Charly (1989) Robbert Jan F. Donker

photo BKOR archive
About the artwork

Charly (Nicolaas Morelis, 1911 - 1973) was a well-known Rotterdam street figure and imitator. His nickname was Charly the Sandwichman. In the 60s, 70s and 80s he walked through the city center as a live advertising doll, in the meantime imitating Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin. He promoted the local middle class and wore signs on his chest and back, for which he designed the text himself. He was a resident of the Oude Noorden and lived on Snellemanstraat. Artist Robbert Jan F. Donker became fascinated by Charly as a child. When he was asked to design a work of art for the square on Snellemanstraat, he designed a statue for Charly. The memorial consists of a travertine stone column with a bronze bowler hat, walking stick, shoes and a draped pawn coat. On the column is a bronze plaque with the text: "Charly an illustrious Old North". Donker chose to depict the attributes and not to depict the person Charly. Morelis' daughter has unveiled the statue.

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About the artist

Robbert Jan Donker (Amsterdam, 1943 - Rotterdam, 2016) studied at the Academy of Visual Arts in Rotterdam from 1960 to 1965. These years turned him into a 'native Rotterdammer' with a great fondness for the Kralingen district. The work of sculptor Donker is characterized by the creation of human figures, reliefs and especially animal figures in bronze and stone.

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