Hofplein fountain (1955) Cor van Kralingen

Jannes Linders
About the artwork

De Hofplein fountain was donated to the city by the shipping company Van Ommeren. In 1939, the company celebrated its centenary and decided to give Rotterdam a gift. Van Ommeren organized a competition among six artists for the design of a monument for the Droogleever Fortuynplein, at the Maas tunnel under construction. Sculptors John Raedecker and Han Wezelaar emerged from the selection. Because of the Second World War, nothing came of these plans and it would take until 1955 before the gift was actually completed, albeit not at the entrance to the Maas tunnel, but in the middle of Hofplein. The services of Urban Development and Reconstruction and Municipal Works were closely involved in the plan for the central fountain: chief architect ir. JRA Koops was responsible for the design. Sculptor Cor van Kralingen was commissioned to take care of the sculpture on the octagonal basin. He made eight aquatic and land animals, such as a hippopotamus, a crocodile with a duck between its teeth, a winding sea snake, a thick toad and exotic fish, one of which half in the catching arms of a squid. They were placed on the corners of the basin and also serve as gutters for the drainage. For the sprayers of the fountain basin, he designed stylized water lilies that, like the animal figures, were executed in mussel limestone.

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About the artist

Cor van Kralingen (Rotterdam, 1908 - Mijnsheerenland, 1977) was a sculptor and illustrator. For the Varagids and publisher Thieme, he made many pen drawings between 1935 and 1960, among other things. During the reconstruction period Van Kralingen was able to design reliefs and facing bricks in Rotterdam. He designed it Twentsch Ros (1948) on the roof of the then Twentsche Bank on the Blaak and the eight animal figures of the Hofplein fountain (1955). He also made a number of war monuments, such as Falling man (1951) en Woman with pigeon (1965) at the war graves on Cemetery Crooswijk, and the Ttraveling woman (1958) on the Goereesestraat in Charlois. His style was characterized as invariably figurative. He liked simplicity and a classically oriented beauty.

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