Playing bears (1956) Anne Grimdalen
De Playing bears are symbolic of the cordial ties between Rotterdam and Oslo. In 1951, the Meuse city of the Norwegian capital received (for the first time) a Christmas tree, a tradition that continued until 2014. In 1956, the brand new Lijnbaan focused on Oslo with an exhibition opened by the mayor of Oslo. When the exhibition closed, the Norwegian Ambassador's Winkelpromenade Association was offered this image of two playing bears by the Norwegian sculptor Anne Grimdalen. The association gave it again to Rotterdam mayor Van Walsum, who gave the work a definitive destination on the brand new shopping street. It is a cheerful image that, although standing on a pedestal, yet so close to the ground that it looks like the bears are romping together on the ground. It is located at eye level of small children, which often appeals to the work. The two bronze animals together form a compact ball, the shape of which returns to the round plateau on which they rest. The Playing bears fit nicely into the ensemble of bronze statues on and around the Lijnbaan, such as the Reading girl and the Drum bearing.
The Norwegian artist Anne Grimdalen (Skafsa, 1899 - Oslo, 1961) studied in Norway and Copenhagen in the 1920s and made various international study trips in the 1930s. Her work consists of animal sculptures, but also busts and human figures, executed in bronze and stone (granite). In Norway her work can be seen in the National Art Museum.