Friday, July 19, 2019

Stories From Potato Country

Southwest of the capital of Belgium, Brussels, lies potato country; a place that the modern world seems to have passed by: endless potato fields, never-ending sloping hills and small villages rife with a stubbornness and superstition as living leftovers of a bygone age. This is the setting of one of the must-read Dutch graphic novels of 2013: Stories From Potato Country.
These heartrending tales from the countryside comprise several vignettes based upon the stories of real life people as told to artist Koenraad Tinel. Kornil, Kamiel, Eddy, Madeleine, Domien and Victor have all lived through hardship and disillusionment and where some keep on struggling, others simply resign themselves to the life fate has dealt them. 
From a gardener who lost a leg in WWII, to a disillusioned father who sees his children endlessly quibble for their inheritance, to a mother gently sloping towards the light from the window after her thrombosis, just like the hills of the landscape, everyone has their own tale (though losing one or more legs seems an uncomfortable recurring thread).

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Spirited Away

Spirited Away is a 2001 Japanese animated coming-of-age fantasy film.
Spirited Away tells the story of Chihiro Ogino, a moody 10-year-old girl who, while moving to a new neighbourhood, enters the world of Kami (spirits) of Japanese Shinto folklore.
After her parents are transformed into pigs by the witch Yubaba, Chihiro takes a job working in Yubaba's bathhouse to find a way to free herself and her parents and return to the human world.
In 2016, it was voted the fourth-best film of the 21st century as picked by 177 film critics from around the world, making it the highest-ranking animated film on the list. It was also named the second "Best Film of the 21st Century So Far" in 2017 by the New York Times.

Ootori-Sama is the cute and friendly bathhouse spirit, who wears a green beret made from a tree leaf.
Thanks Frans & David

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Group

The Group was a New Zealand based association of artists formed in reaction to the conservative art establishment. 
They were photographed in 1936 by member Olivia Spencer Bower, and included Rata Lovell-Smith (left), Ngaio Marsh (wearing beret), and Louise Henderson (right).

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Utuwai School

Schools for rural children were usually among the first buildings in country townships. 
From 1877 attendance at primary school was compulsory. These pupils, all clothed in smart garb including caps and berets, stand outside their schoolhouse at Utuwai, near Āpiti in northern Manawatū, New Zealand in 1903.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Baskemütze - Price Reduction

Prior to the new Franco-German stock coming in, all our Baskemütze have now temporarily been well reduced in price.
The Baskenmütze Classic is, as the name implies, a classic Basque Beret. Artisan production, perfect finishing and fitted with a very pleasant viscose lining. A most comfortable beret available in Black and Navy.
The Baskenmütze with external rim comes with a leatherette headband (similar to military style berets), fitted to an added rim of felted merino wool, lifting the beret slightly off the scalp. This makes for a very comfortable, light fit.

Both varieties come in Black and Navy, in sizes 56 - 61.   Now at $46.50 only!

Frances Hodgkins

Frances Hodgkins (1869–1947) is often regarded as New Zealand’s most significant expatriate modernist painter of the 20th century. The daughter of William Mathew Hodgkins (himself an artist), she was born in Dunedin but spent most of her artistic career in Europe and the United Kingdom.
Hodgkins’ early work has been described as influenced by ‘impressionistic concerns of evoking light, colour and atmosphere.’ In her formative years she tended to focus on familiar and domestic settings, working mainly in portraiture. From the late 1930s she began to explore new approaches in her use of iconography, colour, composition and style.

Still life: self-portrait is a decorative arrangement of the artist’s posessions: her beret, scarf, shoes and bag. Hodgkins avoids using her own features and instead integrates objects into a flattened abstract formula.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Playful Walking in Den Bosch

One way to discover the southern Dutch city of Den Bosch is through a walk with 'the Playful Walkers'. 
The Playful Walk in 's-Hertogenbosch is for groups of 12 people minimum. A unique playful city walk in which the "Ludieke Stadsgidsen" (Playful Guides) take you along the most beautiful places in Den Bosch.
Why the beret plays such a prominent role in these playful walks is a mystery to me though...

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Kees Scherer #2

 Street photographer in Arles, France, 1956
 Homeless in Paris, 1956
 London, 1959
 Lunch at Les Halles, Paris, 1953
Praying in London, 1961

Friday, July 12, 2019

Kees Scherer

Kees Scherer (1920 – 1993) was born at the Jordaan Quarter of Amsterdam (Netherlands).
As a boy, his most precious possession was a small Agfa photographic box-camera; the start of his career as a professional photographer.
After the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945, Kees started as a freelancer for newspapers and magazines. With his spectacular reports on the Great Flood of 1953 and the Hungarian Uprising in 1956, he worked his way up to the top of photojournalism.
Together with his friend and colleague Bram Wisman, he initiated the foundation of the World Press Photo – now the most prestigious photo event in the world.
His hometown Amsterdam had a special place in his heart (and works).
Many photos give evidence of the omnipresence of berets during the 1940’s – 1960’s.
After a stroke that took away his ability to speak, Kees Scherer died in a hospice in 1993.

Thursday, July 11, 2019


The Madelman was a Spanish articulated action doll, in production from 1968 through 1983, by Plastic Industries Madel.

The manufacture of Madelman had two stages. First, the figures were characterized by having no feet, but stumps that fitted inside the holes inside the boots of the doll. The eyes were painted on. Subsequently, the doll's eyes were made of glass and the hair was a reddish plastic. Two colours were in production: white and black, always male.
At the second stage of the Madelman, the mannequins were improved by adding articulated feet. The hair was made of rubber and could be removed. Another feature is that the eyes were no longer glass, but tampographed .
Later, the female "La compañera de Madelman" was added to the range, followed by native Americans, faces with beards or goaties, blond or black hair, etc.
Spanish doctor RaquelAldea Escudero uses the dolls to create historical figures, such as this series of Spanish Civil War soldiers.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Francisco Boix

Francisco Boix Campo (1920 in Barcelona –1951 in Paris) was a veteran of the Spanish Civil War and photographer who was imprisoned in the Mauthausen concentration camp.
As a Spanish republican he was exiled in France in 1939. He was recruited by the French Foreign Legion and captured in 1940 by the Germans. Boix, like over 7,000 Spaniards, was an inmate in the Mauthausen concentration camp between January 1941 and May 1945. 
From the end of August 1941 he worked in the Erkennungsdienst, the photography department of the camp administration, taking ID photos of inmates and documenting events in the camp. He was able to hide and preserve until liberation about 20,000 negatives taken by the SS head of the department, Ernst Ricken, as well as by himself. 

In 1946 at the Nuremberg trial, Boix was called by the French prosecution to show photographs taken by the SS in Mauthausen. Those photos depicted the conditions in which the prisoners lived and were murdered in that camp. They were also proof that the camp was known and visited by high leaders of the Third Reich, such as Ernst Kaltenbrunner, who appeared visiting both the Mauthausen camp proper, and the Wienergraben quarry adjacent to the camp.
In April 1946 Boix was again a witness, this time in the American military trial that took place in Dachau against 61 accused from the Mauthausen camp.
Between 1945 and 1951 Boix worked as a photo reporter in the French press, particularly for a newspaper associated with the French Communist Party.
He died in Paris on 7 July 1951 from kidney failure at age 30.
El fotógrafo de Mauthausen is a Spanish film directed by Mar Targarona released on 26 October 2018. Mario Casas plays Francisco Boix.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Spaniards in Mauthausen

Spaniards in Mauthausen is the first study of the cultural legacy of Spaniards imprisoned and killed during the Second World War in the Nazi concentration camp Mauthausen. By examining narratives about Spanish Mauthausen victims over the past seventy years, author Sara J. Brenneis provides a historical, critical, and chronological analysis of a virtually unknown body of work.
Diverse accounts from survivors of Mauthausen, chronicled in letters, artwork, photographs, memoirs, fiction, film, theatre, and new media, illustrate how Spaniards have become cognizant of the Spanish government's relationship to the Nazis and its role in the victimization of Spanish nationals in Mauthausen. As political prisoners, their numbers and experiences differ significantly from the millions of Jews exterminated by Hitler, yet the Spaniards in Mauthausen were nevertheless objects of Nazi violence and witnesses to the Holocaust.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Franz West

Franz West (1947 –2012) was an Austrian artist, best known for his unconventional objects and sculptures, installations and furniture work which often require an involvement of the audience.
Throughout his career, West engaged in collaborations with other artists, such as conceptual Artist Bernhard Cella, conceptual artist Douglas Gordon, musician Fred Jellinek, furniture maker Mathis Esterhazy, and the artist Tamuna Sirbiladze (West's widow). For another exhibition in 2012, West collaborated with fellow artist Anselm Reyle on a series of furniture sculptures.
To the best of my knowledge, West was not a boinero himself. The postcard published here is from his hand though.
Thanks Frans

Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Brabandere Brewery

Adolphe De Brabandere founded the Brabandere Brewery at the end of the nineteenth century, laying the foundations for the company of today.
Their rich assortment of beers is enjoyed by connoisseurs far beyond the Belgian borders, but the beer that caught my eye, for obvious reasons, is the 'Kwaremont'. The first advertisement (beret included) was at a Limburgian cafe, showing a boinero with two cyclists.
Brewing was, is, and will continue to be, an art at De Brabandere. The characterful beers are made with traditional craftsmanship, authentic ingredients and... lots of love.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Karolus Mustard

When visiting the beautiful city of Aachen last May, I spotted a fellow boinero at the organic farmers market at the Münsterplatz.
A Google search then let me to the website of the Karolus traditional mustard factory.
Nice stuff and feel sorry I didn't buy myself some mustard...

Friday, July 5, 2019

Moulin du Verger - Paper-Mill

Located near Angouleme, the Moulin du Verger is one of the last paper mills in France where traditional paper is made, similar to the paper made in the 15th and 16th centuries.

The mill is listed in the inventory of historic industrial architecture monuments of the seventeenth century; the buildings were completely rebuilt in 1635 by the Dutch paper merchant Deric Jansen.
Jacques Bréjoux is the master paper-maker.