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Happy New Year…and a healthy 2021

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Dear Reader,

Thanks for your interest in this continuing daily blog. It has been been a year filled with changes and I truly hope next year will be a more normal year and of course a healthy one for you and all your loved ones.

What way to have a better start of the blogs remembering the New Years wishes Willem Sandberg made during his directorship at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

Each year until the early Sixties he made a yearly New Years wish for the Stedelijk Museum. Recognizable, highly original and in a way only Sandberg could design and make them. I encountered these New Years wishes in a biography which was published in 2004 and written by Ank Leeuw Marcar. In the centre of the book all Sandberg New Years Wishes are assembled. ( available at http://www.ftn-books.com).

To finish ….My best wishes for you and your loved ones and have a wonderful 2021.

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Pretty Dutch / 2007

I have seen thousands of art book covers during this last year and here is the one that I think struck me most. It is a publication by the Princessehof from 2007 in which their collection is presented in the very best way possible. Photography of the collection by Erik and Petra Hesmerg and then there is this cover……..

pretty dutch

Photography by Fritz Kok and catalogue design by Ben Lambers

printed by Die Keure

an excellent threesome making a great publication now available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Gracia Lebbink (1963)

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This blog is long time overdue. I met Gracia for the first time when she was designing the artist book LA STANZA VEDE by Kounellis for the Haags Gemeentemuseum in 1990. She was introduced to the Haags Gemeentemuseum by Rudi Fuchs who was the director at that time and because trusted her skills after being introduced to Rudi by  Walter Nikkels some time before.

Since, she designed for the Gemeentemuseum many publications and posters and build a prestigious agency on the way, “designing” for many cultural institutions and museums. Always recognizable, simple , beautiful designs and with a typography that invites reading the texts.

I mentioned Nikkels and Lebbink in the same sentence and that is not without a reason … I consider both to be the very best from the generations to follow Sandberg and Crouwel and because I have known Gracia professionally, she is placed on the no. 1 spot, followed at some distance by Walter Nikkels. It proves Rudi Fuchs had a nose to pick not only the best artists, but also the right choice in commissioning a designer with a project. Gracia had to stop her professional career in 2003, leaving us some very beautiful and appealing designs.

Because of my personal interest in her works I have collected many of Gracia’s designs for FTN-books. Many are available at www.ftn-books.com…..just search for Lebbink and you will encounter over 30 Gracia Lebbink designed publications available.

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Jacob Jongert (1883-1942)

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Jac ( Jacob ) Jongert is one of the classic dutch designers. It is highly likely that you once have seen a design of his , since his van NELLE box has grown into a world famous design object from the Twenties/Thirties.

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It has been one of those iconic design objects executed in a style which have been of great influence to designers in the following decades. Look at the second poster and you will recognize that this typography and design elements must have influenced the POP ART designs from the Sixties.

But beside the avant garde designs there are so much more beautiful designs by Jongert and for those interested in Jongert and his design career i truly recommend the book which has been published in 2009 for the Jongert  special exhibition at the Boymans van Beuningen Museum. A book which shows why Jongert is important as a designer and what is more . The book itself is one of the best and most beautiful published books which i encountered in recent years. This book is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Daphne van Peski (Duijvelshoff)(1942)

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In the beginning, when I started with FTN books I had a hard time to distinguish Wim Crouwel his designs from the ones made by Daphne Duijveshoff. Later the differences became more clear to me. Duijvelshoff even had even more clean designs than Wim Crouwel had. Still, I sometimes make the error to think it is a Crouwel design I am looking at and to discover a few moments later that it is made by Daphne Duijvelshoff. They worked for a very long time together at Total design but she stopped with her design work in 2006. The excellent site on Dutch designers has done a special on her which can be found over here: https://www.dutchgraphicroots.nl/?p=2144

Of course http://www.ftn-books.com has some great Duijvelshoff designs available.

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Company design

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People almost forget that every publication and every outing by a larger company has been designed by a designer. In the tine that i worked at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, i have witnessed that every director wanted a change in company style. It was a bit like the french presidents always want to erect a building to show the people in the country that he once was their president ( Pompidou, Mitterrand, Chirac they all had their building projects and are now remembered in the name of the building.

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It was the same with the directors i worked with at the Gemeentemuseum. First there was Theo van Velzen who was very fond of Donald Janssen, followed by Henk Overduin who continued with Donald. After Henk Overduin the museum had Rudi Fuchs as a director. Fuchs trusted Walter Nikkels , but after a few month he decided for Gracia Lebbink as a designer and young and saspiring designers who had the “style’ he desired for the publications of the museum and i must admit, personally i think this period produced the best and most beautiful publications. Gracia continued to design some 8 years for the museum. In the time of some 20 years i had witnessed and worked with 4 designers and as many of 4 times every printed outing of the museum was redesigned. Posters, books, printing paper , entrance tickets, shopping bags every aspect of printing was designed agin with the coming of the new company style. It the meantinme i had also witnessed 3 name changes of the museum itself. To show some of the bags that were published over the time i show you the most famous plastic bags of the museum , which are both available at www.ftn-books.com 

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Otto Treumann (1919-2001)

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Treumann is certainly one of the greatest designers from last century and has designed some of the most iconic images in the Netherlands from the last 50 years, but he has been specially important for the designs of the Joods Historisch Museum and the Jewish community.

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Born in Bavaria in a German Jewish Liberal family in 1935 he came as an immigrant to Amsterdam fleeding Nazi Germany. He followed his education at the “NIEUWE KUNSTSCHOOL” in Amsterdam he educated their students according to the Bauhaus principles. During the occupation in WWII, Treumann became part of the resistance and forged ID’s and food stamps. After the war his posters for the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht became very famous . He also made some striking designs for AKU, which are now sought after and collected. In 1948 he received the H.N. Werkman price.

Treumann made designs for the Stedelijk Museum, the Anne Frank foundation and the Gasunie. His designs can still be found at reasonable prices and some of these pubications are available at http://www.ftn-books.com

 

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Wally Elenbaas (Continued)

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On the 8th of May 2018 i published a blog on the very impressive photography by Wally Elenbaas. These were photographs not lightly to be forgotten. Specially because Elenbaas was sentenced to prison for these beautiful photographs.

https://ftn-blog.com/?s=elenbaas

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Now it is time to shine some light on another aspect of this great dutch artist. Elenbaas was also a gifted designer and used his typography to create images and illustrations consisting of letters transforming these and their meaning into illustrations. Images tell a far better story than words so here are some illustrations….and….the LETTERBOEK is available at http://www.ftn-books.com

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William Katavolos (1928)

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Known for his furniture and his presence in the collection of Moma and his architectural tutorials it is almost forgotten that he made some very nicely designed books of which the one he made for the Kwadraat series in 1961 is one of the nicest ones. The cover is spectacular with a cut out pattern and behind it a pale yellow/gold colored title page. These books are wel worth collecting and can still be picked up at reasonable prices. but my guess is they will not be much longer available since the edition size was small and word spreads that these are the ones to focus on within the Kwadraat series.

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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/