Dolle Jan's dream (1970) Piet van Stuivenberg

Lotte Stekelenburg
About the artwork

In 1968, the Rotterdam Art Foundation (RKS) commissioned Piet van Stuivenberg to pay tribute to Herman Heijermans (1864 - 1924). The Rotterdam-born writer Heijermans is known for his plays such as'Op hoop van zegen'And'Links". His play 'Outcome'was performed with great success by the Nieuw Rotterdams Toneel in the 1960s. That is why the RKS commissioned Van Stuivenberg to portray the main character in this piece: Jan with the swan - also the main character in Heijermans 'story'Dolle Jan's dream'. Van Stuivenberg chose the moment when a proud Jan returns to earth with his pockets full of 'diamonds'. The initial shape of the block of stone that Piet van Stuivenberg carved out is still recognizable. The artist has translated the robustness of the material into the angular shapes of his design. Yet he has also processed a certain sensitivity through a few smooth lines. It seems as if Jan is lovingly pushing the swan's head against his face. Heijermans himself was not that fond of Rotterdam: he could not settle in the city and only flourished when he went to live in Amsterdam. According to some, his homage also did not do justice to its original spot on the lawn near the Leuvekolk. The artwork was therefore moved in 2012 to the Joost Banckertsplaats, where a stolen bronze statue had created a demand for a new statue by the residents there.

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About the artist

Piet van Stuivenberg (Schiedam, 1901 - 1988) has made a number of sculptures for the public space of Rotterdam and Schiedam as a stonemason, such as Dolle Jans Dream (a monument to Herman Heijermans) and a sculpture at the former Bouwcentrum. He attended evening classes at the Rotterdam Academy from 1921 to 1927 and made study trips to Brussels, London and Paris. Artworks by Van Stuivenberg are in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the Stedelijk Museum in Schiedam and in private collections. Van Stuivenberg started his career as a stonemason boy. As a sculptor he was initially influenced by expressionism, later he made geometric and sleek shapes, which increasingly tended to abstraction.

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