Progress, Industry, Trade, Agriculture and Shipping (1898) Simon Miedema

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About the artwork

For a long time, the White House was the tallest office building in the Netherlands. It was built in 1897-1898 to a design by Willem Molenbroek, commissioned by the brothers Gerrit and Herman van der Schuyt. The building was built in Art Nouveau style and has eleven floors. Originally six statues by sculptor Simon Miedema were placed near the first floor. The sandstone figures are under a canopy and on pedestals, both of which are made of bluestone. After the bombardment of 1940, five figures remain, namely the personifications of 'Maritime', 'Progress', 'Agriculture', 'Industry' and 'Trade'. The sixth 'Labor' statue was destroyed in the Second World War. The figures stand on round plateaus with gilded inscriptions. 'Zeevaart' was originally on the north facade, but was moved to the south facade of the White House after the war to replace 'Arbeid'. Few physical memories of the 19th century have survived in Rotterdam, but Miedema's sculptures are a reminder of this period. They express the Rotterdam entrepreneurial spirit. These works of art are an integral part of the remarkable White House; the first skyscraper in Rotterdam and even labeled by some as the first skyscraper in Europe. The White House is in the top 100 of Dutch UNESCO monuments.

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About the artist

Simon Miedema (Harlingen, 1860 - Rotterdam, 1934) was a Dutch sculptor who studied at the Academy of Visual Arts and Technical Sciences in Rotterdam. Miedema was active in an architectural society, to which he was awarded commissions for sculpture and ornamentation in Renaissance and Louis styles. His style remained 19e century. He has made several sculptures in the Maas city, including the facade images of the White House on the Wijnhaven.

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