Until a few years ago the works by Alice Neel were not known outside a small circle of admirers. Among them director Rudi Fuchs and some curators from duthc Modern Art museums. the result a breathtaking exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in 2017. Her works remind me of Georg Grosz his very best works.
Her importance startded to grow among a small circle of admirers in the Sixties, because in the early 60s Neel moved to the more prosperous Upper West Side of New York, where her subjects began to include influential curators, art critics and dealers. At the same time, she became interested in the subcultures that were beginning to lay claim to their position in society around this time. Thanks to her friendship with Andy Warhol, she met various gays and transsexuals, including Jackie Curtis (inspiration for Lou Reed’s song Walk on the Wild Side). Neel’s portraits of Curtis and of ‘liberated’ women contributed to the public acceptance of such subcultures. In this respect, her oeuvre includes a genre familiar to us from the world of photography – for example, that of Diane Arbus – but unique in painting. By the end of her life, Alice Neel had created a body of portraits that, taken together, represented a cross-section of 20th-century American society.
Alice Neel was a figurative painter at a time when the art world was dominated first by Abstract Expressionism and later by Minimal Art and Pop Art. Figurative painting was regarded as a thing of the past. Indeed, in the 1960s and ’70s painting itself was declared dead. Although she was well aware of contemporary trends, Neel chose to pursue a path diametrically opposed to them. Consequently, her life was a constant struggle for artistic recognition. She did not achieve broader recognition until the 1970s, and then partly due to the women’s liberation movement. In the United States she is now ranked as one of the most important figurative painters of the 20th century, alongside Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon. In Europe, interest in her work has increased sharply in recent years and this exhibition can be seen as the culmination of her posthumous artistic breakthrough on this side of the Atlantic.
I love cars and really appreciate when a car has a beautiful design and a futuristic technique, but if there is one car make that i personally truly detest it is BMW. It not the cars that i think are detestable but more the drivers who drive a BMW. The cars have a fairly good designed exterior and a beautiful “top in class” interior, but the drivers are arguably the worst there ar on the road. In general they think they are invincible and superior to any other driver, drive to fast and are rude in traffic. That said … there is an aspect to BMW i like instead. The BMW company has a large art collection and because they value art, famous artists are invited to decorate their cars. Because the car itself represents the design of an era , the invited artist can enhance such a design. In the Netherlands a BMW was decorated by Herman Brood, but the factory BMW art program is from another level.
The best modern artists are invited to make the most spectacular designs. Among them….the late Andy Warhol and more recently Jeff Koons who worked on several of the latest BMW cars.
There are other car manufacturers that have a comparable program, but the quality of the BWW art program stands out from the rest. There is a nice book on cars and art available at www.ftn-books.com
Martial Raysse, 82 years of age and still going strong, but his works have definitely changed. They have become Mythological inspired and stand far from the Pop Art he made in the sixties when his works and art became known together with other beginning artists.
In October 1960 he founded together with Yves Klein, Arman, Spoerri, Tinguely and Villegle de artist group NOUVEAUX REALISTES . They tried to approach reality in a new and avant garde way and were seen as the french equivalent of the Pop Art mouvement. Martial Raysse worked like Warhol with silkscreens contrasting colors and added Neon to his paintings, making them instantly recognizable and appealing.
Another aspect of his art was that his paintings were not flat, but had in many cases a 3D addition. A rope, box or the mentioned neon gives the painting literally several layers. His 60’s adn early Seventies are among the best Pop Art paintings produced and fetch extremely high prices at auction. recently one of his paintings fetched a staggering 4 Million.
At a more affordable level the excellent Stedelijk Museum catalogue designed by Wim Crouwel is available at www.ftn-books.com . It has a special Raysse designed cover and even the use of colors ( out and inside ) is typical Raysse. Available at www.ftn-books.com
Today i added to my inventory a book by Auke de Vries for his Museum Wiesbaden exhibition from 1990. i knew the title and had sold copies before, but what made this one special is that on ca. 10 of the pages yellow post-it’s were fixed with gallery prices in guilders. I leafed through the book and was surprised to find the prices to be as steep as 50.000 guilders. It was not long ago that i attended 2 auctions where several small and larger sculptures by Auke de Vries were sold , fetching prices between euro 2500 and 4000 for a larger sculpture.
I compared these with the 1990 gallery prices within the Wiesbaden catalogue and found that prices had devaluated with over 60% when compared with the actual auction prices including premium in 2017. Of course the gallery fees are between 40 and 50%, but when you consider that money has devaluated too in these past two and a half decades the devaluation of Modern Art of a very good artist like Auke de Vries is over 80% compared with the original gallery price. Should i then still buy art?……YES! because you can have tremendous pleasure from it. You search for and find good art and enjoy it at home when you bought or rent it and yes… you support the artist with your buy, but if you ask me , should i buy art as an investment? my advise would be …be careful for the artist you select, because most of them will not be worth very much after a few decades.
But when you are patient, that means a period of 20+ years, you will discover that works by the artist you admire start to appear at auction and are much more affordable and even can be bought by most collectors for as little as a few hundred euro. I can give you an example of a great Arie van Geest which recently was added to our collection for an extremely fair amount.
You only learn of the auction records by artist like Warhol, Koons and Hirst, but you can ask yourself…are these works by these artists really that special or are they a marketing product… a true hype? if i did not know who the artist is and did not know the value of a work …would i buy it ? In the case of Auke de Vries i personally would do so at the price level that i recently experienced at auction, but for the prices in the Wiesbaden catalogue i would “pass”. Art should not be bought as an investment and i dare say that the great collectors in the world never have bought art for its value, but because they admire the artist and his or her works and you should do the same, because there is still some great art to be found and bought at fair prices. www.ftn-blog.com and www.ftn-books.com have art for sale which is published in edition and is still affordable.
Followers of this blog know of my special interest in the publications of the Stedelijk Museum. I have many titles avaialable and ftn-books.com is one of the first sources that is consulted when it comes to publications of and on the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Yet…. one learns every day, even when you have so many catalogues by the Stedelijk Museum available as i do. It has been years ago that i last saw this catalogue which was published by the Stedelijk in 1984 which gives the best and complete overview of their collecting in the period 1963-1984.
Why is this important? Personally i think that this is the period in which the SM made their best and most important purchases. How about important acquisitions like the ones by Kelly, Dubuffet, LeWitt, de Kooning , Mangold , Lichtenstein and Warhol. Just a few names that belong to the most famous ones, but among the hundreds of these acquisitions there is so much quality art acquired that only with these acquisitions one can fill an entire collection and become with this collection one of the most important Modern Art Museums in the world. The book was compiled by Joosten and designed by Total Design/ Wim Crouwel, which makes it even more worthwhile collecting . It is now available at www.ftn-book.com
Mel Ramos made hyperrealistic paintings , but if i had to decide what kind of artist he was , i would rather say he was first and foremost a Pop Art artist.
Ramos is best known for his paintings of superheroes and voluptuous female nudes emerging from cornstalks or Chiquita bananas, popping up from candy wrappers or lounging in martini glasses.
Ramos was among the first wave of Pop Art artists who gained recognition for their art. His art was hidden for a long time for us dutch. No publications were available and the nude paintings/illustrations we had in magazines over here were practically all done by Alberto Vargas, the famous Playboy illustrator, but none by Mel Ramos
Ramos received his first important recognition in the early 1960s; since 1959 he has participated in more than 120 group shows. Along with Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, he was one of the first artists to do paintings of images from comic books, and works of the three were exhibited together at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1963. Along with Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, Tom Wesselman and Wayne Thiebaud, Ramos produced art works that celebrated aspects of popular culture as represented in mass media. His paintings have been shown in major exhibitions of Pop art in the U.S. and in Europe, and reproduced in books, catalogs, and periodicals throughout the world.
PS. i started to write this blog knowing for sure i had a great publication on Ramos in my stock, but unfortunately it was sold some years ago and it is not available any longer at www.ftn-books.com
This blog is how i experience books and art and what i read about them and this is certainly an article i want to share with you. The guardian did an excellent article on Basquiat and his Fahion style/ A style which looks random , but was a well thought out way of dressing… Hooray for the Guardian. Here is the article and do not forget that www.ftn-books.com has some nice titles on Jean-Michel Basquiat.
There’s an image of Jean-Michel Basquiat on the cover of the New York Times magazine from 1985. The photo is by Lizzie Himmel; the headline New Art, New Money. The artist, wearing a dark Giorgio Armani suit, white shirt and tie, leans back in a chair, one bare foot on the floor, the other up on a chair. The combination of the suit and the bare feet is typical of the way Basquiat defined his own image; always with an unconventional bent.
I’ve obsessed over his style when standing in front of Hollywood Africans, a 1983 work from a series where the images relate to stereotypes of African Americans in the entertainment business. It is a banger of a painting and will form part of Basquiat: Boom for Real, a retrospective opening at the Barbican in London this month.
I have a longstanding interest in the way artists dress, from Picasso to Hockney, Georgia O’Keeffe to Robert Rauschenberg, and I think their wardrobes exert as powerful an influence on mainstream fashion as those of any rock or Hollywood stars. These artists carved out instantly recognisable uniforms: clothes that symbolise the same singular point of view as their greatest works, usually with the sense of complete ease that is the holy grail of true style.
Basquiat’s wardrobe was distinctive, whether he was in mismatched blazer and trousers with striped shirt and clashing tie, or patterned shirt with a leather jacket pushed off his shoulders. He was perhaps most recognisable in his paint-splattered Armani suits. “I loved the fact that he chose to wear Armani. And loved even more that he painted in my suits,” Giorgio Armani says. “I design clothes to be worn, for people to live in, and he certainly did!”
In many ways, this bricolage approach to clothing is akin to the way he created his art. “His work was a mysterious combination of elements – text and colour, historical reference, abstraction and figurative techniques,” Armani says. “In his life, he also mashed up creative activities – he was a graffiti artist, a musician, an actor, a maker of great artworks. This eclecticism made him a mysterious and unconventional man. That mix made him stand out.”
“He was an incredibly stylish artist,” says Barbican curator Eleanor Nairne. “He was very playful about the performative aspects of identity.” He was also aware of the “renewed fixation on celebrity” that coincided with the art boom of the 80s, particularly in New York. He famously appeared in Blondie’s Rapture video, dated Madonna and befriended Andy Warhol.
Cathleen McGuigan, who wrote that 1985 New York Times feature, recounts Basquiat at the hip Manhattan hangout Mr Chow’s, drinking kir royal and chatting to Keith Haring while Warhol dined with Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran nearby. “He attracted the attention of Warhol and Bowie, so was endorsed by those who had already achieved that rare style-icon status,” Armani says. “And he had a very unique look – he had hair as distinctive as Warhol’s and wore suits in a way as stylish and relaxed as Bowie.”
Basquiat went on to model in a 1987 Comme des Garçons show wearing a pale blue suit, black buckle sandals, white shirt and white bow tie. Robert Johnston, style director at British GQ, describes Basquiat’s style as “a work of art in itself” and adds: “While meaning no disrespect to his talent, it is hard to imagine he would have taken New York so much by storm if he’d looked more like Francis Bacon.”
Basquiat’s influence on menswear is still felt today. While other icons have referenced his style – Kanye West sported a T-shirt bearing his portrait, Frank Ocean namechecked him in lyrics by Jay-Z, who dressed as him for a Halloween party – there is a more direct effect on fashion. There have been collaborations, via his estate, with the likes of Reebok and Supreme. There’s a photo of Basquiat wearing an Adidas T-shirt with a pinstripe suit which is a template for how the younger generation approach the idea of tailoring. At the S/S 18 shows in Milan, wonky ties with suiting at Marni made me jot down “Basquiat” in my notebook. And with the Barbican show his influence will spread. “The way Basquiat mixed classic tailoring with a downtown nonchalance fits the mood in menswear,” says Jason Hughes, fashion editor of Wallpaper*. “A refined suit worn with an unironed shirt, skewwhiff tie and beaten-up sneakers. The fact that he painted in those suits feels slightly anarchic and nonconformist. I want to wear a suit like that.”
This article appears in the autumn/winter 2017 edition of The Fashion, the Guardian and the Observer’s biannual fashion supplement
The year is 2000 and Queen Beatrix is invited as a guest curator for the exhibition DE VOORSTELLING to be held in the Stedelijk Paleis op de Dam . The place where each year the Koninklijke Subsidie voor de Vrije Schilderkunst is presented . Her “right hand” is no less than Rudi Fuchs the director at the Stedelijk Museum who helps the Queen with her choices and presentation.
I am not a great fan of our Royals, but i always have had great respect for Queen Beatrix and her love for the arts and i am convinced that she is very knowledgable about art, art techniques and with that background could make some great choices for her collection. ( a.o. Eja Siepman van den Berg and Andre Volten ). This time it was for real and one could see her personal dutch favorites within the exhibition. To accompany the exhibition a more than nice catalogue was published which is available at www.ftn-books.com.
A recent 4 day visit to France , the Alsace region , brought us not only 3 wonderful dinners at the Auberge Frankenbourg,
but also made us visit the Museum Würth in Erstein. Some 30 kilometers from the place we stayed and 15 Km from Strasbourg. The museum located behind the “factory” of Würth, does not look like the museum one knows. Modern museum like building, but what struck me most was that it more looked like a storage with some exhibition facilities. The art itself was “my cup of tea” . Modern art with a focus on the last 50 years, but Linda did not like it at all. I thought the museum had some “A” quality art, but at the same time i think that this private collection holds the great and famous names, but hardly has any personal approach to art and collection looks like a random selected catalogue of the great names in todays Modern Art. Still there were 3 items i think were very special. First there was a portrait of a woman by Walter Becker.
in which the position of the legs and arms made it almost a constructivist painting. Secondly Secondly the statue by Mimmo Paladino. and thirdly there was a large Andy Warhol drawing. A design /sketch for a large silkscreen in which the outline of the picture could clearly be seen.
I never had seen one of these before which made the visit special enough. Würth has some 10 locations with museums spread all over Europe, including one in Den Bosch in the Netherlands which we shall visit in the near future.
Ps. How about the similarities between the portraits by Rosemin Hendriks and Andy Warhol. Perhaps Warhol has been a source of inspiration?
There are some nice publications on Becker, Warhol and Palladino availabel at www.ftn-books.com
His claim to fame was that Nat Finkelstein was the house photographer of the FACTORY. The complex which housed the studios of Andy Warhol.
(The Factory was Andy Warhol’s New York City studio, which had three different locations between 1962 and 1984. The original Factory was on the fifth floor at 231 East 47th Street, in Midtown Manhattan. The rent was one hundred dollars per year. Warhol left in 1967 when the building was scheduled to be torn down to make way for an apartment building. He then relocated his studio to the sixth floor of the Decker Building at 33 Union Square West near the corner of East 16th Street, where he was shot in 1968 by Valerie Solanas. The Factory was revamped and remained there until 1973. It moved to 860 Broadway at the north end of Union Square. Although this space was much larger, not much filmmaking took place there. In 1984 Warhol moved his remaining ventures, no longer including filming, to 22 East 33rd Street, a conventional office building)
In September 1962 Finkelstein was commissioned by Pageant magazine to do an article on the emerging Pop Art movement. The article was titled “What happens at a Happening?” it covered a Claes Oldenburg “happening” in Greenwich Village and was a break that would define his future. Two years later, while attending a party at the Factory, Finkelstein met Warhol, who had seen his photographs of Oldenburg’s “happening” in Pageant. Finkelstein offered his services as a photographer to the artist, and for the next three years he was a constant presence at the Factory. His iconic images of the include subjects such as the Velvet Underground performing live, Marcel Duchamp, Bob Dylan, Edie Sedgwick, Salvador Dalí, and Allen Ginsberg.
There are some nice Finkelstein and Warhol publications available at www.ftn-books.com
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