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Ferdi ( Ferdina Jansen 1927-1969)

Ferdi was the wife of dutch Pop Art painter and sculptor Shinkichi Tajiri and was married to him until her tragic death in 1969. If i look at her work now, the first other artist i think about is Niki de Saint Phalle. I really do not know if they have known each other but it is possible when you look at the time frame, they possibly knew and inspired each other. Ferdi, educated by Ossip Zadkine, used large pieces of cloth and textiles to assemble her figures female form inspired figures for which she has become very well known in the Netherlands. Recently, I think it was 2012 , the Rijksmuseum acquired WOMB TOMB with the help of the heirs of her estate

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Her husband Shinkichi Tajiri is nowadays a recognized and settled name and specially known for his large Pop Art sculptures. Ferdi is far less known. Her works appear sometimes at auction but that is it for this moment. It is time that some dutch museum shows new interest in her because her works fascinate and deserve to be known abroad too. The stedelijk Museum published a very nice catalogue with her works which was designed by Wim Crouwel and some 15 years ago another important book was published in which her works were shown together with toise from her husband. Both are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Wim Crouwel….SM Gedrukt in Japan / 1967

Wim Crouwel is a regular name appearing in my blog. This is not only because i have many titles available at www.ftn-books.com, but mainly because i consider Wim Crouwel the most important graphic designer from last century. There are some that are important too and i think of Gerstner and Sandberg, but Wim Crouwel is in my opnion the absolute best. Wim Crouwel made some 200+ designs between 1960 and 1980 for the Stedelijk Museum, Among them posters, catalogues an folders and many have become iconic for graphic design in the Sixties. There was of course the VORMGEVERS catalogue which is in high demand and extremely hard to find, but the one i would like to discuss now is the GEDRUKT IN JAPAN catalogue, which has become rare and expensive too. It is of great graphici quality and although it is only 20 pages, for me it is the summit in design from the sixties. A simple but highly effective lay out. The use of Magenta on the front . The SM logo and underneath a very very fine line with below it one of the logo’s for the Osaka Art Festival . Published in 1967 with no. 407……it is perfection on the 20 pages.

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El Lissitzky (1890-1941)

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Here is an artist who’s works were very well known from the very first beginning of his career. Suprematism being one of the key collection parts of the Stedelijk Museum, El Lissitzky soon became part of this great and important collection. Because of this large collection part, an interest in his works was aroused from the very first beginning resulting in some purchases by important collectors and acquiring works by museum for their collections. Among them; Stedelijk Museum, Haags Gemeentemuseum, Boymans van Beuningen and the van Abbemuseum.

There is so much to be told about El Lissitzky as an artist because he was a true multi talented artist. A Painter, sculptor , architect and designer all within the same person. One aspect of his career i would like to mention specially. His graphic design.

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El Lissitzky is the 9th person from the left

During his stay in Germany Lissitzky also developed his career as a graphic designer with some historically important works such as the books Dlia Golossa (For the Voice), a collection of poems from Vladimir Mayakovsky, and Die Kunstismen (The Artisms) together with Jean Arp. In Berlin he also met and befriended many other artists, most notably Kurt Schwitters, László Moholy-Nagy, and Theo van Doesburg. Together with Schwitters and van Doesburg, Lissitzky presented the idea of an international artistic movement under the guidelines of constructivism while also working with Kurt Schwitters on the issue Nasci (Nature) of the periodical Merz, and continuing to illustrate children’s books. The year after the publication of his first Proun series in Moscow in 1921, Schwitters introduced Lissitzky to the Hanover gallery kestnergesellschaft, where he held his first solo exhibition. The second Proun series, printed in Hanover in 1923, was a success, utilizing new printing techniquesLater on, he met Sophie Küppers, who was the widow of Paul Küppers, an art director of the kestnergesellschaft at which Lissitzky was showing, and whom he would marry in 1927.

There are some really nice El Lissitzky publications available at www.ftn-books.com.

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Jackson Pollock and the Stedelijk Museum.

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Willem Sandberg was the fan and admirer who initiated the first presentations of Jackson Pollock in Europe. The Stedelijk Museum presented on several occasions his art and during these exhibitions made acquisitions resulting in some of the most iconic and important paintings in their collection. Among them is REFLECTIONS OF THE BIG DIPPER from 1947.

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Reflection of the Big Dipper consists of built up layers of paint with dripped enamel as the final touch, concluding the composition. It was around 1947 that Jackson Pollock traded in his brushes for sticks, trowels and knives and began adding foreign matter, such as sand, broken glass, nails, coins, paint-tube tops and bottle caps to his canvases. From this point on, Pollock’s application of paint became his main theme, which he tried to radicalize. With the body of work he thus created, Pollock found a unique position within the concurrent Abstract-Expressionist movement. Reflection of the Big Dipper was exhibited at the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1948, along with sixteen other paintings by Jackson Pollock. The show received positive reviews. Pollock’s works from this time are a transitional step between a more traditional handling of paint and his revolutionary technique of dripping paint on canvases off a large scale.

www.ftn-books.com has a nice selection of Stedelijk Museum  publications on Jackson Pollock available.

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Jeroen Henneman (1942)

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Personally i am not the greatest fan of Jeroen Henneman, but i Recognize the importance of the artist for dutch art in the 20th century. Specially the time bracket between 1965 and 1980 is important, because in this period his works found their way into private collections. They were accessible and of high quality, but they never had great appeal to me personally. Nevertheless i encountered his works at auction and exhibitions and i always had an extra look at them, because when you first see them they have something extra, therefore i made the occasional book purchase because i like the institutions were he had his exhibitions. Specially the Nouvelles Images Gallery and the Stedelijk Museum made some great publications with his exhibitions which are both available at www.ftn-books.com

Henneman is certainly one of the best known  “modern” artists in the Netherlands and admired by some well known dutch famous collectors, but i am not one of them. Many dutch people know of his portrait of the former Queen Beatrix and his silhouetted portraits are well known too, but as said….i am not a fan.

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Wim Crouwel / Total Design- 20 jaar verzamelen / Stedelijk Museum, 1984

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Followers of this blog know of my special interest in the publications of the Stedelijk Museum. I have many titles avaialable and ftn-books.com is one of the first sources that is consulted when it comes to publications of and on the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Yet…. one learns every day, even when you have so many catalogues by the Stedelijk Museum available as i do. It has been years ago that i last saw this catalogue which was published by the Stedelijk in 1984 which gives the best and complete overview of their collecting in the period 1963-1984.

Why is this important? Personally i think that this is the period in which the SM made their best and most important purchases. How about important acquisitions like the ones by Kelly, Dubuffet, LeWitt, de Kooning , Mangold , Lichtenstein and Warhol. Just a few names that belong to the most famous ones, but among the hundreds of these acquisitions there is so much quality art acquired that only with these acquisitions one can fill an entire collection and become  with this collection one of the most important Modern Art Museums in the world. The book was compiled by Joosten and designed by Total Design/ Wim Crouwel, which makes it even more worthwhile collecting . It is now available at www.ftn-book.com

20 jaar verzamelen sm

 

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Fernand Leger…wegbereider ( 1957)

If there is one book book from the Fifties published by the Stedelijk Museum and designed by Willem Sandberg, it is the catalogue no. 158…Fernand Leger / Wegbereider. The typography and book design is typical Sandberg and “stunning” and to mark the end of January this book is for a limited time (until the 5th of February) for sale for only $ 25.00 when you use the discount code “Sandbergforonly25”

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More Leger and Stedelijk Museum publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Jasper Johns (1930)

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Another great artist who surfaced in the Sixties was Jasper Johns. Starting his career at the end of the Fifties , he soon became one of the best known and expensive artists from his generation. At one time one of his flag paintings was the first to fetch an incredible 10 Million dollars at auction, making it the most expensive painting by a living artist.

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Now we are accustomed to these crazy prices collectors are paying for art, but at that time is was unbelievable that a living artist could fetch such a price. Because of his popularity Johns soon had an exhibitions in the Netherlands at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. A special print exhibition and this exhibition was for me personally the perfect one.

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It was one of the first exhibitions i ever visited in the Stedelijk. I had an interest in graphic art and , young as i was,  a rookie in the world of art, i had no idea of prices. I thought i could afford a small print. But no way, these were far too expensive for a young starting collector. What remains?   … i still have the catalogue for sale at www.ftn-books.com and cherish it together with my personal copy. Book design was done by Wim Crouwel and it is available at www.ftn-books.com together with other Jasper Johns titles.

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Josua Reichert ( 1937 )… a printer

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Reichert is a typographer, designer, author and printer combined in one person. Take a little bit of Werkman, put in a dash of Piet Zwart combine this with the authenticity of Reichert and you have some idea of the fantastic prints he makes. Study his prints and you see mouvement and a highly original approach to printing  which makes them typical Josua Reichert prints.

One of the publications www.ftn-books.com has for sale is the excellent Wim Crouwel designed catalogue for the 1966 Stedelijk Museum exhibition on Josua Reichert and his prints.

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It is only 4 pages , but the fairly standard design by Wim Crouwel in blue was altered and printed on by Reichert with 3 special prints for this occasion. This combination of Reichert prints with Crouwel typography/design makes this for me personally one of the most valued and appreciated publications by the Stedelijk Museum in the Sixties.

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Sigurdur Gudmundsson (1942)

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Gudmundsson has a loyal following in the Netherland. That must be because he has been present in multiple group exhibitions and solo exhibitions in both museums and art galleries. The Stedelijk Museum presented this artist on several occasions and the catalogues’/ artist books published with these are in high demand. The “Circles” book for instance has been sdold out with me for over 5 years and i have not found another copy at a reasonable price. The same with ” Situations” sold out and nowhere to be found anymore.

Gudmundssons works fascinate. These are symbiosis of IN SITU and performance. Making this a true conceptual artis whose works have been spread all over the world.

Gudmundsson studied in the Netherlands at ao Ateliers 63 and after that study settled in the Netherlands and launched his career in the 1960s as a member of the legendary Icelandic SÚM group. His public sculptures can now be found widely, including in Rotterdam, Groningen and Den Haag in the Netherlands. He later became a teacher at the AKI in Enschede. He is now living in China, the artist prides himself of having been a foreigner for the past 50 years and i am curious to learn how this does influence his works. www.ftn-books.com has still some nice Gudmundsson titles available.