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.
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.
I know his work and recognize it by his reflecting surfaces and mirror like qualities , but Pistoletto is much more than an artist who uses a “Gimmick”. Now , 85 years of age he has proven to be one of the most influential Italian artists from the last century and his works have spread all over the world . (I even have illy collection cups by Pistoletto in my collection ;-).
Why is he, i think, so important?…. Probably this is because he stayed true to his art and has developed it into a very personal and recognizable form which is now appreciated by many. Pistoletto had had his exhibitions in the Netherlands in the van Abbemuseum and Stedelijk Museum and has built steadily an appreciative audience because of these exhibitions in the Netherlands since his earliest one at the van Abbemuseum in 1986. Arte Povera is Pistoletto ….and within his works he brings together Fluxus and conceptual art. The admiration of Bacon started his art career, but since he has walked his own path of “REFLECTION”.
Yesterday morning there was an article in the Volkskrant about the way art in museums by colored people and minorities must be described . The reason why the dutch museums are also looking for a desirable idiom is that also in dutch history there is a part of their history which is very doubtful. The catalogue which is in the title is the example which was given in the article ( available at www.ftn-books.com ). The exhibition was in those days, (which is very recent history) announced by the journalists and museum as “primitive art by natives inspired by western civilization a way of announcement as if we in Western Europe were civilized and others not.” A complete wrong way of describing the art from these artists. On the positive side…Sandberg was the one who thought these artists deserved a museum platform in the Stedelijk Museum as early as 1957. which was the place for these artists where they could, for the first time, present and show their art , side by side with Malevich and Mondrian. I can really understand why some words and expressions can not be used any longer, however …where a museum decides to remove an object from an exhibited collection and with this action denying some of the history from a country, should not be done…. in my opinion a better way would be to keep it within the collection and add an explanation why the museum thinks different nowadays about an object . This way explaining and not judging. Let the public judge for itself if the object is still beautiful or not.
The first time i encountered Hundertwasser his work was in an exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the first thought was…..he copies Klimt!
At that time i did not not know much about him, but when you read more and see more of his works you begin to realize that Hundertwasser is as original as Klimt was.
The difference is some 70 years between these 2 artists, but the background, influences and education are all well rooted in the city of Vienna from the beginning of the 20th century. This explains the similarities which one can find in many cases between the works by Klimt and Hundertwasser.
If ever you visit Wien , the Hundertwasser Haus is an absolute must. There are so many aspects about the house and its architecture , that it is impossible to describe it in this blog. However there is a great article on the architecture on the house on the site of the Hundertwasser House;
This is one of those catalogues that has become famous. When i started collecting Stedelijk Museum catalogues some 20 years ago. The first “lot” i bought contained 2 of these and my first thought was….who in the world is interested in these catalogues, but his has changed over the years. 2 reasons….
1st. Herman de Vries has become one of the most important artists since he first presented his works in the Stedelijk Museum.
2nd. What i did not realize at that time, but which is realized by many nowadays is that these catalogues were not a catalogue at all, but true multiples that were published on the occasion af an exhibition. Among them, Soto, Hamilton, Paolozzi, Arp, Calder and…. certainly this RANDOM SHAPES by Herman de Vries.
It was published with no 578 and contained a white cover which contained a see through envelope containing the Random shapes by de Vries a6 page folder with explanation in dutch made it complete.
The Random Shapes has become iconic for the Stedelijk Museum catalogues and finally after a long time i managed to find me another copy which is available at www.ftn-books.com
Possibly the best known member of the NEW FIGURATION mouvement in the Netherlands is Lucassen. If i must describe his art, it is a mix between geometric colorfield and daily household objects like screens, plants and kitchenware, add some comics into it , stirr it and you have an early Lucassen painting .
Later he developed this style into a very authentic and recognizable personal style. Making abstract compositions with shapes, numbers and letters. These paintings are intuitive compositions combining , more or less at random elements from his direct surroundings, but these can not be recognized as such. The compositions, titles, execution are like small poems executed on canvas.
www.ftn-books.com, has a large selection of Lucassen titles including the catalogues he made for his galerie Espace exhibitions.
Without realizing i have collected a beautiful small collection with works by Arie van Geest. Born in Maasland he stayed in the region and had several studios in Rotterdam. The friendship with Pat Andrea shows in his early works which were a little surreal, but in the mid eighties he changed in the approach of his painting. His works became abstract with realistic elements and that is the time i met Arie and bought my first drawing. Together with Mariette Josephus Jitta, as the curator in charge, he made the Tableau Mourant exhibition in which 98 watercolors were shown. This series was later bought by the van Gogh Museum. For the exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum 2 editions were made. One “ordinary edition” designed by Paul Stoute and the other a linnen bound one, with a drawing/watercolor by van Geest.
The style changed dramatically and personally i prefer this “new” Arie van Geest above his more realistic style. He stayed loyal to this new found abstract style for almost 20 years and changed again to a more a realistic way of painting in 2002. All three periods are important, but when you look at the museums that bought Arie van Geest ( Gemeentemuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Boymans van Beuningen ) , They all made their acquisitions in the abstract period, except for the Athens Museum which made purchases from his most recent period. Arie van Geest was represented by Delta Gallery. He now has frequent shows with Livingstone gallery. I have decided to sell part of my Arie van Geest works, so please have a look at FTN art and for the book related material visit www.ftn-books.com
The last day in this cycle of blogs on Forgotten artists. The 5th blog is devoted to Larry Bell. I was in doubt if he really is forgotten, but concluded that at least in Europe he is forgotten. Where he had an initial important exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum in 1968, for which Wim Crouwel designed the catalogue his name never showed up again in the Netherlands for participating in an exhibition ……but on the other side of the ocean it was different and his fame rose in the US from the early Seventies until now. The cubes he has made are magical and are a long time element in his oeuvre. This is what he says on his site on his Cubes.
Larry Bell became interested in glass in the early 1960s. As a medium, it had three properties that interested: it could transmit, absorb and reflect light, and with specific treatment, it could do all three at the same time. He found the cube to be an ideal form with which to investigate the phenomena of light on surface. The first cubes were made using household mirrors from which he would scratch away parts of the reflective material. Later he discovered a plating process that would make the glass reflective on both sides. With the early cubes, he incorporated geometric imagery, including the ellipse, adding visual complexity and depth to the simple forms. Eventually he eliminated the imagery. With a technology that deposited exquisitely thin films of various metallic and non-metallic substances to the glass. The resulting visual spectrum of colors is in fact light reflected in different wavelengths off the surface of the glass. Bell has continued to revisit the cubes throughout his career.
To end : there is a discount code on every purchase of 10% for the readers of this blog.
use: forgotten10 and you will receive the discount on your order/ valid until the 30th of June 2018
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”
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.
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.