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Aat Veldhoen (1934-2018)

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Art collecting is full of surprises. I started collecting books and art some 50 years ago and in this time I encountered some amazing works of art. I bought only a few and “forgot” to buy many, but I always had an open mind for great techniques. Aat Veldhoen was such an artist. He was arguably the first dutch artist who made his art available for the common people. Selling rotaprints by Jasper Grootveld these “erotic” prints were not appreciated and thought to be pornographic.

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These erotic prints can be considered the same as the Japanese Shunga prints, but with less colour and possible more realistic. Still the technique is stupendous. Lifelike figures making love, not hiding themselves and enjoying each other. Veldhoen became famous for these prints and drawings and during his life eventually was admired for them. Now culminating in a great solo exhibition at Museum Kranenburgh ( https://www.kranenburgh.nl/english/exhibitions-and-activities/aat-veldhoen-art-of-life). Unfortunately coles at this moment because of the Covid-19 virus, but hopefully open again later in June. Seeing these great drawings I have a feeling to compare these with Lucian Freud his works. the human figure in all its glory, not hiding anything.

Why this blog on Veldhoen now. …….Yesterday I met with a client who wanted very much to by the Jan Cremer i had in my collection for over 30 years. We made a deal and I sold him the Cremer. Today he came to fetch it and brought a beautiful drawing by Veldhoen of his former wife KABUL. I was very much impressed with this drawing and I could buy it from the Cremer buyer. So now this drawing is mine and I am still impressed by it. There are not many drawings by Veldhoen. A great many of them were destroyed and cut, but this remains and was in its former private collection for over 30 years. It was bought directly from Veldhoen and his a fitting ” Heijdenrijk” frame which enhance s the drawing. A classic ‘nude pose” of by Kabul makes this a typical Aat Veldhoen drawing.

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Aat Veldhoen (1934 – 2018) lived for and surrounded himself with his art. He worked in his teeming house and studio on Amsterdam’s Wittenburgergracht. The creative urge that underscored his versatile oeuvre, including drawings, etchings, paintings, photos, ceramics and sculptures, remained unwavering to the end.

Desire, love, sex, illness, old age, death

After studying drawing, Veldhoen set about documenting desire, love, sex, illness, old age and death, all with uncompromising zeal and compassion. This exhibition includes work Veldhoen made after suffering a partial paralysis at the age of 69, as well as Polaroids from the Rijksmuseum collection which have never been shown before.

Veldhoen’s exceptional and enduring curiosity for everything human resulted in an intimate, lifelong study of those around him. We see this in Veldhoen’s countless portraits of himself and his family, friends and artists.

Life and art

The works in Aat Veldhoen – Art of Life show remarkable connections with the work of those he knew and encountered. His life and art were inextricably intertwined. The result is a personal and tender view of human existence. Since Veldhoen often portrayed himself, the viewer is no longer the only voyeur.

for more information on the drawing please inquire at ftnbooksandart@gmail.com

 

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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

 

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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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2x Borek Sipek and 2x Erwin Olaf

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Why another blog on Erwin Olaf? This one is on the occasion of the addition of the book BOREK SIPEK / Glas Design Architectuur in which a series of photographs by Erwin Olaf with works by Sipek is published . Almost the exact series was used before. The series was made on location with gypsies holding glas and design by Sipek and photographed by Erwin Olaf for the Stedelijk Museum exhibition and publication which was designed by Irma Boom ( Book on the left/private collection). The addition to my inventory is the book published by the Drents Museum, which contains 8 color photographs by Erwin Olaf together with the Anton Corbijn cover. This makes the book a true collectors item since these photo’s are among the best Olaf ever made.

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When you study both series ( Stedelijk Museum and Drents museum), at first you think the photographs are the same , but study them closely and you will notice some subtil differences. I conclude that Erwin Olaf must have made shortly after each other two series. One in Black and white, the other in color.

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Using 2 cameras this must have been technically possible. Just look at the position of the hand of the gypsy boy. The book published for the Drents Museum is now for sale at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Wim Crouwel (continued )

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Early September 2019 i recommended the Mr Gridnik exhibition which would open shortly  after in the Stedelijk Museum. Just a few days before opening Mr.  Gridnik/ Wim Crouwel died  and he never witnessed his tribute at the Stedelijk. Since i have not found the time to go to this exhibition myself, but now that i finally have the opportunity and started planning my visit, i found out that all rooms are photographed and can be visited on line. It is a worthy tribute to one of the greatest designers from the last decade, but could have been much more complete. It focusses for 90% on the Stedelijk Museum publications, but it is still a very impressive sight to see so many great designs collected, but the real surprise is that i noticed that i have almost all of the books on show in my inventory. (www.ftn-books.com)

For those living too far away to visit the exhibition….here is the direct link to the rooms and showcases with Crouwel material:

https://www.stedelijk.nl/nl/crouwel-vitrines

and another excellent site with 19 photographs:

http://dutchdesigndaily.com/nl/nieuw/wim-crouwel-mr-gridnik/

 

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Alberto Burri (1915-1995)

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A blog on Burri since i acquired a very MIce 1961 catalogue by Galerie de France on Burri. Numbered 495 from an edition of only 1600 copies and in excellent condition.

Burri i have known for his MATTER paintings. A bit created like the ones Jaap Wagemaker made in the Netherlands. But there is so much mofre . His “paintings” are like three dimensional sculptures and make in some way a bridge to the zero art from a decade later.

He remained a reserved artist, ceaselessly working and creating, initially in a small studio in Via Margutta but frequently moving out. As a matter of fact, Milton Gendel – an American journalist who visited Burri’s studio in 1954 –, later reported: “The studio is thick-walled, whitewashed, neat and ascetic; his work is ‘blood and flesh,’ reddened torn fabric that seems to parallel the staunching of wounds that Burri experienced in wartime.”

Burri’s first solo figurative artworks exhibition took place on 10 July 1947 at the gallery-cum-bookshop La Margherita, in Rome, presented by the poets Leonardo Sinisgalli and Libero De Libero. However, Burri’s artistic production flowed definitively into abstract forms before the end of the same year, the use of small format tempera resulting from the influence of such artists as Jean Dubuffet and Joan Miró, whose studio was visited by Burri during a trip to Paris in the winter of 1948.

In the sixties Burri has had several exhibitions all over Europe and one, in 1961, was at the galerie de France. Who made a beautiful catalogue for it.

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Two different Malevitch titles

On a recent book market visit i found 2 totally different publications on the same artist. Malevich being the subject it occurred to me that there was a great difference between both publications. One rather modern with the emphasize on his early works proved that the interest in his early works was not there from the early beginning. The other being earlier…. a Louisiana / Denmark Museum publication from 1959. Shows the influence of Willem Sandberg in its catalogue design and its approach is totally different. Only a few early works are depicted and the focus is on his Suprematist works, which were being discovered as highly important in those days. The ultimate “BLACK SQUARE” being the final result of his search in constructivist painting.

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These and other great Malevitch publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Pieter Brattinga (1931-2004)

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In an earlier blog I wrote something on the relation between Henry Miller and Pieter Brattinga, but there is much more importance found in the fact that Brattinga was a designer /publisher all by himself, who made some very prestigious publications in the late Fifties and early Sixties. Being the son of the director of Steendrukkerij de Jong he held exhibitions within the printing rooms of Steendrukkerij de Jong and even started his own publication KWADRAAT Blad making it an example of the qualities that the Steendrukkerij de Jong was possible of. In later years he organized numerous exhibitions and designed many other books and stamps for PTT ao.. Pieter Brattinga was important for the development of dutch graphic design from the last century. Many of the Kwadraat publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Ko Oosterkerk ( 1928-2012)

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Jacobus Willem (Ko) Oosterkerk. It has not been recently that Ko Oosterkerk was admired for his black and white , highly abstract etchings. Almost in a contstructivist way he builds his compositions, but always was free, where the constructivist set their limitations.

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A few years ago (2016) there was an exhibition at the Kampen Museum, which showed all the qualities of his work through the years. Just have a look at all these wonderful works by searching with Google and you will be amazed how timeless these works are. I leafed through the van Abbemuseum catalogue from 1975 and noticed the quality of all his works. I can highly recommend this artist who is on the verge of becoming much more popular, but now still is very affordable.