Lodewijk Pincoffs (1998) Willem Verbon

photo Otto Snoek
About the artwork

In 1998 the great-grandson unveiled this bronze statue of the famous Jewish harbor baron, merchant, shipowner and politician Lodewijk Pincoffs (Rotterdam, 1827 - New York, 1911). It is no coincidence that this statue was placed on this spot, because between 1849 and 1879 Pincoffs played an important role in the development of the Entrepot area. He was the one who built the Poortgebouw and the Veempand 'De Vijf Werelddelen'. At the age of 28, Pincoffs joined the Rotterdam city council in 1856. There he developed into an authoritative councilor who was well listened to. In 1858 he became a member of the Provincial Council of South Holland and in 1872 he became the first Jewish Dutchman to become a member of the Senate. He turned down an offer in 1877 to become Secretary of the Treasury. He played an important role in the development of the Rotterdam ports and was the first entrepreneur who dared to establish his company on the southern bank of the Maas. However, Pincoffs is also notorious for having one of the biggest accounting scandals in Dutch history to his name. In 1879 he fled to America after this massive fraud came to light and he found himself deeply in debt. This statue is therefore not a tribute to the man himself, but it symbolizes the developments on the Kop van Zuid. Sculptor Willem Verbon has portrayed him as a depressed and disappointed person who was about to leave Rotterdam. The plaque reads in English: “An example of so much triumph and so much shame”. Verbon made the sculpture in 1994. Due to delays in construction, it took another four years before the sculpture was given a place.

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About the artist

Willem Verbon (Rotterdam, 1921 – there, 2003) took classes at the evening academy in the 1930s. Immediately after the Second World War, Verbon was commissioned to make a monument in honor of the Royal Air Force. He got one postgraduate scholarship offered by the British government and left for London for several years. In the early 1950s, Verbon returned to Rotterdam, where he moved into a studio in Oranjeboomstraat. His work mainly consists of figurative sculptures, usually representing historical figures. Verbon sculpted various statues and monuments for important Rotterdam residents and members of the Royal Family. Many of his works of art can be found in the public space of Rotterdam.

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