Untitled (1961) Louis van Roode

photo Aad Hoogendoorn
About the artwork

The Rotterdam artist Louis van Roode made this mural in 1961 in a waiting room of the municipal hospital Dijkzigt. It is a beautiful mural in which an introverted and cosmic spectacle is revealed. The job was to reassure patients in the waiting room. On March 6, 1960, the artist says about his abstract wall painting: “This is the idea behind it: the branches express an association with nature, but also symbolize unity – just like the different departments of a hospital work together. But the design is sketchy because it concerns the wall painting itself. I don't want to plan and philosophize too much in order to put the painting on the wall fresh and spontaneously.”
In connection with the demolition of the former Dijkzigt Hospital (which merged with Erasmus MC in 2002), BKOR was asked to advise on the (indoor) art present there. This showed that Van Roode's mural is a key work in his oeuvre: irreplaceable and indispensable. After an intensive research project, fresco painter and restorer Annelies Toebes succeeded in developing a technique that allowed the wall painting to be removed from the Dijkzigt in 2018. Through the restoration technique strain the work was transferred to ten panels. After manually retouching and refining the panels, a new image of the original artwork has emerged, as it were. Architect Dimitri Kruithof was commissioned to design the mounting system and mounting it on the wall. Filmmaker Christiaan van Schermbeek was asked to document this long-standing project from start to finish. He made the film on behalf of Moois Cinematics and BKOR The time travel of Louis van Roode, a second life for reconstruction art.
Finding a new location to relocate the mural turned out to be a difficult and time-consuming process, but new accommodation was found in 2021 in De Doelen. The preserved mural by Louis van Roode has been given a new home in the new part, the foyer of the Willem Burgerzaal. De Doelen has a considerable post-war art collection, including the work Curved Shape (1962) by the world famous English artist Barbara Hepworth (1903-1972). Van Roode's work fits seamlessly into this art collection.
The mural, which was saved from demolition, was unveiled on March 25, 2022.

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About the artist

During the Reconstruction period, the Rotterdam artist Louis van Roode (Delft, 1914 - Rotterdam, 1964) often worked on commission for the new architecture. He made many murals and mosaics, which adorned modern architecture, but which also told their own story about nature, culture, man and the cosmos. Major works by his hand have been preserved in Rotterdam, but also in Vlissingen, Eindhoven and The Hague. He can rightly be called one of the greatest wall artists of his time.

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De Doelen - Willem Burger Hall, Kruisplein, Rotterdam, Netherlands