I have been admiring daily for 25 years a great statue by Maillol which is in the collection of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and i found it never boring.

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This is the reason that i am always on the look out for publications on Maillol and finally i found another great one at our local bookmarket . It is the spectacular Paul Rosenberg catalogue for his sales exhibition of sculptures by Maillol from 1958. It is now available at www.ftn-books.com together with excellent Sandberg designed catalogue from the 1962 exhibition which was held at the Stedelijk Museum.

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Proost Prikkels 251 / Ontwerpers GKf

For those working in the printing business, these Proost Prikkels are possible known publications. for the others ….most people do not know them. Proost Prikkels are the publicity prestigious prints by Proost & Brandt paper. There are over 400 of these publications. They appeared irregularly ( between 1936 and the mid eighties), but were always of the highest quality and in most cases related to paper, design and typography. www.ftn-books.com has acquired over 100 numbers of these prestigious publications. Most of them were published between 1960 and 1980. Please mail me the numbers you are looking for and perhaps i have it available among the numbers i acquired. Here are some examples of these Proost Prikkels. the no. 251 is a jubilee publication ( no. 250 was skipped) and contains notecards of 79 dutch designers.