Untitled (1950) Nel Klaassen

photo BKOR archive
About the artwork

In 1950, the Nederlandsche Handelsmaatschappij opened a bank on the Blaak, located between the Twentsche Bank and the Incasso-Bank. The building was co-designed by the Rotterdam architect Chris Elffers, who simultaneously worked on the design for the Rotterdam office of the Nationale Levensverzekeringsbank on Schiekade. The bank building, together with the adjacent bank buildings Blaak 28 and Blaak 40, is one of the first buildings to be built after the war. In 2010, the building was given the status of a national monument and has long ceased to be a bank building, but the main entrance is still unchanged. The decorations at the entrance were made by sculptor Nel Klaassen. At street level, the platform of the stairs contains a bronze plate relief with Mercury and Fortuna as the gods of trade, fortune and well-being. In the middle is the emblem of the Nederlandsche Handelsmaatschappij with the year 1824, the year in which King Willem I founded the bank. On the awning hanging above are two bronze sculptures with two figures resembling mermaids at each corner.

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About the artist

Nel Klaassen (Arnhem, 1906 - Heemstede, 1989) was a monumental sculptor, painter, draftsman and maker of mosaics. 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 ornamental sculpture. She produced an inauguration medal for Queen Juliana. Together with other artists she was also responsible for interior decorations of various passenger ships in Rotterdam.

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