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Ah Xian (1960)

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I am not the greatest fan of Chinese art, althought i have learned to appreciate some of the artists and their works. One of the last to admire was the artist Ah Xian whose works were exhibited in the “stijl zalen” of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. They blended like they were meant to have been made for this location. Specially the “GOUDLEER” and Chinese rooms were a feast to the eye. Now i have acquired the exhibition catalogue for this exhibition. It is the one that sold out almost instantly. available at www.ftn-books.com

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Chinese artist Ah Xian lives and works in Sydney where for nearly two decades he has explored aspects of the human form using ancient Chinese craft methods including porcelain, lacquer, jase, bronze, and even concrete. The artist often uses busts of his own family members including his wife, brother, and father onto which he imprints traditional designs with a vivid cobalt blue glaze. via Colossal.

ah xian

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New Business Card FTN books & Art

visitekaartje ftn

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

 

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Paul Wunderlich (1927-2010)

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Paul Wunderlich can be considered as a second generation surreal painter/sculptor. First there was the generation of magritte and Dali who were recognized as being important. This generation was followed by artists who stayed true to Surrealism for their entire artist careers. Labisse, Fuchs, Tanguy and ….Paul Wunderlich . The artist for who the human figure was the start of many art work. He specially was fond of the male figure, which he used on many occasions in his art, but that was not the first art work by Wunderlich i encountered. I know exactly what and where it was. Somewhere in the early Seventies a newspaper article was published and in the article the NIKE sculpture by Wunderlich was mentioned. I learned who sold it and hoped to acquire it for my staring collection, because its edition size was large ( 1000 copies). It was not to be….visiting the gallery Steltman who exhibited and sold the sculpture i learned that the price was 1100 guilders. A price far too steep for me…so i dit not buy it. A few years later my parents decided to buy it together with another Wunderlich sculpture which is now still in my collection.

My sister has the NIKE statue. Both statues/sculptures still grace our living rooms. Wunderlich is perhaps not the most fashionable artist to have in your collection, but i can guarantee you that his works will grow on you.

http://www.ftn-books.com has some nice Wunderlich publications available .

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Eugene Dodeigne (1923-2015)

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Perhaps it is because later in his life he moved to France and people forgot about Eugene Dodeigne , but in the late Fifties and early Sixties he was one of the most promissing young sculptures in the Netherlands . Nowadays, when you search for Dodeigne you hardly will have a result. Some drawings are offered at Art Zaanstad and the occasional auction, but his strong point is his sculptures. Almost abstract with a hint of realism make these intriguing sculptures by an artist who deserves to be better known. In recent years there were exhibitions in the Dordrecht Museum and with Kunsthandel de Boer , but the best exhibition was held at the Boymans van Beuningen Museum in 1964 ( all these catalogues are available)

Some Dodeigne publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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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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Leonardo Delfino ( 1928)

delfino photo

If an artist has not acquired the fame he deserves it is hard to make his name more known at the end of his career. This is why i support any initiative to help the artist. Leonardo Delfino is such an artist. He rose to sdome fame at the end of the Fifties amnd early Sixties ( this is the period i last discussed in an earlier blog) and had an important exhibition at galerie Delta in 1971 ( catalogue available at http://www.ftn-books.com), but after some dutch and french exhibitions it was quiet, with hardly any exhibitions outside Italy and France. Born in Torino he soon went to France to help his career further on, but is stayed relatively quiet with hardly any exhibitions being held. This doe not mean his work is not interesting. His scupltures are timeless abstract colums or pieces of raising /concrete. I thinh he uses the same procedure to create his sculptures as Mmark Boyle does. Using the original to cast a raisin copy from it.

look for Delfino on the internet and there is hardly any information, but there is a facebook site worth visiting at: https://www.facebook.com/Delfinoproject

Some early Delfino publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Cor van Dijk (1952)

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It took me along time to fianally appreciate the sculptures by van Dijk. At first i thought them to be too much copies of Judd sculptures, but i discovered them to be completely different. Why….surface , composition and construction differ from the one by Donald Judd. Still i consider his sculptures to be Minimal art and not constructivist.

 

He was  born in 1952 in Pernis, is a Dutch artist. The steel sculptures of Cor van Dijk are characterised by clear lines and geometric shapes. From first stages of their design, the material used for these works – steel – and their realisation are inextricably linked. To create his work, the artist uses separate sheets of solid steel, which he joins together with extreme precision. Van Dijk bases the dimensions of his sculptures on the standard gauge of the sheet metal. As a result, the mill scale found on the rolled steel is left intact in the finished works.

Viewing Van Dijk’s sculptures, one’s eyes constantly move across their surface and one’s attention keeps shifting from areas of open space to sections that take up space. The seams between the different segments play a key role in the works, since they lend a sense of scale to the mass of steel and define its different volumes. The artist strives to show interior space – its layout, possible compartments, the spaces between the segments and the massive quality of the steel itself. The different dimensions all interact with one another. Ultimately, this is also what gives the sculptures their specific presence: the precise handling of volumes and the perfect connection of individual sections in space. Each newly-realised concept is intended to bring even greater clarity to the context of the preceding work – while also pointing ahead, suggesting new concepts that are still waiting to be developed.

Van Dijk’s most recent sculptures comprise a single segment. The location of the open space and its dimensions determine the scale of the work as a whole. The result is an object in which mass (matter) and open space interact more intensively than ever before. In technical terms, the steel used for the sculptures shows no traces of machining or processing. Thanks to their mass, the open space and the interaction of these two elements, these tranquil objects seem to speak directly to the viewer.

www.ftn-books.com has the monograph on van Dijk now for sale

cor van dijk

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Ru van Rossem (1924-2007)

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I started to take in interest in the art of Ru van Rossem the time i acquired a large collection of small signed and dated etchings by the artist. Among them, small etchings, lithographs, art libris and new years wishes. They had some elements in common. The human figure was important as well as horses and religion.

These three elements define the works by van Rossem. Perhaps it is not your kind of art, but study these prints and you will discover that van Rossem was an etcher “pur sang”. and that the art of etching held no secrets for him.

www.ftn-books.com

has recently acquired the most important monograph on van Rossen which is now available

 

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David Bade (1970)

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It must have been round 2002 that i first saw a sculpture by David Bade. It was the Yellow one/ BIG FISH DAY  that was placed at the entrance of the GEM, the contemporary museum next door to the Kunstmuseum Den Haag.  A bright yellow sculpture with a stork ( weapon of THE HAGUE) in top .

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My personal thought is that this is a monstrosity and over the nearly 20 years now that it is at this spot i never learned to appreciate it. Last week i walked by it , looked at the sculpture and noticed it was worn at some places and a thin layer of green algae is covering the sculpture, so perhaps in short time the sculpture will be removed from its spot and placed elsewhere. So far the negative on David Bade, because one always must have an open mind and when i leafed through the 2010 David Bade catalogue i was impressed….powerful sculptures, great paintings and drawings which reminded me of the great Expressionist painters . So there is a shift towards the positive. It does not mean that i now admire the sculpture outside GEM, but i definitely makes me look different to David Bade his art. The 2010 book is now available at www.ftn-books.com

david bade

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An important Tajiri/Crouwel book

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It was in the earliest years of his career that Wim Crouwel was invited to design the catalogues of the van Abbemuseum and in these years several iconic publications were published that were designed by Crouwel. I have encountered over the years many of them and have a nice selection for sale at www.ftn-books.com, but until last month i never had seen the Tajiri catalogue from 1961. It was one of the earliest of Tajiri his catalogues for a major museum, but Wim Crouwel must have felt the same about the catalogue as Tajiri did. Both must have the iedea that is was important for them personally. The typography on the cover is outstanding and the photograph by Cas Oorthuys even enhances it. This is a thin 12 page catalogue with a special 4 page inlay ( with photographs of sculptures), but every page shows the quality of Wim Crouwel his design in combination with the works by Tajiri.

tajiri abbe a