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Guido Strazza (1922)

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One of the grand old masters in Italian modern art is Guido Strazza. His works remind me of the ones Hans Harting made during the Sixties, but these are different….more spontaneous and they have a lighter touch. Perhaps this is because his graphic works has a kind of transparency which is rare. thin lines , scattered in a pattern. like a mikado game transformed into art.

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This rare quality was recognized by Willem Sandberg who held an exhibition with Strazza in 1961 at the Stedelijk Museum ( catalogue available at www.ftn-books.com)/

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In the Seventies and early Eighties Strazza was almost forgotten, but lately his works are in fashion again. These are abstract works that tend to Minimalism and perhaps that is the reason why Strazza is becoming more popular by the year. The result several publications and some major exhibitions with his works.

 

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Two “scarce” Stedelijk Museum additions

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It has been a long time since i encountered the No. 183 catalogue ,published by the Stedelijk Museum in 1958. The publication is a leporello like publication which folds out and describes the contributions by three French artists. The design done by Willem Sandberg makes this one stand out and it is one of the most scarce publications by the Stedelijk Museum. The artists André Bloc, Claude Parent and Charlotte Perriand. an absolute must have for the admirers of these artists and a highly collectable item for all interested in the Stedelijk Museum publications. (now available at www.ftn-books.com)

The second one is even more scarce and it is one i never have encountered before in all these years that i sell Stedelijk Museum publications. Designed by Wim Crouwel it is only a 4 page publication. Specially made for the Werkgroep Plakat Praag / Politieke affiches uit Tsjechoslowakije ( ODPOVĒDNOST)/ 1965. This is another highly desirable item for Stedelijk Museum/Crouwel collectors.

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André François (1915-2005)

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Born Rumanian, but living for most of his life in France.  From the early Fifties on, France had a very lively comic art scene. This surely has been an influence since his cartoon-like drawings were strongly rooted in this kind of art in France BD / Bandes Dessinees) became increasingly popular and so did the art by André François. This was picked up by Willem Sandberg who curated an exhibition on André François in 1966. Catalogue design by Wim Crouwl makes this one of my personal favourite catalogues from the Sixties. the article below was published in the Guardian some years ago…..and of course www.ftn-books.com has the 1966 Stedelijk Museum catalogue available.

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André François born André Farkas in 1915 was an illustrator known for his satirical cartoons and comics. He was born in Romania and but eventually moved to Paris. He was a left-wing Jewish and during WWII he hid away from the Germans, and after the war moved to Grisy-les-Plâtres where he eventually passed away in 2005 after a long successful career.

Francois took his early inspiration from the Art Deco movement and the renowned illustrator A.M. Cassandre. When he moved to Paris he actually studied under Cassandre for some time.

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He worked in many satirical publications in France and also in American publications like the New Yorker, Vogue, Holiday and Sports Illustrated. Beyond magazines he also worked in the realm of children’s book illustration, adult content illustration and within the advertising industry (as many illustrators of the time did). In advertising he often created visual puns usually. This usually involved turning inanimate objects into human forms as well as the opposite.

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He became known in Paris for the sense of humour in his work, which he primarily completed in crude black and white ink drawings, with the occasional injection of vibrant colour. He became well-known and sought after by art directors in America after he published several anthologies of his cartoon work titled “The Penguin André François”, “The Tattooed Sailor and Other Cartoons From France” and “The Half-Naked Knight”. His obituary published in the New York Times describes his style perfectly: “François’ crude but sensual black-and-white brush drawings and starkly colored paintings, employing surreal and ironic juxtapositions, introduced serious whimsy to conservative commercial art. He also injected a comedic eroticism that broke various taboos.”

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At the age of 86, his house underwent a terrible house fire and he lost almost all of his work. His friends report that he wanted to create a completely new set of work to replace that which was lost. In 2005 he died from heart and kidney failure.

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What drew me to François’ work is the looseness and simplicity. It reminds me of another contemporary illustrator who I love named Manddy Wyckens. It also reminds me of the illustrations done by Jean-Jacques Sempé for the children’s comic Petit Nicolas. What I love about François’ work is that he doesn’t just create cute, or beautiful images, he is always saying something. While he aims to convey a message, he also doesn’t give the audience all of the puzzle pieces. Sometimes it takes a little longer to understand what the illustration means but when you understand it, it’s all the more rewarding.

I think part of the reason I’m attracted to his work is that I can relate to it as I feel that I am always trying to say something with my work, but often the results are crude drawings and paintings.

The looseness and simplicity is also something I love about his work. Being able to communicate a message with a style that seems effortless is commendable. Looseness and simplicity is something I would love to learn how to use in my own work so I will be sure to look to André François for future inspiration.

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Sources:
https://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/16/world/europe/obituary-andr-franois-illustrator-and-cartoonist.html

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the 500 first Stedelijk Museum publications…A very important list

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Last Thursday i encountered finally one of the list I was hoping to find for a long time. The list is made in the beginning of the Eighties when interest rose in acquiring and collecting the Stedelijk Museum publications. Since the start in the Mid ’30s from last century, over 1100 publications have been published by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and this list contains the numbers and titles of the first 500 numbered publications. Willem Sandberg, Piet Zwart and Wim Crouwel, 3 of the greatest of Dutch designers all can be found on this list and i noticed of the 500 titles on it I have over 400 currently available at http://www.ftn-books.com

Beside the one on the list, there are of course many others published by the Stedelijk Museum FTN books has available. Take a look, save and share this very important document. the list is in PDF format and can be downloaded with the link below:

sm lijst 1 tm 500

 

 

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Polariteit and Polarität, 1961 exhibition

No difference in name of the exhibition. Just a different spelling. One is for the 1961 Stedelijk Museum and the other for the 19761 Recklinghausen exhibition. Both are designed by Willem Sandberg, almost identical covers and the use of different sorts of paper is equal too. …….But there is a difference. The German catalogue contains 208 pages and the dutch only 140 pages. I am still wondering if the complete exhibition was at the Stedelijk Museum or that the Recklinghaus exhibition was much more complete. I prefer the german one and i wish i could have seen this one. It is such a great exhibition and must be counted as one of the greatest exhibitions from the second half of last century.

Both catalogues are now available at www.ftn-books.com

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100 Meesterwerken by Willem Sandberg

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This is arguably one of the best Willem Sandberg publications of all time. An impressive cover, the use of multiple kinds of paper, the best art works from the Paris Modern Art Museum and an unbeatable price, because these are still available, but become more rare every year. I managed to collect 4 copies of this excellent 1952 catalogue of which 2 are now for sale at a special price of USD 35.00.

Please inquire at wvdelshout@ziggo.nl for a direct sale at this price.

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Allen Ruppersberg (1944)

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Allen Ruppersberg and the Netherlands is a combination which feels natural. It is a little bit the same like with Lawrence Weiner. Both were supported by Willem Sandberg and had their first major exhibitions outside the US in the Stedelijk Museum and after?……they kept a strong link with the Netherlands since both were represented by the Art & Project gallery who published with both important Bulletins within their series of Bulletins. Both these artists are considered by many as the next worldwide greatest, since Conceptual Art is becoming more and more important in time and admiration for these two is growing significantly.

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I like both , but perhaps i more have a weakness for Weiner since his work at the Gemeentemuseum was present all the time i was working there and it never stopped impressing me. But Ruppersberg….. certainly a close second and perhaps in the long run i will like him even more. www.ftn-books.com has soem of the mentioned Ruppersberg items still available.

 

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The greatest men and women in dutch graphic design.

I have had the pleasure to suggest this site in earlier blogs, but it still expands and contains the very best of dutch graphic designers over the last 50 years or so. Of course i have books available by all these gifted dutch designers and i can not recommend enough to visit their excellent site at: https://www.dutchgraphicroots.nl

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13 sculptors from Paris…cat no 50

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Published within the Stedelijk Museum series with no. 50, designed by Willem Sandberg and with the “creme de la creme” of sculptors from France / Paris, this has arguably become one of the most important exhibitions and catalogues for the Stedelijk Museum from the Fifties. Within the catalogue you will encounter only the most famous of names. Here they are: Brancusi, Gonzales, Gargallo, Laurens, Arp, Chauvin, Zadkine, Lipchitz, Giacometti, Richier, Couturier and Auricoste. Another important aspect to this exhibition is the catalogue. It uses multiple kinds of brown and glossy papers, making this one of the first for a series of catalogues which were designed by Willem Sandberg in such a way for the Stedelijk Museum. This design was typical for Sandberg in the Fifties and he continued to use these papers throughout his career as a designer. Wim Crouwel broke with this tradition and presented a much cleaner, more contemporary design, but i admire these Sandberg catalogues and this is probably one of the very best and most important.

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New Business Card FTN books & Art

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Some recent changes made it necessary to translate these changes into a new business card. The most important one being two new email addresses. One personal one and the other for the FTN books & Art contacts. So here is all the new business information to contact me and keep track of my activities, the daily blog and additions to my inventory.

Wilfried van den Elshout / FTN books

Veursestraatweg 106c

2265CG Leidschendam,  the Netherlands

www.ftn-books.com

www.ftn-blog.com

new email : wilfriedvandenelshout@gmail.com

new email : ftnbooksandart@gmail.com