Last week Koos and I were in Berlin to look at the work of the German impressionist painter Max Liebermann (1847-1935)
We're asked to make a picturebook about him and his work for the beautiful series of children's artbooks published by the Gemeentemuseum The Hague and Leopold publishers.
This book, the 19th in the series already, will be published next spring, together with the exhibition of Liebermann's work at the Gemeentemuseum.
Liebermann spent a lot of time in Holland, painting on the coast, but also in Amsterdam and Laren for instance. These were the works we wanted to see, but we also visited his villa on the Wannsee, now a museum with a beautifully restored garden, see above.
Definitely worth the visit.
And now it's time to start the real work!
The Scottish painter James Cowie (1886-1956) also worked as a teacher, and portrayed many of his students.
The sketches he did beforehand, in pencil and watercolor, are beautiful also, just look at the boy in the middle of the top row, and the to girls on the right.
My favorite Cowie painting has to be 'The two schoolgirls', top left.
What is it they are holding? Are they smocks, to put on when they themselves will paint?
Maybe it's their needlework?
The girls look a bit nonplussed, as if they don't understand why someone would want to paint them.
The lady with the yellow glove however, is posing very confidently.
Lately I have noticed the work of Belgian photographer Harry Gruyaert a lot on Pinterest.
Gruyaert was born in Antwerp in 1941, and started work as a photographer in the 60's.
He has been working for Magnum since the 80's.
Why hadn't I noticed his work before? It is absolutely beautiful!
The pictures glow with a dramatic light, like an old master, and the colors are fantastic.
What a joy.
The illustrations by the Belgian artist Kaatje Vermeire (1981) intrigue me.
They have realistic, almost photographic elements, but a dreamy atmosphere.
I'm intrigued also by how they are made: I know an etchingpress is involved, but how much is printed, and what is painted and drawn on top of that, I can't quite see.
Beautiful work, artistic, but also as a craft.
The first time I visited the Leopold Museum in Vienna, I walked right into the portrait above left. I believe it was at the top of the stairs: Girl in a red dress, by the Austrian artist Ferdinand Andri (1871-1956)
It is an amazing picture that seems to consist of only two colors. The girl, who perhaps isn't a classic beauty, looks at you calmly, patiently.
When we visited Vienna again earlier this year, I was looking forward to seeing her again, but the picture was gone! It was in store, and I couldn't even find a picture of it in the museum shop.
The kind lady at the till rummaged through the whole storeroom for me and came up with a box of postcards of it, of which I bought a dozen or so.
This is the work of the Polish artist/illustrator Joanna Concejo (1971)
I find it beautiful and intriguing. Not only can she draw 'after nature' beautifully, she layers it with different 'realities', as she uses color and black-and-white drawing intermingled in a beautiful way.
I am slightly jealous!
Yesterday I went to Amsterdam, to Rubinstein publishers, to hand in the illustrations to our latest project: Roltrap naar de maan (escalator to the moon) a book and cd of children's songs by Klein Orkest, who were a popular band here in Holland.
They will be touring again this autumn, when the book will also be published.
Some years ago, as I was walking in the Spanish Basque country, I visited a beautiful small museum that we came across: the former house of the painter Ignacio Zuloaga (1870-1945) in Zumaia.
I had never heard of him till then, and there was not much of his own work on show, but I came across his work in other museums later.
The work is very 'Spanish': a bit heavy, like Goya and Vélazquez.
Maybe it's because it's holiday time, that I had to think of it now..
There are artists that I like the drawings better of than the paintings. I already confessed once that I feel that way about Rembrandt, and Ingres (1780-1867) is another such artist.
His portrait drawings are an inspiration.
Such beautiful drawings! Such lively people!
I could look at these for hours.
I'm hard at work finishing a new picturebook based on an lp (!) with children's songs by Dutch band Klein Orkest, called Roltrap naar de maan (escalator to the moon)
The book will include a cd ofcourse!
Above here you see the illustration I did for a song called De step (the scooter)
The book will be published by Rubinstein publishers, Amsterdam this fall.