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Centraal Museum Utrecht and book design

Every decade in Dutch design and typography has its own specialties. In the Interbellum there was the photomontage, Isotype and typography by Zwart, Schuitema and Arntz. After WWII , the Stedelijk MUseum was a source of inspiration for its director Willem Sandberg who made beautiful catalogues for his exhibitions in the Stedelijk. In the late fifties and early sixties Benno Wissing and Wim Crouwel lead the way in design, followed by the Total Design agency who had a leading role in dutch design in the seventies and eighties, which brings us to the Nineties. Here it becomes interesting. The large museums in the Netherlands practically all had their contracts with dutch “house” designers. Walter Nikkels for the van Abbemuseum, Swip Stolk for the Groninger Museum and Gracia Lebbink for the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag were such designers. And then there is the Centraal Museum. They had a very consistent publication program in which design , specially sized/formatted books and bindings were very important. www.ftn-books.com has some excellent examples of these publications for sale . I knew of course of these publications, but when i rearranged some of my inventory, it struck me that these publications are and will become more important in the world of book design every year from now. These publications are still available at reasonable prices , but it will not be long before others will recognize the importance of these books too.

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Fernand Leger…wegbereider ( 1957)

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”

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More Leger and Stedelijk Museum publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Josua Reichert ( 1937 )… a printer

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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.

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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.

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Wim Crouwel..design of the Atelier series for the Stedelijk Museum.

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The focus of this blog is on the covers of a very impressive series Wim Crouwel designed for the Stedelijk Museum during a period of roughly 14 years in the Sixties and Seventies ( between 1965 and 1979). This series has the typical Crouwel layout and typography and beside these elements these designs are ” clean” without any frills ….just function. These were done when the Total Design agency had their “GOLDEN YEARS” and Wim Crouwel was one of the most important members of Total Design ( founded in 1963). This is a great series of 16 publications . Some with loose pages in portfolio, others in the shape of posters or just ordinary booklets, but all have the quality design Wim Crouwel stands for. Most of these publications are available at www.ftn-books.com and if your are looking for other Crouwel publications search for them at the same site.

 

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Agnes Martin …the Islands (2004)

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Yesterday i spoke about the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop and their excellent poster publications. Today i will present the very best of them. It is the magnificent Agnes Martin poster for the “the ISLANDS’ exhibition. Executed as an original silkscreen this poster is a true work of art.

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Publisher: Quadrat /Josef Albers Museum, 2011 Measurements: 31.4 x 24 inches Condition: mint-

This is a highly collectable and important poster> not only because the exhibition was important, but because of the printing technique this is a masterpiece.

Poster and exhibition catalogue are both available through www.ftn-books.com

catalogue design by Walter Nikkels

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Richard Long (1945)

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Hamish Fulton and Richard Long…. Two artist who i learned to appreciate in the time that Rudi Fuchs was director at the Gemeentemuseum. Long was nominated 4 times for the prestigious Turner price , but only won it once in 1989 for White Water Line.

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Since i first saw works and publications i have seen Richard Long his works on many occasions and one of the most recent ones was at the Guggenheim Bilbao museum. Each time the lines, circles and labyrinths look random, but this is not true. The placement of the stones and paint is strict and makes it free whitin the object , but it has very strict boundaries making it perfectly shaped. The way each work is created is described and laid down in drawings i a way that each work can be re-cretaed at any other place than it was first was created. It is somewhat the saem as with the walldrawings by Sol LeWitt who uses the same method . The art work is the sketch/drawing and materials and can be re-created anywhere as long as you have the original drawing belonging to the work.

What makes Richard Long stand out from other contemporary artists is that many of his publications are also artist books which hold beside the works, photography and word “sculptures” by Long and www.ftn-books.com has some of these titles available.

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Jean Gorin (1899-1981) and Wim Crouwel

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Jean Gorin , a typical 50’s /60’s artist has stayed a little obscure outside France, but this is undeserved. His art is influenced by Piet Mondrian and Constructivism , but has developed into an art typical of Jean Gorin.

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This was recognized by Willem Sandberg who gave Gorin a solo presentation in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 1967. Here it is getting more interesting from my point of view, because together with this exhibition one of the very very best Wim Crouwel designed catalogues ever was published. The catalogue typically Crouwel sized was partly printed in black and the other part of the text on the cover executed in embossed printing. Together with the design of the catalogue itself it has become an exquisite artist book on Jean Gorin which is still available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Karl Gerstner and some typographic designs from the 60s

A Book market visit yesterday….. and some lucky finds. There is of course the very rare Karl Gerstner: Typographisches Memorandum which i found in very good condition. The copy will be available from today at www.ftn-books.com

I believe that this is the only copy currently on the market

Here are the pictures of this excellent and rare publication by Karl Gerstner.

The other books were perhaps less spectacular and not as rare as the Gerstner book, but it struck me that some great typographical designs were made by the end of sixties and in the early seventies and these are no exception. Please take a look at the photograph and see the covers by some lesser known designers like Philip Luidl, Wim Strijbosch, Hans Barvelink, Louis Emmerik and Siegfried Odermatt. Not the household names you encounter frequently in this blog and not as rare as the Gerstner publications i now have in stock, but great quality designers who made some outstanding covers/books.

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Until the end of the month there is a special discount on the Gerstner publications i have in stock. Use GERSTNER10 to receive a 10% discount on the Gerstner publications. Valid until the 31st of March.

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Alexander Calder Stedelijk Museum catalogues by Sandberg

There are 3 Calder catalogues published by the Stedelijk Museum ( 1947,1959 and 1969). 2 of them are available through www.ftn-books.com. The first 2 were designed by Willem Sandberg and the last one by Wim Crouwel. Many colelctors like the 1959 catalogue , this because of the bald design and great prints on the cover, but for me the 1949 is the best, much more subtle and a catalogue that shows the design path Sandberg is going to take. Choice of paper, typography and illustrations make this the perfect early Sandberg publication.

 

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Josef Albers Museum / Quadrat Bottrop and its amazing poster publications.

It must have been in december some eight years ago that me, my wife and Ellis my sister in law decided to make a small detour to Bottrop after vsiting the Alsace region. When we arrived there were were impressed by the surroundings of the museum. a park and a sculpture garden next door to the museum building itself. Of coursse we came over there to see the Josef Albers paintings, but after the visit we started to see what wonderful items the bookshop was selling. Among them….posters, special prints and Josef Albers furniture.

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I bought the posters , because they were there for sale in all sorts of appearances. Specila prints, silks screened, signed and even limited editions and they were not exported or could not be ordered only bought on site. That is the reason why we returned one year later and i bought more of them. Making them a substantial part of my inventory. Most of them are sold out now, but i am fortunate to be able to offer them. These are among the very best exhibition poster sin the world by some of the grewatest names in Art today. The posters i bought are available at www.ftn-books.com…just search for Albers or Bottrop.