Untitled (1953) Nel Klaassen
There are two ceramic façade strips by artist Nel Klaassen on this former store building of the Martens company. It is an abstract garland, the ends of which originate from forms derived from the cornucopia (top right and bottom left). The tile panel is very decorative in nature and therefore has no autonomous quality. The façade decoration on Hoogstraat 200 (Peek & Cloppenburg shop premises) is also from her hand.
After 1950, Rotterdam became richer with numerous new buildings, as well as numerous wall decorations. Banks were built on Blaak and Coolsingel, such as the former Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij on the Blaak 34 and the former Incasso-Bank on the Blaak 40. These two buildings also have decorations by Klaassen, but these bench decorations mainly depict many gods, nymphs and farmers; decorations that refer to the banking system. The buildings on Hoogstraat, unlike the bank buildings, have a different purpose. The façade decorations on these buildings therefore form a less important group. They mainly depict fertility and flower motifs, such as these two façade strips from Klaassen.
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.