Jumping girl (1976) Co Westerik

photo BKOR archive
About the artwork

For years this huge mural was a striking work of art in the city. It Jumping girl by artist Co Westerik sat on the facade of the former police station on the Haagseveer. In 1976, Westerik was commissioned by the Rotterdam Art Foundation to provide a wall painting for the blind wall of the police station. Temporary, because it was known that the building would be demolished. In 1988 this was the case and it became Jumping girl demolished.
Christine, Co Westerik's daughter, modeled for the girl. Westerik largely executed the painting himself, with the help of an assistant. A hundred meters away, Westerik directed his assistant with a megaphone, who marked the dots on the wall with crayon. Then a layer of cement was applied to the facade to give the painting relief and to 'let the girl come loose from the wall'. Then the final painting was applied. Westerik wanted to show 'every fiber, every muscle of the girl'. The demolition of the work, and especially the way in which it was carried out, hurt the artist a lot, even though he knew that the work would be temporary. A councilor operated the first wrecking ball, which plunged into the girl's back with full force. Westerik: “What bluntness. My girl went there. I could cry. ” The artist stopped all attempts to remake the work: “I can't help but let my sweetheart be immortalized again. It is better this way. ” But many Rotterdammers have taken work to heart.

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About the artist

Co Westerik (The Hague, 1924 - Rotterdam, 2018) studied at the Academy of Visual Arts in The Hague. After graduating in 1947, he made the painting The fishwoman, with which he won the Jacob Maris prize for painting in 1951. He later won this prize twice, as well as the State Prize for Visual Arts and Architecture, the Hendrik Chabot Prize and the Jeanne Oosting Prize. Westerik's work was part of many major international exhibitions and his work was purchased by, among others, the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. In 1999 he was named Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion.

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