Untitled (1950) Nel Klaassen
Immediately after the liberation, the business community started with the involvement of visual artists, interior designers and advertisers in the reconstruction of the city. Initially, only the banks had sufficient financial resources to carry out construction activities. Between 1949 and 1959, monumental new bank buildings opened their doors, also on the Blaak. The Twentsche Bank, the Incasso-Bank (which merged with the Amsterdamsche Bank during construction) and the Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij opened their so-called 'side-banks' here, because the companies had their head offices and managements in Amsterdam. This building of the Incasso-Bank on the Blaak 40 has been designed by Kraaijvanger and has since become a national monument. Nowadays the Chamber of Commerce is housed in the building. The facade is 'decorated' by Nel Klaassen, who has worked on several bank buildings on the Blaak. On both sides of the entrance there is a vertical decorative frame with zodiac signs, so that the animals almost seem to climb. At the top are three reliefs of birds, a typical reconstruction symbol.
Nel Klaassen (Arnhem, 1906 - Heemstede, 1989) was a monumental sculptor, painter, draftsman and mosaic manufacturer. She was a student of Jan Bronner at the Rijksacademie voor Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. In 1932 she received the Prix de Rome for monumental and decorative sculpture. She made an inauguration medal from Queen Juliana. Together with other artists, she was also responsible for interior decorations of various passenger ships in Rotterdam.