Sailor on steering wheel (1953) Bas van der Smit
The Stella Maris Seamen's Home, the former home for seafarers, has a small chapel on the ground floor dedicated to Maria Stella Maris. The chapel gets its light because the facade has been pushed slightly outwards in some places and is connected to the building with narrow stained glass windows. The outer wall of this chapel, a free-standing concrete wall measuring four by four meters, was made by artist Bas van der Smit. He was commissioned for this when the home was built in 1953. In the then very popular concrete-grafto technique, he made a stylized relief in the colors black, white and red. The color areas are flush with the depth lines in the relief. The work depicts the Madonna and Child (top left) protecting the sailor, who keeps both hands on the wheel, from the stormy 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.
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, sgraffitos, stained glass and brick reliefs. It has been active from about 1930 to the 1983s. His style varied from figurative to abstract and his themes were figure representations, landscapes, city and harbor views. He belonged to the Group Abstract Rotterdam, of which Koos van Vlijmen was also a member. Since XNUMX he has lived and worked in France.