Some combinations are hard to beat and this one is surely a classic. Wim Crouwel was not yet promoted to the position of designer of the catalogues of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and had just left the van Abbemuseum with his designs. In the in between period he did some free lance works and one of these was the catalogue he designed for the H.N.Werkman exhibition of 1964 in the Groninger Museum and this catalogue became the standard for all his future designs. He chose a slim sized catalogue, but within the book he used some of the papers which he had used in the van Abbemuseum catalogues and would use again for the Stedelijk Museum catalogues. Making it simple but still complex.
On the cover a bold and typical Werkman print which emphasized the graphic quality of the catalogue. The back…. a typical red with clear black and white lettering. This is in my opinion one of the very best graphic designs ever made in the Netherlands and i am proud to still have a copy for sale of this beautiful and splendid Wim Crouwel catalogue.
Last weeks i presented the GEDRUKT IN JAPAN catalogue from the Stedelijk Museum as one of the best from the sixties by Wim Crouwel.
Now there is another one which is far less known, extremely rare and a typical Wim Crouwel design. Year of publications is 1977. A publication year in which Wim Crouwel was part of the Total Design agency and worked ao. together with Daphne Duyvelshof. The catalogue was commissioned by an institution that wanted to present contemporary Hungarian art in The Netherlands. From the names presented only a few have become popular in Modern Art. Among them Dora Maurer who had her exhibitions all over Europe since, but most of them stayed rather obscure names in art.
The catalogue however has become important because of the design. A very nice “construction ” of horizantal and vertical letter. The colors used are from the Hungarian national flag, making it immediately clear what the subject is about. The catalogue and Maurer print areavailable at www.ftn-books.com
Wim Crouwel is a regular name appearing in my blog. This is not only because i have many titles available at www.ftn-books.com, but mainly because i consider Wim Crouwel the most important graphic designer from last century. There are some that are important too and i think of Gerstner and Sandberg, but Wim Crouwel is in my opnion the absolute best. Wim Crouwel made some 200+ designs between 1960 and 1980 for the Stedelijk Museum, Among them posters, catalogues an folders and many have become iconic for graphic design in the Sixties. There was of course the VORMGEVERS catalogue which is in high demand and extremely hard to find, but the one i would like to discuss now is the GEDRUKT IN JAPAN catalogue, which has become rare and expensive too. It is of great graphici quality and although it is only 20 pages, for me it is the summit in design from the sixties. A simple but highly effective lay out. The use of Magenta on the front . The SM logo and underneath a very very fine line with below it one of the logo’s for the Osaka Art Festival . Published in 1967 with no. 407……it is perfection on the 20 pages.
1971 is the year the Stuyvesant Stichting existed 10 years and invited Wim Crouwel for their yearly publication. They had done so on other occasions and Crouwel was their preferred designer. The design in 1971, silver fond, blind printing on the cover and a small font above the middle line.
What strikes me is that in its simplicity and looking much alike the Zero exhibition catalogues form the late Sixties he had done for the Stedelijk Museum. Crouwel found a way to make it special and typically a Wim Crouwel design. The size is familiar. the lay out of the pages too, but the cover is different. He uses a small font for the STUYVESANT STICHTING in a very delicate light blue color on a silver printed fond. This was not the easiest of prints jobs , because beside the silver fond a blind printed title in the cover had to be made. The printer Lecturis did a perfect job with this exclusive publication. It has taken me 15 years to finally find a copy of this highly collectable Wim Crouwel designed book, but now it is for sale at www.ftn-books.com. I now hope it will not take me another 15 years to find the next copy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.