Untitled (1950) Hank Hans

photo Otto Snoek
About the artwork

In 1950, a bank of the Nederlandsche Handelsmaatschappij (NHM) opened at Blaak 34, founded in 1824 on the initiative of King Willem I to revive Dutch trade after the French era. This bank building was designed just after the war by the Rotterdam architects AA van Nieuwenhuyzen and Cornelis Elffers, because the predecessor of this building was heavily damaged during the bombing of May 1940. The building, together with the adjacent bank buildings of the Twentsche Bank (Blaak 28) and the former Amsterdamsche Bank/Incassobank (Blaak 40), is one of the first buildings to be built after the war, because banks and insurers were the only institutions that had enough money. to rebuild quickly without government support. These three buildings together form one ensemble, because they are placed on one building line, have the same building height (24 m) and are coordinated in colour. In 2010, the building received the status of a national monument. The entrance is equipped with a raised staircase landing, with a bronze one at the front emblem of the NHM, designed by Nel Klaassen, has been installed. On the left side of the facade is an additional entrance through two bronze doors. Two sculpted women are placed above this entrance, symbolizing truth and fidelity. The woman on the left holds a key in her hands (truth) and the woman on the right carries a small dog on her forearm. The images were made by Hank Hans, who often worked with Cornelis Elffers. The statues were therefore probably created in close consultation and they mark the entrance in a classical way in a balanced interplay with the stone ornaments and columns as supports. Above a side entrance of this building in the Posthoornstraat is another one money carrier and key keeper by sculptor Hans Petri.

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About the artist

Sculptor Johanna Hendrika (known as Hank, Hanke, Anke) Hans (The Hague, 1919 - Rotterdam, 2015) was trained at the Academy of Visual Arts in Rotterdam before the war. In 1940 she moved to Amsterdam, where she attended the Rijksacademie and was taught by sculptor Jan Bronner. In 1945 she returned to the port city, where she took her best-known image Stronger through combat made. The 3,5 meter high marble work is located in the hall of the town hall on Coolsingel and is a gift from Queen Wilhelmina to the city of Rotterdam. During the reconstruction period Hans also worked a lot on commission for architects such as Kees Elffers and Joost Boks on facing bricks and reliefs. She also produced various works of art for schools outside of Rotterdam and made medals and medals for, for example, the Rotterdam Art Foundation and the Boekenweek. Hank Hans lived in Kralingen and was still active as an artist until a great age. She painted and made watercolors. People are central in her oeuvre, but nature is also an important source of inspiration.

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