Untitled (1970) Johan van Reede

photo BKOR archive
About the artwork

From 1970 to 1997, this industrial estate housed the 'Laagjes' fire station. The Rotterdam fire brigade was initially part of the Roteb. During the construction of the building, Johan van Reede was commissioned to make a work of art in the percentage scheme. This arrangement meant that a percentage (1 to 1,5%) of the building sum was spent on visual art in the construction of government buildings. Van Reede made this work on the facade of painted sheet steel. A black steel corner line is the support of five squares in different sizes. The squares are painted with lines and surfaces in the colors red, blue, white, gray and black. In 1997 the barracks were closed due to cutbacks, but the colorful facade work is still there fifty years later.

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About the artist

During the war, monumental artist Johan van Reede (Rotterdam, 1921 - 2016) switched from part-time lessons to full-time art training at the academy in Rotterdam, together with Kees Frans. After the war he became very active in the reconstruction of Rotterdam: he was a sculptor, graphic artist, monumental wall painter and made mosaics. He made a mural in the former Dijkzigt hospital, a mosaic relief in the Groothandelsgebouw, a kinetic-looking abstract work in the Beurs metro station on the end wall on the Coolsingel / Blaak side, and a mosaic of athletes in Hoogvliet. His fame has largely been limited to Rotterdam.

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