Guntersteinweg 62, Den Haag
52.04511679257, 4.2975289595288 View on map
Right in front of the fence around elementary school Grote Beer stands a pile of little bears tumbling over each other. Armand van der Helm is the sculptor of this bronze statue. He originally made it for the kindergarten 'De Spelende Berenjes'. This school got a new building in 1966 on the corner of the Suiderasstraat and the Grovestinsstraat and on this new building the percentage regulation applied. This means that one to one and a half percent of the building sum was reserved for an art commission. In 1985 the kindergarten merged with elementary school Moerwijk to become elementary school Grote Beer. Van der Helm's sculpture moved with them to the Guntersteinweg.
Van der Helm was no stranger to the Hague commission circuit after World War II. After his training at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, he had a studio in artists' center De Voorde in Voorburg together with colleagues such as Hermanus Berserik and Kees Andrea. A few of them also received such art commissions. Van der Helm was invited several times for a commission. Besides the 'Bears' for the kindergarten he made 'Branch with birds' for the Children's Farm in the Zuiderpark and at a school in Mariahoeve there is his 'Child on the tricycle'.
At a time when abstraction was the trend, Van der Helm made traditional, easily recognizable representations. Even though he depicted fewer and fewer details over the years. Usually there is plenty of movement or action in his work. Like here with the bears, who are having a great time frolicking with each other. This is also reflected in his free work. There, female figures and horses are the main themes. Unfortunately Van der Helm was not able to use his talents for long. He died at the age of thirty.