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Gerrit van Bakel (1943-1984)

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I always stumble upon this artist whenever i am looking for sculpture in the Netherlands in the Eighties. van Bakel is well known here because of his exhibition which were held during his life and shortly after his death in 1984. There even is an excellent website devoted to his life and works : www.gerritvanbakel.nl , but lately not much of his works are on show or included in auctions or at gallery presentations. Possibly this is because collectors keep his work in their collection because it is original, playful and accessible sculpture and the resemblance his works have with the ones by Panamarenko and Beuys. In 1984 , van Bakel was invited to hold a lecture at the university of Twente. Here follows the complete text of the lecture in english. And for the publications on van Bakel. visit www.ftn-books.com

ELEMENTS OF AN ARTIFICIAL LANDSCAPE
Lecture by Gerrit van Bakel at the Technical University Twente, 1984

Ladies and gentlemen,

I have been invited to make a speech here, but I was originally invited to put on an exhibition as well. Because my work has a somewhat technological character, the assumption was that it would be appropriate to show it in a College of Technology. That is no more than an assumption. I know that in practice it turns out differently, because people with a technological background judge art that has a technological character on the basis of its technological and not its artistic quality. If I were to put on an exhibition of my work in a College of Technology, I would therefore have to take this into consideration. I would have to make a very clear-cut selection of my work to ensure that the possibility of a response of this sort would in any case be eliminated. Quite simply this would have taken up too much of my time.
Well then, in fact I do want to make a sort of exhibition, not by placing things in a hall, but by doing something else. Something that is perhaps related to the matters that concern you as well. At least I hope so.

Before I begin I would first like to say something else. When someone makes a speech, it is taken for granted as it were that he must have an answer to certain questions or at any rate to the questions that his listeners have. This is one possibility. Another possibility is that someone who makes a speech has a question that his listeners have an answer to. As far as the first possibility is concerned, that is, whether you have questions that I have an answer to, I should tell you that my answer is 3. In other words, the question that concerns me is enormously complicated. And it is in order to find an answer that I make things and when these things are made they are able to function within the circus of the visual arts. But what comes prior to these things is in a certain sense more important than the things themselves. This means that, because I am concerned with making things when I pose these questions, the questions do not consist of words, but of objects. With how these objects manifest themselves. The origin of these phenomena is to be found in the image, in what I see, in what immediately occurs to me, before I have time to interpret it. To explain to you what occurs to me without interpreting it, I would have to show you what occurs to me. And that cannot be done. Therefore I am obliged to use words to explain what sort of images, what sort of phenomena, what sort of visible things can suddenly be generated in me. What it implies for my faculty of perception and what that in fact means.
The meaning of the things that go to make up the world of objects that is formed by our eyes or by our biological presence in the world is first of all formed by something that I would call a sort of natural landscape. Because as biological creatures we originate in the upper layers of the earth, our form has to do with the outer appearance of the earth. For this reason there is a certain connection between us and the rest of the world. It is therefore conceivable that a harmony exists on the basis of which we exist or might be able to exist. Now if we have enough to eat and drink and are no longer cold; if we have these three things, another series of transactions occurs that in any case conjures up an artificial landscape. Technology is a part of this. Many people think that this artificial landscape is not harmonious. And then in a certain sense there is the question when exactly it went wrong.
Whenever I start thinking about a harmony like this, for instance in a discussion, I always get the feeling after half or three quarters of an hour that I could be someone from the 17th century. Someone who has somewhat romantic ideas about harmony. In order to avoid this I will mention some of the elements of that artificial landscape. Not as an explanation or as a text, but more as a sort of set of footnotes. I think that this is also appropriate, because I have observed that in the few books of philosophy that I have seen, there are also a fair number of footnotes. Sometimes the whole left hand page is set aside for notes. A number of footnotes that form a sort of encyclopaedia, a sort of content that sustains me. Footnotes that when taken as a whole will I hope at any rate conjure up an image. In this sense the sequence of footnotes that I am going to offer you is a sort of exhibition. Elements of an artificial landscape. Not all of them are material elements and not all of them are entirely material. Because that’s not possible.

To begin with I would like to say something about cranes.

If we look at a crane from a distance, we see a piece of machinery which can clearly be used to shift a load. That the load can be raised and swung to the left or right. What we see then is that things can as it were be shifted on behalf of our bodies, things that we are not obliged to shift, but which we would also not be able to shift by ourselves.
In a certain sense a crane is a sort of function that pertains to a very powerful person. It has come into existence on the basis of a long technological history and a complicated sort of need to shift something from A to B. Many people think that the history of the logic of making something is always old. This is not the case. And this will, I hope, become clear from the things that I am about to recount.

The second element that I want to say something about is Buckminster Fuller. Buckminster Fuller is a man from the USA who has in a certain sense changed our thinking about construction. Not by changing our way of thinking in itself, but by applying another method of calculation to the forms in which it is manifested.

Cranes, for example, have specific dimensions and a specific precision. If this precision could be increased by a factor of 10 or a hundred, then the things themselves, the forms that result from this increased precision will have a different appearance. And Buckminster Fuller is a man who thought about this question. In the way that he conceived of technological things, including household articles, things for houses, bathrooms, cars, everything, he applied a method of thinking that was more precise than it had previously been. This meant that these things began to look different. Someone might of course say that that was all very well but the form concepts must also change with them. This is true of course, but these form concepts could only come into being because Buckminster Fuller had applied a new method of calculation. I consider this to be quite remarkable. I understand it, but even so I still think it is … incomprehensible. The fact that it is possible for a phenomenon to change if one makes a different sum.

Something very different from this, for instance, is the wood carving on the altar of the church in Xanten. Xanten is a small town on the lower Rhine. In the church there is an altar of hard wood. It is carved with religious scenes, but the work is not in relief. Or rather, they are reliefs but they are carved so deep that they become a sort of sculpture.
This wood carving is particularly curious in that we see it now with our eyes. And what makes it so incredible is that it is done by hand. It is so fragile and the carving is so refined. We cannot any longer imagine any way of being able to do this. It is not possible to imagine this way of carving wood as being an element of things that are made now. The fact is that things are no longer made in this way. In itself this is quite remarkable, because all that people at that time had at their disposal, apart from sharp chisels, a good feeling for the weight of a hammer, was a certain kind of patience and a certain kind of attention. The moment that I think or say something like this I get the feeling that I am making a criticism of our time when this sort of sophistication of form hardly exists any more, while at the same time everything is infinitely more complicated now. At least, so it seems. Nowadays in any case we know much more than people did then about how the world is. And perhaps it actually requires an element of ignorance about how the world is in order to achieve a higher level of refinement.

Something much more modern that also has an influence on the way the world appears is the felt pen.

Most of you in the audience, are holding a sort of stick. And if you apply that stick in a regular fashion to a sheet of paper, it produces stripes. From these stripes it is possible for other people to see what is on that piece of paper. This stick is something that is entirely taken for granted. It is possible that it has never occurred to anyone that this thing is an element for conveying knowledge. A small phenomenon that has to do with writing and the registration of thought processes.
Of course the elements that are used for writing have a whole history; what we have here, however, is a new element for writing. That is what the felt pen is. It made its appearance in the world more or less at the same time that I first began to draw. Twentytwo years ago a felt pen was called a ‘flowmaster’. It was a sort of long thick pen; it was shiny; it came with a small pot of ink and it looked a little bit dangerous. Like a small bomb. When you bought the pen it worked perfectly, but when you had to fill it, everything became black. Your hands. The surface of the pen. And your kitchen sink. In a certain sense that thing suggested that you couldn’t write with it. In the course of time the felt pen has been improved and made more amenable to use. And now everyone has a felt pen somewhere. When I wanted to draw with that thing it was in fact forbidden by the people who were trying to educate me. This was something quite odd, because with a felt pen you can’t give any texture to your hand, to your handwriting or to the way in which you touched the paper. It wasn’t possible to produce gradations of thickness. You always got the same flow of colour on the paper. The breadth of the strokes was more or less the same. Although the first of these pens weren’t efficient, they have become so now. But the complaints that people had about them then, I don’t hear these any more now. They are no longer relevant. This writing with equal strokes has simply become an element of the phenomena of drawings. So I don’t know whether anything has been lost as a result or if something new has been added.

Where something has in fact disappeared in the tradition of my profession, visual art, that is, is in technique. I mean technique as opposed to technology. (In Dutch the same word, techniek has various meanings, including both technique and technology, but also engineering. Translator’s note.)
Not the technology that produces a crane, but the technique, the way of doing something. In the older books about the art of painting there is at any rate some discussion about the secret techniques that were used by different schools and masters, at least by people who are now regarded as masters. About what these secrets were, what pigments they used and the order of precedence that these pigments had, and how these pigments were mixed on the palette. If you read a description of Edgar Degas’ palette, someone in fact who was active not so long ago, from the previous century, it is immediately noticeable that the man was exceeqingly knowledgeable about the materials he used. It is of course possible that an understanding of materials does not necessarily lead to craftsmanship. In any case up until the middle or the last part of the previous century the fact was that craftsmanship of this kind was a basic requirement. And that this was the basis that was necessary in order for genuine mastery to develop. And that in any case it was not possible for a painting to be beautiful if it began to deteriorate on the canvas after, say, eight years. Because then it did not exist any more.

In any case the visual arts have a very intricate history, and a very complicated sort of craftsmanship of which not much remains. This was due not so much to the fact that this paint existed, as that there were people who used this paint. By this paint I mean factory-made paint ready to use and in a tube- That in fact was done, more or less for the first time, by Vincent van Gogh. Perhaps people will think that Vincent van Gogh was important for another reason. I think in fact that this is the only reason why he was important. That he used paint straight from the tube. And that this was what was behind his craftsmanship, but he did not regard this as important. This can also be seen in his drawings. Although he was certainly able to draw he was not a craftsman in this field. Later when one comes to interpret the phenomenon of the work of Vincent van Gogh, what matters is the way that his gesture and his texture refer to his emotional constitution. And I sometimes even get the feeling that all that remains of the whole history of painting is a gesture like this.

Another element, another footnote, is the remarkable fact that at the beginning of this century the need of people to travel, by using a means of conveyance, led to the appearance of automobiles. A sort of horseless carriage initially, that could cover a distance on the road and which could transport people and goods from A to B. In my opinion, the outward form that these cars have taken makes them completely illogical. Specifically because they have an asymmetrical function while they are made symmetrically. In itself this is not so strange, but concurrently with the appearance of symmetrical cars something else occurred. This is the fact that houses that originally had been symmetrical for maybe three thousand years began to become asymmetrical round about 1910. And in fact they are now asymmetrical. I don’t know what this means, but I do know that it has taken place. There is an old painter, Richard Paul Lohse, who makes coloured squares and who argues that symmetry is in any case a monarchist phenomenon. This would perhaps explain why people get so much pleasure out of sitting in their symmetrical cars. Perhaps because it gives them a feeling of royalty.

There is something very strange about the functional aspect of technology. I think that it is an illusion to think that engineering and technology produce logical and functional things. Just think of this: a distant land where the population is perhaps poor, with not a great amount of food, and with agricultural methods that are maybe more or less primitive. These people are persuaded in one way or another to grow certain kinds of plants in this distant land. These plants are harvested and transported and end up here in very large chopping machines. This transport and these chopping machines require a considerable amount of technical knowledge: of cutting sharpnesses, of molecule thicknesses and all kinds of other things as well. But in the end the result of a whole process like this is that millions of people in a certain country are trying to give up smoking. Yes… a cigarette as a form is surely an indicator of the absurdity of the world.

There is however another function that explains why this happens. This is the need to earn money. I think that in the hierarchy of knowledge and learning a change has taken place. Or that it is possible to detect one. My point of departure is that there was once a time when philosophy for instance was a sort of mother of all forms of knowledge, was the source where everything came from, all knowledge and learning. In my opinion this is in itself not mistaken. It is however at any rate true that this is no longer the case. The situation now is that economics, which in my opinion is not a science, but a way of thinking that admittedly employs scientific methods, plays a more decisive role than does one’s grasp of a subject or any other specific quality. I don’t know if this is also significant, but a number of years ago on the 1000 guilder banknote, the painter Rembrandt was portrayed. And he is now replaced by the philosopher Spinoza. Is this due to the fact that everything that is printed on the money no longer has any meaning? I think that it is something like that. Because on the hundred guilder note there used to be an image of Michiel Adriaanszoon de Ruyter, for whom at least some people felt any respect, and on that note now there is a bird that is almost extinct. As far as that goes my idea might well make sense. There is therefore something illogical in the context within which functionality, and functional technology exist. These are illogical things that are maybe suggested by the existence of money. This is quite simply a fact. Money exists and most people covet it, in order to do things with it.

Something else that is very precious is diamonds. Two years ago I saw a photo of an enormous pit. A pit that was at least two kilometres long and perhaps a kilometre deep. In it there were a hundred thousand little stakes and ropes. And in this pit a great number of people were looking for something. It was a photo of a diamond mine in South Africa. I thought that it was so terrifying that so many people had made such a deep pit that I began to ask myself what a diamond really is. Of course I haven’t found the answer.

What I did discover is that a little stone like this, a glittering stone which does not however glitter any more than plenty of other stones, does not necessarily mean anything more than just that. In former times it certainly didn’t. A stone like this gives rise to human activities that are at first sight strange. Activities that an economist might describe as having to do with the law of supply and demand. That is all very well but that still doesn’t explain where the demand came from for people to want to possess such a tiny, brilliant and very well worked stone. It is in any case a fact that you can’t do very much with a diamond.

Another list that in itself also consists of a list concerns how one generates a comfortable temperature. There is something strange about this. I am alive now and in my life things occur that give me the energy I need to make things. I will give a short account of what has happened. When I was a little boy, we had a stove at home. This was fueled with peat. And there was an oven. This was lighted with a heap of twigs with peat on top. This served both as a means of heating and for cooking at the same time. That is just one illustration. Around 1950 there was another stove in our house. This one didn’t work on peat, nor on twigs; it had to be heted with coal nuggets. And briquettes. In 1955 there was a new stove in the room once again. This was called a ‘solid fuel stove’ and it was heated with anthracite. About 1960 the solid fuel stove had to go. It was replaced by an oil heater. An oil heater, that’s what it was called. Round about 1965 the oil heater also turned out not to work so well and a gas stove had to take its place. And around 1972 almost everyone in Holland had central heating with all its benefits. It was possible to live and work in all the rooms, etc. But in 1973 there was an energy crisis and in 1975 everyone, or at least, very many people, had once more converted those old chimneys where the stove stood and turned them into fireplaces to give a little extra heat. And to save energy. In 1980 for people who found an open hearth like this difficult, a projecting stove has appeared that has in recent years developed into a multiburner in which one can also burn twigs and peat. Whether this is logical or not, I don’t know. But it is definitely what has happened.

Something that is in fact logical, is the fact that there are screws. A piece of iron and then another piece or iron that you can wind round each other. And which fit. When you see such a logical little thing with which you can do so many things, you might think that a screw is very old. But that isn’t the case. It is true that screws existed, but the fact that one nut was interchangeable with another, is something that only came about in the 19th century. It is only since the war that there have been two or three systems for how the nuts and the bolts fit.
But the fact is that when you put a bolt in your pocket, and you buy a nut in Italy, they will fit each other. There is something very strange about this. It means that elements in the world have become mutually interchangeable. The only question is whether a thing like this did not have something like that as a consequence for humanity.

The last thing that I want to talk about is the horizon. If we take a look outside we see at the end of the world that the sky changes into ground. I have spent some time studying how this works. Especially at sunset. You can work out how far away the horizon is but this doesn’t explain how the sun goes down behind it.

There is no doubt that the sun does go down. And I can imagine that in earlier times this would be a moment of terror for primitive people. An instinctive moment for which one would need to have extra protection or shelter. What the horizon suggests to me is the idea that we as followers of this primitive way of thinking, as creatures with the faculty of looking, once upon a time came to realize that that same sun also rises.
I don’t know how long ago it is that human beings became human beings, but I can definitely guess what moment of the day it happened. In the evening, when the sun goes down.

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Sonsbeek…an exhibition park near Arnhem

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A City and its Exhibition

It was in 1948 that a councillor, a VVV tourism official and the mayor of Arnhem launched an initiative for a contemporary art exhibition on a scale unprecedented in Europe. Their aim was to give the city which had experienced so much destruction during the Second World War a totally new appeal.

Processing the traumatic wartime experience

Sonsbeek ’49 opened that following year with over two hundred works displayed along the paths in the park. Most of these were figurative sculptures created since the turn of the century. A recurring theme among the newer works was the processing of Holland’s traumatic wartime experience, such as Nel Klaassen’s monumental Honour the Woman which still stands in Arnhem.

Connected to the present

In subsequent editions of the exhibition, the idea was the same. Sculptures by internationally renowned artists were presented to Arnhem’s public: Auguste Rodin, Ossip Zadkine, Henri Moore, Pablo Picasso, John Rädecker and Hildo Krop. After each edition the Arnhem council selected some of the exhibited works for permanent display in the city. Often, these were works that referred to the war, such as Ossip Zadkine’s Phoenix which found a permanent place in front of the town hall. Since the beginning, SONSBEEK has always been closely concerned with contemporary issues and current affairs.

Selected by a curator based on a specific theme

After the first four editions, one every three years and each similarly presented, SONSBEEK seemed to have become a tradition. Until in 1971 SONSBEEK broke with that tradition and quite literally went off the beaten track with a show compiled for the first time by a curator and expressing a specific theme. Sonsbeek Buiten de Perken was assembled by Wim Beeren, then chief curator at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum. The exhibits abandoned their pedestals, some even left the city and the country. Prominent conceptual artists such as Claes Oldenburg, Wim T. Schippers, Robert Smithson and Nam June Paik turned the exhibition into a milestone for avant-garde art. SONSBEEK became synonymous with progressive and experimental, thematic art shows.

SONSBEEK has constantly played a pioneering role through its novel presentations of art in public space. In collaboration with the curatorial collective ruangrupa, SONSBEEK once again brought art to the public in 2016. SONSBEEK ’16: transACTION marked the start of a quadrennial, the 12th edition will take place in 2020.

www.ftn-books.com has some of the Sonsbeel catalogues still available

 

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Charlotte Dorothée barones van Pallandt (1898-1997)

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One of the more classic sculptors in the Netherlands. She is probably the most well known sculptor from the last century. Possibly the reason is, that it is believed that she gave lessons to the young Princess Beatrix , who is a gifted amateur sculptor herself and has always admired van Pallandt.

For me van Pallandt stands for one of the very best catalogues the Stedelijk Museum has ever published and Eja Siepman van den Berg, who was the first to win the Charlotte van Pallandt prize for sculpture. van Pallandt is a classic sculptor and a great technician, but besides her fantastic technique, i always get the same feeling when i see her sculptures. I am a little bored. Great for a first look , but when studied for a longer time i loose interest where as the sculptures by Eja Siepman van den Berg grow on you and with every possible angle and lighting the sculpture shows itself differently and fascinates. Better judge for yourself…..On the left a van Pallandt portrait , on the right ” stapje” . by Eja Siepman van den Berg.

One exception… the statue by van Pallandt of the former Queen Wilhelmina…almost abstract in its approach, but the outline and posture are certainly that of Wilhelmina. See it from a distance and it is an abstract blur, come closer and it is Queen Wilhelmina determined to lead a small country.

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www.ftn-books.com has some publications on van Pallandt available including the mentioned Stedelijk Museum catalogue.

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Arthur Spronken (1930- 2018)

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A few weeks ago Arthur Spronken died, Famous in the South of the Netherlands with his horse sculptures. He has become each decade of more importance for the dutch sculpture scene. His statues are widely spread in public spaces in Limburg and because of their size in most cases outside.

What do i think of Spronken as a sculptor and his sculptures. To me they look like classic sculptures , influenced by the “classic” Chinese Tang hors ceramic horses. Their legs in most cases missing , leaving a muscular torso of the horse and in most cases there is “action and mouvement ” in the torso.

A little like the technique the futurists used to use within their paintings, suggesting a mouvement. After his initial fame in Limburg, his sculptures spread over the Netherlands. Making sculptures in public places in towns like Amsterdam, Haarlem and Zwolle. I respect his craftsmanship but his sculptures never fascinated me enough to buy a small one for my collection,. They come up for auction regularly and their prices are still on the verge of affordable. His sculptures are nice to look at and they draw your attention immediately when you encounter them, but for me the do not intrigue long enough to collect them.

Arthur Spronken has had some important exhibitions in the Netherlands. Among them Beelden Aan Zee and the Frans Hals Museum and www.ftn-books.com has some nice titles on the sculptor Arthur Spronken. What i personally like about Spronken is the catalogue which was made for the van Bohemen/Spronken Stedelijk Museum exhibition in 1968. A designed catalogue by Wim Crouwel.

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Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)

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Here si a classic sculptor who paved the way for modern sculpture. You just have to visit the Rodin museum in Paris to find the most beautiful Rodin sculptures all assembled into one place and find the “studies” among them. Look at them closely …travel in time some 50 years ahead and find parts of Henri Moore and Brancusi in them. Rodin was a genius and the dutch are lucky to have some great Rodin sculptures in public collections. There are statues in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and the Stedelijk Museum and there are 7 sculptures by Rodin collected by Mr. and Mrs Singer which are frequently on show at the Singer Museum in Laren. The most important one is a smaller sized “THINKER” statue.

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Beside the statues , Rodin made some very impressive  (erotic) watercolors. Studies of bodies which also have an abstract quality.

Rodin erotic

There are publications on Rodin available at www.ftn-books.com

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Piet Dirkx….the publications (1)

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During the time i filled my Piet Dirkx daily in the last 2 years, i frequently looked into the publications that i have on and by Piet Dirkx and each time it struck me that these were all quite special. Covers out of the ordinary, special binding and one even one resembling the famous Moleskine notebooks that Piet uses for his notes and drawings nowadays.

Some of these are still available at www.ftn-books.com. Not all are listed… so inquire for the ones in store, but if not in the inventory of www.ftn-books.com keep looking and searching for them , they really are still out there to be picked up.

dirkx selectie a

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Richard Long (1945)

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Hamish Fulton and Richard Long…. Two artist who i learned to appreciate in the time that Rudi Fuchs was director at the Gemeentemuseum. Long was nominated 4 times for the prestigious Turner price , but only won it once in 1989 for White Water Line.

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Since i first saw works and publications i have seen Richard Long his works on many occasions and one of the most recent ones was at the Guggenheim Bilbao museum. Each time the lines, circles and labyrinths look random, but this is not true. The placement of the stones and paint is strict and makes it free whitin the object , but it has very strict boundaries making it perfectly shaped. The way each work is created is described and laid down in drawings i a way that each work can be re-cretaed at any other place than it was first was created. It is somewhat the saem as with the walldrawings by Sol LeWitt who uses the same method . The art work is the sketch/drawing and materials and can be re-created anywhere as long as you have the original drawing belonging to the work.

What makes Richard Long stand out from other contemporary artists is that many of his publications are also artist books which hold beside the works, photography and word “sculptures” by Long and www.ftn-books.com has some of these titles available.

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Pearl Perlmuter (1915-2008)

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A forgotten artist she is. One  whom i stumbled upon when i listed some of Wessel Couzijn’s publications

https://ftn-blog.com/2018/01/16/wessel-couzijn-ii-now-for-sale/

Pearl Perlmuter (New York, September 23, 1915 – Amsterdam, May 8, 2008) was a Dutch-American sculptor.
Pearl Perlmuter grew as the daughter of orthodox Eastern European Jews in New York City.

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She studied law at Fordham University School of Law and attended evening classes sculptureat the prestigious Art Students League of New York (from 1940 to 1943 by William Zorach and from 1943 to 1945 by Ossip Zadkine).
She made at this time to know the painting of Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, both representatives of the abstract expressionist movement.
In 1945 she met the Dutchman Wessel Couzijn, a Jew who had emigrated to the United States.
He had also registered at the Art Students League.
This meeting led to a marriage between the two in December 1945.
In 1946 Couzijn Wessel and his wife returned to Amsterdam, where they had hoped to build a career, but where it mostly Couzijn was that the orders received.
From 1963 to 1967 she taught at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and from 1977 to 1981 at the Academy of Art and Industry in Enschede.
In 2008 she died at the age of 92.

 

perlmuter

Publications on Perlmuter are scarce, but www.ftn-books.com has one publication available

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Cesar Domela (1900-1992) a member of de STIJL

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Cesar Domela an abstract constuctivist who has deservedly created himself among the best of DE STIJL artists. He was a friend of Piet Mondriaan and Theo van Doesburg, but after a few years of DE STIJL compositions he developed a stijl of his own. Wall reliefs were his specialty with curls and filled in colorful spaces these compositions became highly recognizable as Domela’s. During my time at the Gemeentemuseum i never witnessed the special Domela exhibitions , but know that the publications published with these exhibits are thought to be the best on Domela and his works. In meantime other publications have appeared, but these Gemeentemuseum publications still are the best.

www.ftn-books.com has a nice selection of Domela publications including a signed print in an edition of 150 cps.

Here is part of the biography the Gemeentemuseum publishes on its site:

www.gemeentemuseum.nl

When he died in 1992, Dutch artist César Domela left behind an oeuvre that was as substantial as it was varied. Part of it passed into the possession of his daughters, Lie Tugayé-Domela Nieuwenhuis and Anne Dutter-Domela Nieuwenhuis. They are now donating thirteen of the relevant works to the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. The gift forms an important addition to the museum’s existing Domela collection, expanding it to provide a complete overview of the work of this multifaceted artist. From 24 November, the public will have its first chance to view this exceptionally important donation, which comprises paintings, reliefs and one sculpture, as part of a major retrospective devoted to Domela.

César Domela was born in 1900 as the youngest son of the well-known Dutch socialist politician Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis. At an early age, he moved to Italy, where he rubbed shoulders with a number of avant-garde artists. Soon after that, he met Mondrian, Van Doesburg and other members of the De Stijl group, of which he himself became the youngest member in 1924. However, Domela’s artistic development took a different direction from that of most of his fellow-members. He devoted himself increasingly to the development of reliefs: three-dimensional paintings, in which he ascribed a major role to the diagonal. He also experimented with photomontages for use in the world of commercial advertising. His work was well received and in 1936 it was included in the Cubism and Abstract Art exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

After the Second World War, the reliefs came to dominate his output. In 1960 the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag purchased work by him and held a retrospective. Twenty years later, this was followed a second major retrospective of his work. Today, the museum possesses an extensive collection, focusing until the present donation principally on the photomontages and advertising material. This special relationship between the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and César Domela is one reason why his daughters have decided to donate thirteen of their father’s works to the institution; another is the fact that the works form an excellent complement to the museum’s wider holdings. The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag is extremely proud to have been offered this gift and delighted that the Domela collection, which is so valuable a part of its core holdings, will now provide a complete overview of the artist’s entire career. The gift coincides with the official opening at the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD) of the César Domela archive, bequeathed and donated to the Dutch State and given into the safekeeping of that institution.

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Eva Hesse (1936-1970)

A sad short life with deportation, a mother committing suicide and ending after only 34 years with a fatal brain tumor. This is in short the life of Eva Hesse, but during the only 10 years she was active as an artist she left the world some beautiful and imaginative works of art.

Not just one portrait above this blog , but a series because i found so many beautiful pictures of her surrounded by her works that it appears as if she is part of the work itself. It is now nearly 50 years that she died, but there is a strong demand for her works now and it shows in my inventory at www.ftn-books.com, because after having a handful publications on the shelf, there is only one publication left.

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