Untitled (1969) Ger van Iersel

Geert Lebbing
About the artwork

Ger van Iersel made monumental art on commission and free work that he exhibited in galleries. What is striking about his assignments related to the reconstruction is his artisanal creativity in different materials. He experimented a lot with new techniques, something that was common for the reconstruction period. His work often had a Christian undertone, matching the various commissions he received from churches in and around Rotterdam. Van Iersel had a preference for glass techniques and symbolism, which is beautifully reflected in this glass appliqué in the stairwell of the Schieland Water Board. Like many reconstruction artists, Van Iersel opted for stylizations. Stylizing, abstracting visible reality was important because this indicated a universality, separate from the artist's handwriting. Van Iersel thought it important that art gave a human scale to the built environment. This glass-in-concrete shows a tree of life; a sculptural tree of concrete in colorful shades of the windows, which give the building a special appearance. The tree can be interpreted as an example of growth and fertility. The yellow circle at the top is the sun, the light. Perhaps Van Iersel also literally refers to light, fertility and water with the white, earthy and blue colors in the glass.

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About the artist

Ger van Iersel (Rotterdam, 1922 - 2014) studied at the Rotterdam Art Academy and then went to work in Rotterdam. There he was active as a sculptor, monumental artist, glass painter, painter, draftsman, wall painter and ceramist. He has many monumental works of art to his name and worked in various techniques. Much of his work is linked to the reconstruction period, when he worked for the new port city to be established. His work often had a Christian undertone, in keeping with the various commissions he received from churches in and around Rotterdam. He was a student of Louis van Roode and received the Laurens Medal and the Luther Medal for his work.

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