Sailor on steering wheel (1953) Bas van der Smit

BKOR archive
About the artwork

In Zeeman's house Stella Maris, the former home for seafarers, there is a small chapel on the ground floor dedicated to Maria Stella Maris. The chapel gets its light because the façade has been pushed out a little locally and connected to the building with narrow stained glass windows. The outer wall of this chapel, a detached concrete wall of four by four meters, was made by artist Bas van der Smit. He received the assignment for this with the construction of the home in 1953. In the then very popular concrete grafitto technique, he made a stylized relief in the colors black, white and red. The color planes are flush with the depth lines in the relief. The work represents the Madonna with the child (top left) who protects the sailor, who holds two hands on the wheel, against the rough waters. The artwork therefore has the title Sailor on steering wheel. This building has served as a hotel since 2000 and since a few years the building has been owned by the STC Group, which includes the Shipping and Transport College.

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About the artist

Bas van der Smit (Rotterdam, 1915 - Semur-en-Auxois, France, 1996) was a monumental artist, (wall) painter, draftsman and graphic artist. As a monumental artist, he worked in mosaics, graffiti, stained glass and brick reliefs. He has been active from around 1930 until the 1970s. His style varied from figurative to abstract and his themes were figure representations, landscapes, city and harbor views. He belonged to the Abstract Rotterdam Group, of which Koos van Vlijmen was also a member. He has lived and worked in France since 1983.

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