Karel Doorman (1959) Willem Verbon

BKOR archive
About the artwork

Not really logical, a picture for Karel Doorman (1889 - 1942) in Rotterdam, because this schout-by-night has had few direct relationships with Rotterdam. This Utrechtenaar gained fame in the homeland by his death in the battle of the Java Sea. He led the Dutch fleet there and managed to slow the Japanese invasion 24 hours. When the English fleet unit visited Rotterdam in 1945, it was decided to place a plaster bust of Doorman in the city for this occasion. This was deliberately destroyed shortly afterwards, given the text found: "If you want to honor your sailors, try not to blame the artist." To honor the naval hero, the municipality in 1949 named a street after him. In 1959 the Winkeliersvereniging commissioned the sculptor Willem Verbon to design a definitive bronze bust for this street. It became a classic bust, showing Doorman in uniform with all the medals and grades on it. Among other things, the text appeared on the pedestal Invia virtuti, nulla est via (No way is impassable for courage). Doorman is known for the statement "I attack, follow me", which he called shortly before his death. In reality the order was: 'all ships follow me', an attempt to bring order back to his now battered fleet. Doorman went on 27 February 1942 with the flagship, the cruiser Hr. Ms De Ruyter, below. The bronze statue on a travertine base was unveiled by his son TWR Doorman in the presence of his widow and numerous dignitaries.

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About the artist

Willem Verbon (Rotterdam, 1921-2003) attended classes at the evening academy in the 1930s. Immediately after the war, Verbon was commissioned to create a monument in honor of the Royal Air Force. He was offered a post-graduate scholar ship by the British government and left for London for a few years. In the early years of 50, Verbon returned to Rotterdam, where he moved into a studio in the Oranjeboomstraat. Verbon sculpted various statues and monuments for important people from Rotterdam and members of the Royal Family. A lot of his work can be found in Rotterdam.

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