The Rotterdam draft horse (1991) Gérard Héman

photo Otto Snoek
About the artwork

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of construction company Van Waning, Rotterdam artist Gérard Héman was commissioned to create a work of art in 1988. In 1991 the sculpture was The Rotterdam draft horse completed and a year later it was donated to the municipality of Rotterdam. The statue stood for thirty years on the terrace of the De Steenplaat residential and care complex, a location of the Humanitas foundation. Thirty years later, Garrelt van Waning, grandson of founder Jacob Isaäc van Waning, expressed his wish to place the statue in the Nassauhaven park around Villa van Waning. Villa Van Waning is the management building of the Van Waning cement factory, which dates from 1898. In 1990, the site was expropriated and purchased by the municipality. It is a national monument, but has fallen into serious disrepair. Developer Vincent Taapken bought the building from the municipality and completely restored it. The municipality has redesigned and constructed the surrounding park. This made this a nice location for relocation The Rotterdam draft horse. On the occasion of the relocation, Garrelt van Waning and Hans Rombouts, the artist's son-in-law, made a publication about the artwork. On Friday, September 29, 2023, the statue was unveiled by cultural councilor Said Kasmi.

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About the artist

Gérard Héman (Duisburg, 1914 - Rotterdam, 1992) was a sculptor, painter and draftsman who attended the art academy in Rotterdam. He was born in Duisburg, but later moved to Schiebroek. Héman was engaged in woodcarving from a young age, which is why the influence of German Baroque folk art is noticeable in his work. Various of his works have been realized in the public space of Rotterdam. The best-known works are facade ornaments on the former bank building on Coolsingel.

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