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chateau Mouton Rothschild…the labels

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The idea originated in 1924 when Jean Carlu was invited to design the label for the Mouton Rothschild 1924 it took another 21 years before the series really was launched, but since 1945, every label of the famous chateuau Mouton Rothschild was designed by a contemporary artist. They are entirely free, depending on their own ideas, to take their inspiratrion from the theme of the vine, from the pleasure of drinking, from the symbol of the ram or simple from a particular concept of Mouton. All artists to date have accepted these terms. Since 1974 the choice of painters approached by Mouton is done by the Baron and in later years by Philippine his daughter. The label design is an honor and the recognition of being one of the great names in Modern Art. among the artists are the absolute greatest names in Modern Art. Warhol, Picasso, Steinberg, Haring and Georg Baselitz for which presentation this catalogue was published in 1992. Their payment? ….it is said that there is no payment except they receive their weight in wine.

available at ww.ftn-books.com

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Bob Colacello (1947)

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He was considered as the right hand of Andy Warhol. Always present and his camera ready to take pictures. Possibly Colacello captured most of Andy Warhol private life in the Eighties. http://www.ftn-books.com has the invitation for the 1990 Mary Boone exhibition now for sale at http://www.ftn-books.com

 

The Guardian had a few years ago an excellent article on Colacello which i would like to point out in this blog: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/may/07/i-wasnt-too-obvious-how-bob-colacello-captured-candid-celebrities

As editor of Andy Warhol’s Interview from 1971 to 1983, Bob Colacello, was perfectly placed to record the scene of the wild and glamorous Golden Age when every night was a party night and such distinctions as uptown and downtown, gay and straight, black and white were momentarily cast aside.

Raised in New York, Colacello studied International Affairs at Georgetown University and film criticism at Columbia University before beginning his writing career in 1969 publishing film reviews for the Village Voice. Colacello caught Andy Warhol’s attention when he reviewed Warhol’s Trash, labeling it ‘a great Roman Catholic masterpiece’. Warhol and Paul Morrissey approached Colacello to write for Interview Magazine, and within six months he was made editor of the magazine. For the next twelve years, Colacello remained directly involved in all aspects of life and business at The Factory.

Colacello’s photographs document the insider’s view of decade of excess between the end of the Vietnam War and the advent of AIDs. His monthly “Out” column was a diary of the frenetic social life that took him from art openings to movie premieres, from cocktail parties to dinner parties, from charity balls to after-hours clubs, often all in the course of a single evening.

Colacello began to include pictures in his column in 1973 when Swiss art dealer Thomas Ammann gave him one of the first miniature 35-mm cameras to come on the market, a black plastic Minox small enough to hide in his jacket pocket. His pictures have an immediacy, a veracity, and an aesthetic that can only be found in the middle of the action. With his stealth camera and his ‘accidental style’, Colacello captured subjects including Diana Vreeland, Jack Nicholson, Raquel Welch, Mick Jagger, Yves Saint Laurent, Nan Kempner, Gloria Swanson, Anita Loos, Willy Brandt, Joseph Beuys, Robert Rauschenberg, Truman Capote, Halston, Studio 54’s Steve Rubell, Egon von Furstenberg and Tina Chow. His images bring to life a carefree but reckless moment in history when social mobility and personal expression were played out to the limits

Bob Colacello joined Vanity Fair as a contributing editor in 1984 and has been a special correspondent since 1993.

 

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An Andy Warhol invitation card, 2005

This invitation card is now available at http://www.ftn-books.com and is the first from a number of very special items i acquired. Among them, invitations for Rainer, Beuys, Förg, Fulron, Long, Judd and some sketches by Westerik. Most dating from the time that Rudi Fuchs was director for the Haags Gemeentemuseum. This is an exception but from the same collection and one of the few Warhol invitations that is now on the market.

warhol inv cowboy c

 

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the early Andy Warhol (1928-1987)

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Andy Warhol is known for his Pop Art and Factory years mostly, but at one time there was an early Andy Warhol . An artist who tried to survivve by taking up illustration jobs and what i personally like about these years is that his art is more poetic, you can even call it “sweet”. Cats, boots, lace everything that was in later years not used as an art object you can find in these early years.

Perhaps artistically these are not the strongest years of Warhol as an artist  and certainly not the most appreciated, but his drawings are very detailed and in some cases amazing. The cats and shoes are lovely, but for me nothing out of the ordinary. But how about these 2 heads…one a detailed pen drawing the other almost the saem but filled in with gold leaf, making it a spectacular drawing and a drawing to admire.

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There are not many books on these early years available, but there is one i can truly recommend. It is a german catalogue for an exhibition held in 2000 in the Hamburger Hof, where the Marx collcetion of early Warhol was presented. The book is availabel at www.ftn-books.com

warhol marx

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Alice Neel (1900-1984)

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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.

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BMW (Jeff Koons) and art cars

 

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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

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Martial Raysse (1936)

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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.

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At a more affordable level the excellent Stedelijk Museum catalogue designed by Wim Crouwel is available at http://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

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Art prices… gallery versus auction

auke de vries gele labels

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.

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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.

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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.

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Wim Crouwel / Total Design- 20 jaar verzamelen / Stedelijk Museum, 1984

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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

20 jaar verzamelen sm

 

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Mel Ramos ( 1935 )

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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