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Donald Judd – sculpture, Untitled object

 

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It must have been somewhere around 1985. After a trip to the US and whta must have been a visit to Donald Judd’s studio, Flip Book, curator of the Modern Art department of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag came back with the story of a purchase he had made of a Donald Judd sculpture. I heard that the price paid was around 60.000 guilders and personally i thought it unheard that a sculpture like this would have such an elevated price tag. I thought it much to expensive for a sculpture like this, but as time progresses. i became wiser and it became clear to me that Flip had made a wonderful and very important acquisition for the Gemeentemuseum. The sculpture has been since in the Beeldentuin of the Gemeentemuseum and is still as, or perhaps even more, impressive as it originally was.

I realized that the important purchases for the collections of the Gemeentemuseum were all done from the late Sixties until the first years of the Nineties. It started with Minimal art by LeWitt, Judd and Andre, continued with some Schoonhoven, Weiner in the Eighties and perhaps the last important acquisition is the carrousel by Bruce Nauman. Since very little important acquisitions have been made, with one exception. I think the Paul Thek object will prove to be important in the future.

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On all the mentioned artists, publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Henk Peeters….ECHT HENK PEETERS

 

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A blog on a  very speciual multiple that was published on the occasion of the Henk Peeters Retrospective at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in 2011. On that occasion a reprint of the famous Nul/Zero 1964 catalogue was made in a small edition. It is the catalogue with the ZERO presentations by Armando, Peeters and Schoonhoven. All of these legendary artists have now passed away, but Peeters realized the importance of that catalogue and from that facsimile edition Peeters took some 20 copies and made multiples out of them by Stitching the front , back and inner work together and sign them with ECHT PEETERS. This has become one of the rarest of the later Peeters multiples and now one of those multiples is for sale at www.ftn-books.com

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Henk Peeters (b. The Hague, 1925-2013)) was the most active member of the Dutch Nul group, notably with regard to the organization; he made the international contacts, organized the international ZERO (Nul) exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and wrote on the theory of art. It was also he who first actively participated in international exhibitions with artist groups such as the German ZERO, the Italian Azimuth, and with artists Yves Klein, Yayoi Kusama and Lucio Fontana. He initiated the (utopian) project “Zero on Sea,” with more than fifty participating artists from over ten countries, and remained true to the fundamental concept of the Nul movement right up to his death in 2013. He sought to use his works of art to make the viewer conscious of his environment; he wanted to bring about a sensitive consciousness-raising, as it were. The materials that Peeters selected for his works frequently had a very tactile appeal, while he simultaneously created a certain untouchability; thus he stuck candle tapers behind plastic foil, or placed mesh in front of cotton wool. He also used fire on canvases, leaving behind traces of thick smoke, or burned holes into plastic, the so-called “Pyrographies.” With these – often white – works he was visually closely related to the German ZERO artists, but there was also a clear relationship with Nouveau Realisme; Peeters also used ready-mades, which he bought in inexpensive stores and isolated in the work of art. In these, he had a preference for modern, clean, industrial materials, such as plastic and nylon. He once said: “with my work, I have always wanted it to look just as fresh as if it was in the HEMA (the Dutch chain store). It must not be artified… I had no need for artistic cotton wool.” Henk Peeters also worked with natural processes, such as light and water reflections, and with ice, rain, snow and mist. Art and life should be joined together inextricably. And thus, in 1961 Henk Peeters became a work of art himself, when Piero Manzoni appointed him as one; this was certified and signed by the Italian artist. Until his death (Hall (NL), 2013), Henk Peeters restored artworks from the Nul period and remained an active spokesman for the group.

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Angelo Savelli (1911-1995)

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Savelli is the Italian master of “WHITE”. Practically all works by Savelli from 1959 on are executed in White. The difference is their shape and the materials used. This makes this Italian artist almost on par with the dutch Jan Schoonhoven , who used “WHITE” too. The difference… Schoonhoven is rooted in the Zero mouvement whereas Savelli is more an abstract constructivist who uses different kind of materials and execute them in WHITE.

Savelli is not very known outside Italy, but in prepaartion of this blog i found that some of his paintings are in famous museum collections. Moma and White Chapel gallery have work in their collections and when you look into his oeuvre you notice that his art must be now in fashion. it tends to Zero and has some qualities of the arte Povera. Both mouvements in art that now are in “Fashion” and are collected worldwide.

Perhaps the next 2 decades Savelli will be discovered by many and become a household name like Jan Schoonhoven’s name has become nowadays. www.ftn-books.com has Savelli publications available.

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The three Henk Peeters …Nul/Zero editions

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Yes, it took a period of over 50 years for Peeters to become the household name in Zero art as he is now. Shortly before his death in 2013  there was a retrospective exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. At that occasion the famous Nul/Zero catalogue from 1963 was published as a facsimile. The original catlogue is an extremely hard find these days and when you encounte a copy. The condition in most of the cases is not what you had hoped for. At one time www.ftn-books.com had the the original, the facsimile and the multiple signed Peeters edition available, but that was a long time ago. All sold out at record prices, but now i am lucky to have bought the best copy i have ever owned. The condition is MINT_ and it is now available at www.ftn-books.com.

Here are the images of the originalNul/Zero book now available  condition is MINT-

and these are my pictures from the multiple by Peeters published on the occasion of his Retrospektive:

 

For those interested in Peeters history read here the text the Gemeentemuseum published at the occasion of the Henk Peeters Retrospective:

10 September 2011 till 12 February 2012

HENK PEETERS

‘The world is going to change radically.’ Henk Peeters (b. The Hague, 1925) said so more than once. The statement was an expression of his deep desire for a Communist society. It was not to be, but Peeters remained an idealist. Together with Armando and Jan Schoonhoven, he founded the Nul group – the Dutch arm of the international ZERO movement (including artists like Piero Manzoni en Lucio Fontana), with which he maintained close contacts. Their art was all about eliminating the artist’s personal style and elevating everyday life to art through the use of ordinary materials. Peeters used cotton wool, feather and hair in his artworks and even ‘drew’ and ‘painted’ with smoke and fire. This autumn, the Gemeentemuseum’s Willem Cordia Room welcomes the first ever one-man show of Henk Peeters’ work from the 1960s. A major installation involving bags of water will be recreated especially for the occasion. It was originally on show at the successful international ZERO-0-NUL exhibition held at the Gemeentemuseum in 1964.

Peeters was a spider in the web of the international ZERO movement of the 1960s and it was thanks to his efforts that the big Zero/Nul exhibition was held in the Netherlands (partly at the Gemeentemuseum in the The Hague, the city where the Nul group enjoyed its heyday). He disseminated and published Nul and ZERO manifestos and even today is an important source of information for researchers and writers concerned with the history of ZERO and Nul.

Peeters elevates everyday life to art; he believes in the synthesis between the two and wants to make art accessible to everyone. This was also the ideal of the Nul movement; Armando used ordinary gloss paint and Schoonhoven cheap extra-thick wall paint as part of the effort to undermine the elevated status of the artwork. Peeters also used materials that needed no personal handling; he used cotton wool, feathers, hair, smoke and fire to create works that may not exhibit the personality of the artist in the handling of their materials, but are nevertheless capable of conveying great sensitivity through their texture and relief.

A deep-rooted democratic principle underlies Peeters’ art, choice of materials and personal philosophy. The socialist ideals inculcated in him during his childhood are a major motivation for all his activities – of which there have been many. In addition to being an artist, Peeters has also been at various times a museum education officer, an art school teacher, a typographer, a creative arts therapist, a curator, an organizer, an activist, a television-maker and an advisor to public institutions.

The exhibition is realized in close cooperation with the ZERO foundation, Düsseldorf.

To mark the occasion of the forthcoming exhibition, the catalogue of the Haags Gemeentemuseum’s 1964 exhibition Zero (Mack/Piene/Uecker) – Nul (Schoonhoven/Armando/Henk Peeters) is to be republished as multiple.

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Yayoi Kusama… a zero artist

Kusama stands for me as “ZERO”.

Being one of the first to have participated as a Zero artist Dancing together with Jan Schoonhoven (in the nude)

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and after that building an oeuvre on just one pattern…the Polka dot.

i love these artist that stay true to their belief. Kusama is not the only one. Leblanc, Peeters and Schoonhoven ,all from this generation , stayed true to their art ” inventions” developing it into something very perosmnal , recognizable and in many cases a beautiful and impressive work of art.

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Kusama participated in the first ZERO/Nul exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum, but beside that she had her Retrospektives held all over the world including the Tate Modern where a large rRetrospektive was held in 2012. Now she has turned into a grand old lady of  Contemporary Art and perhaps together with Louise Bourgeois  and Georgia O’Keefe she has given a feminine touch to Modern Art. www.ftn-books.com holds some excellent Kusama titles in its inventory.

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Jaap van de Ende (1944)…an abstract constructivist

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Personally i think that Jaap van den Ende is the only true successor of Jan Schoonhoven. Specially his early works have the similar qualities as the ones Schoonhoven made in the sixties and early seventies. The Stedelijk Museum has some excellent examples of these early works in which little cut out pieces of grey plastic foil are placed on a white surface according a well though over pattern. the System and pattern make the composition, but thus creating a fascinating , lively work of art.

A little like the way Struycken worked, but with a simplicity that resembles the great early Sol LeWitt works. I love this early works, Later he changed his style into more colorful compositions, but always along a line of well thought over abstract contructivist forms. Since 1997 his works become far more realistic. Seascapes, parks and landscapes are all painted with perfection . a fascinating artist which you can encounter in several dutch museum collections. There are some nice van den Ende publications available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Ugo La Pietra (1938) / Edizioni Flaviana…Serie Minimultipli.

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Yesterday, the first of my new acquisitions was discussed in my blog. Today the second one will be presented to my readers. This one is another one from the 1967 publications by Edizioni Flaviana within their series of Minimultipli. Title …..Campo Tissurale….Condition of this one too is excellent and another one well worth collecting now, because these beautiful publications are getting more scarce every month and i believe to be the only seller on the internet who is offering 2 of these rare publications. Ugo La Pietra is still active as an artist and designer, but none of his work is considered more important than his sixties work in which he showed his admiration and close relationship to other ZERO / NUL artists. This exquisite small publication shows why and is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Enrico Castellani (1930) / Edizioni Flaviana…Serie Minimultipli.

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Manzoni, La Pietra, Colombo, Christo and Enrico Castellani. What do they have in common?. Yes , they were all artists who started their careers in the early sixties, but an another lesser known fact is that they were all chosen to publish within the Minimultipli series by Edizioni Flaviana a small, but also art collection worthy, work of art. The ones which i added today to the inventory of my store are considered to be the best of the series. Tomorrow the Ugo de La Pietra. But here is the Superficie Oro by Enrico Castellani from 1967.

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This Enrico Castellani is believed to have been published in an edition of only 1000 copies ( others within the series were published  also in 1000 copies) of which few will have survived as good as this one. The “envelope”, plastic covered inlay and the multiple are all in exceptional condition . Published in 1967. This Castellani is a true ZERO work of art. He encountered many dutch and german artist who belonged to the ZERO and NUL mouvements in Germany and the Netherlands and he himself , as his friends Fontana and Manzoni, were influenced by the ideas of these groups of artists. The ” Superficie Oro” shows it in the smallest scale possible, but even at this size, it truly is an outstanding work of art and now available at www.ftn-books.com.

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Guido Lippens (1939).. ever changing style

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Guido Lippens has made paintings and drawings in so many styles. Sometimes with a free hand like the drawings by Jan Schoonhoven and other times painted, like a super realistic painting,…. with grids and patterns. Paintings for the art of painting, but without any depth or feeling. Lippens , born in Zeeland is not very known outside this province, but has had his moments and exhibitions during the last 5 decades. He even had one time an exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, but his most famous one was the one in the Noordbarabants Museum, which catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Beauty and simplicity at de RIJK Fine art

Last week i was in the Stedelijk Museum  Amsterdam and was very much impressed by the Malevich and “white” rooms with Dekkers and Schoonhoven. White and nothing but white and it reminded me of the current exhibition at de Rijk Fine Art ( Noordeinde 95 /Den Haag).

Excellent, high quality, museum worthy paintings by ao Schoonhoven , Dekkers and Leblanc… in a totally different setting which was more a cosy living room ( including the dog ;-), than a gallery. The simplicity and in the same time complexity of the works, work very well in this setting. They do not need a museum presentation to show their true qualities. This exhibition lasts until the 26th of February so i advise you to take a look at the de Rijk gallery and see for yourself the qualities of this great and important gallery exhibition.

For publications on Schoonhoven, Dekkers and Malevich visit www.ftn-books.com