Untitled (1960) Joan Bakker

photo Otto Snoek
About the artwork

Sculptor Joan Bakker made facing bricks and reliefs for various buildings in Rotterdam, including this high relief that is difficult to see from the street. The stone is located under the roof molding of the building where Brunott jewelers has been located for years, at the intersection of the Karel Doormanstraat and Oude Binnenweg. The building dates from 1960 and Bakker was commissioned to make this stone by the architects Vermeer and Van Herwaarden. It is a characteristic stone for Bakker's work. The composition is tightly framed, in which a picture full of dynamics is depicted with different diagonals. The (woman) figure is squatting with her head held sideways to the left; she turns her head away from the hourglass she holds between her hands. The idea of ​​the hourglass is the symbolism of vanitas, a theme in art that depicts the transience, vanity and insignificance of earthly life. There is also a star on the left and right.

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About the artist

Joannes (Joan) Petrus Anthonius Maria Bakker (Oosterblokker, 1919 - 1999) attended the Academy of Visual Arts in Rotterdam, after which he settled permanently in Rotterdam. He was, among others, a student of Herman Mees (1880 - 1964) and the husband of sculptor and ceramist Riet (Maria) Elias. He made it together with Jan Poot (architect at the Municipality of Rotterdam) Liberation Monument at the Brink in Vreewijk, Feijenoord. He designed ornaments for an office building on the Botersloot with great visual power and clear stonemasonry qualities. He could handle the hardest stone types, in which he applied reliefs with attention to the role of light on the different stone types. Several works by Joan Bakker can be found in Rotterdam.

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