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Hans Hartung (1904-1989)

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One of the exhibitions i thought to be one of the very best during the time i was working at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, was one curated by Franz Kaiser on the abstract artist Hans Hartung . Just one word describes the exhibition….impressive.

It showed that the art Hartung created was not just random, but a well thought over creation of abstract art in which a small sketch was turned into a large painting.

Here is the text on the exhibition:

Hans Hartung (b. Dresden, 1904) was regarded as one of the founding fathers of French Lyric Abstractionism, the European counterpart of American Abstract Expressionism: a term in which the word Expressionism refers to an extremely physical and spontaneous manner of painting. The members of the movement wanted, as it were, to work out their emotions on the canvas without any form of symbolism.

Hartung’s paintings displayed a plain ground covered with rough and apparently spontaneous brushwork, with all the paint spatters and brush marks that go with that way of painting. After his death, therefore, people were astounded when the study of unfinished pictures revealed that his paintings had not in fact been created in a wild and spontaneous way, but by carefully filling in predetermined outlines based in every detail, right down to the smallest flecks of paint, on sketches prepared in advance. This exhibition, which the Gemeentemuseum is holding to mark the hundredth anniversary of Hartung’s birth, reveals an artist who would better be described as a conceptual artist, were it not for the fact that conceptual art did not exist as a movement when he produced his works. In this first Dutch retrospective of Hans Hartung’s work, early drawings are presented next to the equivalent paintings, and early versions alongside later versions. The similarities in terms of motif are astonishing.

More about Hans Hartung: www.fondationhartungbergman.fr

There are some nice publications on Hartung available at www.ftn-books.com

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Dennis Bailey (1931-2016) a prominent British graphic designer

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It was just recently that my eye was caught by a cover for a British exhibition on Architecture. ( available at www.ftn-books.com) The exhibition “ARCHITECTURE TODAY, has over 140 page filled with examples of typical Sixties architecture but what made it stand out for me was the excellent cover by Dennis Bailey.

architecture today

Bailey was of great influence to other British designers because he taught at the Central School Of Art & Design (1957-60), Chelsea School of Art (1970-81) and at Middlesex Polytechnic during the late 1980s.

I wondered why i find his design so appealing. It must have been the influence of Swiss design . at least there is a hint Gerstner in his designs and it is no wonder, because he contributed for a period of over 20 years to GRAPHIS magazine based in Zurich.

For more information on this great Britisch designer please read the article that i found over here:

Remembering Dennis Bailey – design’s unassuming statesman

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Bob Bonies (1937)

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For me the only true “Hard edge” artist in the Netherlands is Bob Bonies, however Michiel Morel refers to the art of Bob Bonies as a rearrangement of FORMS AND COLORS.

I read his excellent article and it is unfortunate that it is only available in dutch, but for those who understand the language here is the link :

Bonies: Ordening van vorm en kleur (periode  1964 – 1968) (3)

As you can read in the article . Bonies stayed true to his art of rearranging , shifting and placing forms and colors in a new context and one of the earliest silkscreen that was published in a larger edition was the one he made for the Stedelijk Museum catalogue VORMEN VAN DE KLEUR

in which his contribution stands out together with the one Ellsworth Kelly made for the same publication. This Wim Crouwel designed publication is available at www.ftn-books.com

left Bonies and right Kelly

I have a lifetime admiration for Bob Bonies. He was one of the first artists i personally met at the Gemeentemuseum and a few years ago i bought a small collection of his publications from another bookdealer who had bought them from a Bonies collector and within one of the publications i found the birth card of his son Jiri. Even this card shows the quality of his works. The card is for sale too together with many other Bonies publications.

 

 

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Anthon Beeke (1940-2018)

First of all i have to apologize in publishing this blog without commemorating Anthon Beeke who died a few weeks ago and who’ s death i announced on the the 26th of September in a special blog on Beeke. Here is the blog which was prepared some months ago.

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One of the great and now world wide known names in dutch graphic design is Anthon Beeke. Born is 1940 he was of the flower power generation who took over Amsterdam in the late sixties. Free love, drugs and influences from all over the world shaped a generation of designers of which Beeke was one of . Without knowing who the designer is, you immediately recognize his work. Bright colors , details, shocking views or attributes draw you into his designs immediately.

But it is not always his intention to shock, there were occasions that his designs were just functional. For instance his Wanderlieder

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designed catalogue for the Stedelijk is only different in size but holds and reads just like a normal book.

Beeke is one of the great designers in the Netherlands and well worth collecting. www.ftn-books.com has some nice titles by Beeke available including the poster he made with Erwin Olaf for het Anjer Fonds.

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Willem Sandberg… Experimenta Typographica 1943 – 68.

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As you can read in the title , Willem Sandberg experimented with typography and designs.

During the occupation by the Germans he published experimental books with his own typography. Mostly a combination of very original and personal lay-out and torn out letters, making these publications unique. Unique because of their chosen size, material, printing ,their design and the very limited numbers in which they were produced.

Sandberg produced nineteen pamphlets between December 1943 and April 1945, making a couple of copies of each one, all done by hand. They consisted of twenty to sixty pages of drawings, collages, and texts, which were either written by Sandberg himself or quoted from Confucius, Proudhon, Stendhal, and other favorite writers on themes like love, death, education, architecture, and typography. As Sandberg had no money and materials were scarce in wartime, he improvised by using whatever he could find: scraps of wallpaper, cardboard packaging, tissue paper, and wrapping paper together with photographs, drawings, and symbols torn from magazines for his collages.

The originals are very very rare and exceptionally hard to find. Luckily some of the dutch publishers decided to make some reprints and make them in this way available for other admirers. These reprints are getting more scarce every year now, but www.ftn-books.com still has some available.

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Fons Haagmans (1948)

Yesterday i wrote about Fons Haagmans and that he reminded me of Richard Artschwager…..why?…. i stil do not know, because when your really compare and study both, there are so many differences to be discovered, but at a glance i still say… they  belong to the same family.

For me Fons Haagmans stands for two things. His catalogues published belong to the best dutch art catalogues published over the last 25 years and he is a typical artist of the south. Born and still living in Limburg, in the south of the Netherlands, he had his most important exhibitions at the Bonnefanten museum ( Maastricht) which catalogues are available at www.ftn-books.com

His art is something special and his works ( beside they are related to Artschwager ;-)) are strongly graphical and have a signature of their own.

nature, Letters/ fonts and numbers are a constant source of inspiration and worked out into joyful , intriguing works of art.

While studying some pictures of Haagmans i noticed some similarities with other artists:

left Fons Haagmans and on the right Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita (1928):

and left Fons Haagmans and on the right Julie de Graag( ca. 1915)

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Henry Miller and Pieter Brattinga

At one time Pieter Brattinga and Henry Miller spoke about the graphic designs and specially the “KWADRAAT bladen” Brattinga made. Miller responded that he would love to participate in the project and promised to make something special for the series….and so he did  in 1967. The Kwadraat series , printed by Steendrukkerij de Jong , published in 1967…extra mailing Written Language. A portfolio containing  4 watercolors by Henry Miller. 3 double paged ones and one title page. This rare and highly collectible publication is now available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Hamish Fulton (1946)

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An earlier blog on Fulton told the story i met Fulton and he graciously signed 20 copies of his book “100 walks” to be sold in the shop of the Gemeentemuseum, but this time i want to tell you about the special publications Fulton has made in the Netherlands. As far as i know there are 4 publications that are worth mentioning of which 3 are available at www.ftn-books.com.

  • the Art & Project publication is rare and very hard to find
  • the 100 walks is available at www.ftn-books.com
  • the van Abbemuseum / Hamish Fulton is available
  • the Stedelijk Museum Hamish Fulton publication from 1973 is the rarest of them all and…..available

These publications are real finds when you find one and true artist books which are highly collectable Fulton items. Hamish Fulton is becoming more an more important, s as long as these publications are available add them to your collection.

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Steven Aalders (1959) … and Irma Boom

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There are 3 reasons why i like the works by Steven Aalders.

  • First of all these are contructivist paintings which i think belong to the best produced in the Netherlands these days
  • Second . One of the best exhibitions held at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag was the Steven Aalders exhibition held in 2010
  • Third.. With the exhibition an Irma Boom designed catalogue was sold at the Gemeentemuseum shop and i think this is one of the best Irma Boom ordinary books she has made in the last 10 years. ( This book is available at www.ftn-books.com)

enough reasons to write this blog on Steven Aalders and recommend to follow this artist in the future, because his art is a little different from the other constructivist painter and deserves to be known outside the Netherlands too.

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Steven Aalders is well known for his exact painted constructive oil paintings, where he deals with and continues the concept of modernism of Piet Mondrian, De Stijl and American Minimal Art. At his first exhibition in Munich Aalders shows a new body of work on the issue “Red, Yellow and Blue”, where the areas of the color fields follow the “Golden Ration”. An extensive retrospective catalogue was published in 2010 for his solo exhibited at the Gemeentemuseum, Den Haag. Steven Aalders, born in 1959, lives and works in Amsterdam.