Sunday, October 28, 2012

How to Collect Museum Catalogues From the Netherlands

Collecting Crouwel, Sanberg and Wissing is not only valuable but fun too!

How to start your collection of (dutch) MUSEUM catalogues from the most important designers from last century.


- focus on the great names in dutch typography and layout. Sandberg, Crouwel, Piet Zwart, Benno Wissing and Paul Schuitema are all worldwide known for their quality.
- always look at the quality of the item offered. Pristine items are practically non existent, but mint can be found. Better to pay a few dollars extra than to collect an item which is less perfect.
- Larger museums have always been in a position to commission their best catalogues to the best designers.
- The edition size is also important and makes a publication even more wanted than when the edition is small. Please note that many Museum publications are from edition sizes between 500 and 1700 which are small already. You can expect that many of these will be destroyed in the 50 years that they were shelved and only a small number survived.
- Early catalogues for startin, but now famous artists, are sought after and deserve a premium.
- signed copies are even more collectable and sometimes they are signed and numbered from a special edition which makes them more scarce and highly collectable.

- Then there is what I call "a secret ingredient" which in many cases is not recognised by others. These great designers included in their designs sometimes original art. Silkscreens were used as covers. Sometimes a special inlay with lithography, etching or silkscreen was inserted. In the best cases these were signed which makes them outright valuable, but can in most cases be had at a fraction of the price of an original work of art. (examples are Escher, Miro, Calder and Arp for their Stedelijk Museum catalogues and other publications).

As noted before the larger museums commissioned their best catalogues to the best designers.
First you must focus in these designers who worked with the largest museums in the Netherlands.


Probably the most important and well known is Willem Sandberg. Director and designer for the Stedelijk Museum in the 50's and early 60's. Known for his bold use of lettering and recognisable lay out with thorn letters used as illustrations. Many of the designed Sandberg catalogues have become classics.

About 350 catalogues were designed for the Stedelijk Museum by Sandberg

Secondly there is Wim Crouwel, who was responsible for many catalogues from the sixties and seventies and later become director of the Museum Boymans van Beuningen. He designed some 300 catalogues for the Stedelijk Museum.

In Rotterdam there was also Benno Wissing who later started with Wim Crouwel Total Design. There are some similarities between Sandberg and early Wissing but both have a style of their own.

Piet Zwart and Paul Schuitema are known for their lay outs with photo collage and are highly collectable too.


The largest museum in the Netherlands are:

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, published ca. 1100 catalogues over 60 years. Designers were Sandberg, Piet Zwart and Wim Crouwel

Museum Boymans van Beuningen. Main designers were Benno Wissing and 3VO

Haags Gemeentemuseum. Published ca. 600 catalogues over 60 years. Designers were Foppe, Janssen, Lebbink ao.

Van Abbemuseum. Is the small museum with the great designers. Wim Crouwel worked for them in his early days, but do not forget Jan van Toorn who is also know for his seventies exhibition designs.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Photography Book Review - Understanding Exposure

Understanding Exposure has been written with the digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera novice in mind who will benefit from Bryan Petersen's easy style of prose, the simple non-technical explanations, and the wealth of associated photographs to illustrate the point. Intermediate or more experienced photographers will be able to hone their skills reading about special techniques for more difficult lighting conditions such as capturing snow or low level lighting or night scenes, and the use of polarizing and neutral density filters, multiple exposures and High Dynamic Range (HDR) shots. However, please note that the book is not particularly useful for point and shoot cameras.
In his introduction, Bryan Petersen makes note of the fact that the modern DSLR camera has so many controls and modes that even an experienced photographer can become confused. You could use the camera's auto settings and take perfectly good photographs but you will never be able to explain how you achieved that particular result. He suggests the only way to fully understand exposure on a modern DSLR camera is to use the Manual Mode and to take control of the settings yourself, or to "fly solo".
While he defines exposure traditionally and technically, I achieved a far greater understanding from his "Photographic Triangle" explanation of the basic concept of the interaction of aperture, shutter speed and ISO. This for me is the highlight of the book and cuts through most of the confusing technical jargon so often associated with books about photography. Additionally, His "Heart of the Triangle: The Light Meter" example of obtaining water through a kitchen faucet as it explains the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO, illustrates very simply the concept of exposure.
Not only does he provide simple explanations of terms and concepts, there are also exercises at the end of each chapter for you to help complete your understanding.
There have been three editions of this book written by Bryan Petersen: 1990, 2004 and more recently, 2010. While there have been marked advances in camera technology during the twenty years between editions, it is fair to say that the overwhelming message about the "Photographic Triangle" remains true. It is by far the simplest explanation of exposure that you will ever read and the easiest to understand. Once you embrace the concepts of the Manual Mode on your DSLR and apply Bryan's explanation of exposure in any situation, the "light bulb" moment will happen for you and remain forever more. I do recommend though that you revisit the book from time to time because each time I heave reread his book, I have gleaned yet another kernel of knowledge from it. I consider it to be one of the best books written about this subject and I recommend to anyone seeking to understand exposure and to produce perfect photos every time.

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Barcelona Enshrined - Antoni Gaudi - The Complete Architectural Works by Rainer Zerbst

Rainer Zerbst's book, Antoni Gaudí - The Complete Architectural Works, is just what it says, the complete works. Treated chronologically and in turn, each of the architect's major projects is reviewed, described and analysed. Copious illustrations allow the reader to appreciate the often fascinating -and usually fantastic - detail that Gaudí used. The text, elaborate, itself florid in its description, conveys not only the colour and the shape of Gaudí's work, but also its intent and derivation.

Though it concentrates on the buildings, their features, their detail and their innovations, Rainer Zerbst's book does deal quite adequately with Gaudí's background and inspiration, though it does not attempt to be a biography. It may come as a surprise to many readers that it was England and English art that provided the young architect with his model. The theories of Ruskin advised a return to direct contact with nature. The Pre-Raphaelites resurrected both the Gothic and colour, and also employed minute detail throughout a work rather than invite total concentration on a single, artificially-lit central subject. And then William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement provided the social and industrial model that aspired to put art at the centre of everyday life. Finally, and not least, it was the English tradition of the ornamental garden that inspired Gaudí's treatment of broader settings.

All of these influenced the young Gaudí. And at the time he was seen as a something of a radical. Later, when, if anything, the architect's style became more fluid and less self-conscious, he had already shaved off his beard and cut his hair in order to aspire to membership of the local establishment. In England, the once revolutionary Pre-Raphs had largely done the same.

In presenting Gaudí's woks chronologically, Rainer Zerbst is able to chart the development of the artist's style, both personal and professional. The reader can follow the development of a style, see how ideas came to maturity and then were re-used and re-applied. The reader can also clearly understand how Gaudí's work anticipates both Dalí and Miró, both in its content and its use of colour. Placing minor works together in a final chapter, however, has the feel of afterthought and does detract from the overall experience.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ebooks on Art Collections, Catalogs, Exhibitions and Color Theory

With the passage of time, electronic books are gaining immense popularity among people of all age groups. The reason behind is their easy availability on eBook stores, which also offer discounts to regular customers. Be it science, sports, history, law, communication or media, electronic books are available on almost all topics. Today, ebooks on art collections, catalogs, exhibitions are highly demanded as these provide an insight into the work done by different artists and their impact on society. These books also contain information about finished works that have not been collected by art collectors.

Exhibition 36 is one of the popular ebooks on art collections, catalogs, exhibitions that is written by Susan Tuttle. This book showcases the altered and repurposed art of 36 mixed-media artists. Through this book, readers will get to know the thoughts of various artists and the articles written by them. Some other electronic books on art collections, catalogs, exhibitions are Civilizing Rituals; Aesthetic Journalism: How to Inform Without Informing; Heritage, Museums and Galleries and New Museum Theory and Practise.

Documents of the 1913 Armory Show: The Electrifying Moment of Modern Art's American Debut contains original publications from the Armory Show (1913). Published by Hol Art Books, this book states how Armory Show changes the perception of American people about art. It also contains "A Layman's Views of an Art Exhibition", a popular essay by Theodore Roosevelt. Readers will also find the entire content of "For and Against: Views on the Infamous 1913 Armory Show" in this book.

Art and Its Publics: Museum Studies at the Millennium is an admired book, which contains various essays by museum professionals as well as academics. This book presents contemporary concerns for art and addresses issues related to museum community. Art and Its Publics: Museum Studies at the Millennium is written in an interesting manner and can be easily downloaded on Mac, Android, Windows, iPad, iphone and various other operating systems.

Colors are always an important part of the art and therefore color theory ebooks are also in huge demand. These book are very useful for beginners as these have important information about proper use of colors and their importance. Paint Along with Jerry Yarnell Learning Composition is a famous electronic book, which contains simple instructions for creating impressive compositions. Through this book, Jerry describes three different composition types, appropriate utilization of negative space and principles of flawless design. Some other books written on color theory are The Complete Color Harmony; Colour and Humanism: Colour Expression over History and Colro Design Workbook.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Best Photography Books

Most people regard books as a good companion. Whether you're an adult or student, you can find interesting books to satisfy your needs. These informative books are able to fill your mind with ideas and at times completely transform your way of life. Whether it is adventure, action, romance, art or photography, you can find books with any topics.

Many people are passionate about photography. A few of the titles for the well-known photography books are How to Shoot Great Photographs; An Illustrated Step-by-Step Guide; The Digital Photography Handbook, just to name a few.

In most cases simple digital photography books can offer you a myriad of information that will help you to master this art, such as lighting effects and also how you can improve your images using both genuine and artificial lighting. You can find a wide variety of these books on the market to select from, but you have to determine whether or not you should rent from a library or purchase them.

These days, you can easily download these books from reputable websites. But before doing this, you should check the reviews and forums to see what other photographers have to say about these books. Forums will help you to solve problems, find discussions about specific equipments and also learn about where and when events are taking place.

The best photography books will be the ones which addresses everything about digital photography. A good photography book must take you step-by-step and show how you can capture the best shots at different angles. These days, the digital photography industry is becoming extremely popular. As a result, you can find even more photography books written and published in recent times.

These types of books also provide the users with essential details that will help to make the best decision when shopping. By reading those books, it is possible to determine easily the type of camera that would suit your style and also what components you should know about while purchasing a camera. It's also possible to find several specialized subjects such as digital night photography; digital infra-red photography; digital portrait photography; digital black and white photography, and so on.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Origami Book Reviews

There are a number of origami books available which provide beautiful pictures, easy to follow guides and design ideas for all your origami decoration occasions. Origami books range from beginner origami difficulty with simple creations to advanced and expert design books incorporating mathematics and intricate detail into origami decoration production. To decide which book is best for you, here are my recommendations for which origami book you should choose depending on your skill and experience level:

Beginner - For beginners, the best origami book to get you started is the Absolute Beginner's Origami book by Nick Robinson. If online articles or other books with complex diagrams and confusing fold lines have previously deterred you from making origami decorations, then this is definitely the book for you. Featuring colour photos and a simple three step system, Absolute Beginner's Origami teaches even the most amateur of origami decoration makers to make some fantastic sculptures and models. The book can be purchased from Amazon with 20% off it's retail price, and is a great start for origami beginners.

Absolute Beginners Book
Intermediate -If you have some experience with making origami decorations, or want to challenge yourself with some trickier designs, then Ornamental Origami: Exploring 3D Geometric Designs is the book for you. Featuring beautiful colour images on glossy high quality pages, Ornamental Origami: Exploring 3D Geometric Designs has 40 projects for origami enthusiasts to create, with structured advice making creation as easy as possible. This book is best purchased off Amazon, where it can be picked up with a saving of over 10% on it's original price.

Ornamental Book
Advanced - If you are experienced with making origami decorations, and want to make some designs that really will impress and dazzle your friends and family, then Advanced Origami: An Artist's Guide to Performances in Paper is the book for you. This book goes beyond basic "how-to" origami guides, and looks into advanced techniques in origami paper and visionary art needed to make truly spectacular origami decorations. There are ten unique origami designs in the book which cannot be found elsewhere, with complete instructions, photographs and advice on advanced techniques such as wet folding. This book can be purchased for cheap on Amazon, with a 33% saving on it's RRP.

Advanced book
Expert - If you are a master of origami or want to become an expert in the art to produce spectacular origami decorations, then Origami Design Secrets: Mathematical Methods for an Ancient Art is the book for you. Origami Design Secrets is written by Robert J. Lang, one of the world's leading origami artists, and in the book you will learn to make your own unique and expert origami designs and origami sculptures. Techniques are explained in great detail using some fantastic diagrams, and include expert origami methods such as combining uniaxial bases, the circle/river method and tree theory. This expert origami book can be purchased most cheaply from Amazon, with a saving of 16% on it's standard price.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Creative Photo Book Ideas

Collecting and preserving photographs has been a favourite pastime with most people, young and old. Sometimes they get stuck with so many photos from various occasions and varying times in the past, they wonder how to put them all together coherently.

The most common and popular photo book themes include-

Baby Album - You could start your album with photos from various trimesters in your pregnancy and record your emotions. You could include ultrasounds and photos of the nursery too.

Family Holiday- Holiday pictures are best arranged chronologically, i.e. day-by-day. You could also theme them place- by-place, or you could simply put up your favourite pictures from your holidays and record what you liked most about them.

Graduation Day- You could make portrait portfolios of your friends and ask them to write something for you to give it the feel of a personalised slam book.

Wedding Album- A wedding is the most special and important day in a person's life. A picture tells a thousand words and your wedding album could tell your whole love story. You could start with the 'Proposal' and go on to add your engagement photos, bridal shower photos, wedding photos and honeymoon photos.

But here some not so common ideas that could also be fun and entertaining:

1. Pets and Animals- Pets are part of family too and deserve an album unto them. Your pet album could include the day you brought your pet home and how you decided on a name for him/her. You could also make a portfolio of your pet.

2. Sports and Hobbies- Sports never fails to thrill and exhilarate its fanatics. You could start with a 'Training Journal' and go on to add photos of your teams, your uniforms, your coaches and your favourite cheers.

3. Photo Cook Book- A way to a man's heart is his stomach, or so they say. So why not make an album to record that special dish you made for your loved one for the first time! You could also make an album of the first time your child was in the kitchen helping you or making something for you.

4. Family History Book- What better way to preserve your family heritage than a collection of photos creating your own family tree! You could go back as far as you would like and sometimes be amazed at how many people love you and care about you.

5. Road Trips- While on bikes, cars or hitchhiking on a truck, you will see many billboards, signboards and signals. Click them to create your own 'Highway' album.