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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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:
Every year and sometimes every two years, The STROOM agency for contemporary art in Den Haag presents the Ouborgprijs to one of the artists from the DEN HAAG region who has become important for modern art in and outside the Netherlands. The prestigious price is presented together with a publication which is published in a very small edition of 400 to 500 copies of the title to the artist. In the years 1992 (Gerard Petrus Fieret ), 1993 ( Lotti van der Gaag) and 1994 ( Tomas Rajlich) this publication was designed by Irma Boom, making these books outstanding in every way and because of the extremely small edition size , highly collectable items. I do not have the Fieret book, have sold the Rajlich book recently to China, but found the Lotti van der Gaag book and have put it up for sale at www.ftn-books.com
A few years ago i wrote a blog on Dick Elffers , who had been designing for the Holland festival during the Fifties. I illustrated this blog with some examples which i had found on the internet, but now i have added two Holland festival items which i have found and bought recently. Both are from 1955. One is for the New York City Ballet performance and the other for Theatro alla Scala, Milano who performed l’Italiana in Algeri by Rossini. These programs ar4e a true delight . Embossed cover and the typical Elffers typography takes the spotlight. Both are now available at http://www.ftn-books.com
Exhibition design is a relatively young design discipline that in recent decades has been developing strongly. Graphic and industrial designer Donald Janssen has for fifty years been part of this development, first as an independent designer and then with his design office in The Hague. In the 1970s he started as a freelance designer at the Haags Gemeentemuseum. Gradually several museums in the Netherlands and abroad followed, from which frequently long-term working relations emerged. He is a passionate designer who is constantly looking for new ways and sustainable solutions within the framework of a clear design concept.
This is an excerpt from an excellent series of blogs on great Dutch graphic designers. And Donald is certainly one of them. You can find the complete article on Donald Janssen at https://www.dutchgraphicroots.nl/?p=1757
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.
Willem Sandberg has designed many publication for the Stedelijk Museum. Starting as early as 1939 until in the early 60’s he finished designing publications for the Stedelijk and Wim Crouwel took over this task. In those 25 years he rarely made a large sized publication. This book is the exception. In collaboration with Meulenhoff publishers the Stedelijk Museum published its highlights and asked Sandberg to be the designer. A Large sized book of 12.1 x 10.6 inches containing over 200 pages, linnen bound with dustcover. Sandberg took the typical elements ( use of multiple sorts of paper) of his Stedelijk designs and incorporated these in his own way into this much larger publication. The extra size makes the art even more impressive.
This book is now for sale at http://www.ftn-books.com and has been included in the ever expanding inventory of Stedelijk Museum catalogues. I know that sometimes these emerge and come to the market, but i rarely have seen one at a reasonable price. This one, includes the dustcover, which is almost every time missing ans it is now for sale. A Willem Sandberg masterpiece which has been under valued for far too long.
Artist/ Author: Oliver Boberg
Title : Memorial
Publisher: Oliver Boberg
Measurements: Frame measures 51 x 42 cm. original C print is 35 x 25 cm.
signed by Oliver Boberg in pen and numbered 14/20 from an edition of 20