Wim van der Weerd (1913-1996): architect, graphic artist and painter

by Siebe Thissen 30.08.2019
Wim van der Weerd

Shortly after the liberation, Wim van der Weerd acquired a studio in Ons Huis on the Gouvernestraat. He was a good friend of Wally Elenbaas and was part of the circle around Groep R, the first artists' group after the war. The Group had received workspaces, an exhibition room and a printing press from the left-wing theologian and director of Ons Huis, Karel Proost. Due to a lack of time (Wim worked for the architectural firms Brinkman & Van der Vlugt and Maaskant) he could not focus full time on art, but circled around the artists of Ons Huis. According to Johan Huijts, curator at Ons Huis (the exhibition space was called 't Venster), Wim was “a subtle artist whose sobriety shows a relationship with Elenbaas' asceticism”. Just as he associated himself with the circle of Groep R, he also associated himself with the later Venstergroep, again a group around Wally Elenbaas who especially excelled with the printing press (lithograph). Wim was even a member of the predecessor of the Venstergroep, the 'exhibition group of Ons Huis', together with Elenbaas and Guus de Ruiter. With the Venstergroep Wim showed work at the Rotterdam Ahoy 1950 city manifestation, he also had a solo exhibition in 't Venster that year and exhibited with the Rotterdammers in Amsterdam. In 1951 Wim and his wife Gerdien helped to shape the magazine Marsyas (only one issue appeared, a copy can now be bought in antiquarian fashion in the Hans Walgenbach store, € 125,00).

Pierre Janssen, who discussed his Window exhibition in Het Vrije Volk, considered Wim to be “the modest vanguard… those artists who possess the fierce fire of pioneers without great powers, who put the team in the land they discovered. However, he lacks the pointed, pure technology and penetrating sharpness, which often results in a superficial lust for the anecdotal "(" Eight, how nice! ", The viewer will say). His work "calls the name of pioneer Paul Klee so loud that Van der Weerd's voice becomes unintelligible". The modest vanguard “personally processes what the pioneers offer”.

In 1951 Wim was part of a small action group with Henk de Vos, Gust Romein, Wally Elenbaas, Piet Rovers, Guus de Ruiter and Daniël den Dikkenboer. The Rotterdam Art Foundation (RKS) wanted to bring art closer to the people and had planned to have a whole series of artists work "live" on the steps of the Beursgebouw. The action group found that a mockery and published a manifesto against the RKS, printed in The Free People:

“We painters from the Group Atelier (Kunstcentrum 't Venster) have informed the Rotterdam Art Foundation in an open letter that we consider the form and scope of this event to be pernicious. We are invited to show ourselves at this event in studio clothing with studio easel and canvas. We think this is clowning. If we act strange according to common concepts, then we do this for our own pleasure and because we have no other option, never, however, because the public admires it. The artist is not a rara avis to be viewed by the public. If there is a gap between the public and the artist (about which so much is discussed nowadays), then it must first be shown that the artist is a fellow citizen of our city, a human being like any other and not a crazy beast, which is exposed in studio clothing. This assaults the dignity of Art (yes, we use a capital letter this time). A painter should have an attitude for everything. Anyone who lends himself to this event appears to lack the first condition of being an artist ”.

Wim sometimes also made monumental work, such as a mosaic for the Flevo building (Twelve Provinces), 1953-55, a building demolished by architect HD Bakker; a tableau for the facade of the KNSM building by architect Maaskant on the Eemhaven (1962); a floor mosaic in the swimming pool of the SS Rotterdam and aluminum façade images there (these had disappeared and were recently recreated), commissioned by architect Maaskant. And of course the shapes ('Vis') in the Parkflat by architect Ernest Groosman, as well as the wall painting (inside and outside) on the other side of the building (1958). Gradually, however, the artist Wim van der Weerd became increasingly out of sight. In 1973 he was criticized by Bertus Schmidt The Free People, the newspaper that in the years 1940-1950 had regularly paid attention to him, called "the completely unknown to me Wim van der Weerd".

More information can be found on the website of Wim van der Weerd.

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