Artwork Data


De hulpvaardige


Kees Timmer




Beton, beschilderd

Artwork Location


Aagje Dekenlaan 78, Den Haag

City district


GPS data

52.051496028126, 4.2923444145069 View on map

To be found on route

Cycling route Reconstruction Art Escamp

Artwork Description


At the end of the 1950s, a new HBS was built at Westhovenplein in Moerwijk: the then Christian HBS Overvoorde. In that building, the largest number of art applications can be found in post-war The Hague: three stained glass windows and no fewer than five different types of reliefs. And then there is the large concrete sculpture that can be found outside at the top of the stairs leading to the entrance. This free-standing sculpture was made by the Rotterdam artist Kees Timmer. It depicts a person helping another. The sculptor has depicted them as one flowing whole.

Although they are clearly two human figures, they have been strongly abstracted by the artist. Mouths are missing, for example, and the bodies are also made in one movement without too much attention to detail. Nevertheless, the notion of helpfulness comes across directly.

In the twenties, Timmer attended evening classes at the later Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. Animals were his speciality. He was able to put them on canvas with exceptional liveliness and almost as persons. It is with these animal paintings that he is best known. Of great importance for his development was the invitation from the Prince Bernard Fund in 1950 to visit the Kruger Park in South Africa. From that moment on, he painted not only Dutch cats, dogs and horses, but also tigers, monkeys and other wildlife.

Besides his animal paintings, Timmer always worked on commission. He enjoyed (decorative) work on a monumental scale. His first mural dates from 1948 in the canteen of the Wilton shipyard in Rotterdam. Timmer also made freestanding sculptures. Famous is his life-size bull made of sheet iron and presented at the World Exhibition in Brussels in 1958. From a single, long sheet of steel, he created the contours of a bull. He sculpted 'The Helpful One' with the same accurate sense of simplicity.

After the demolition of the HBS (secondary school) at Westhovenplein, this statue by Timmer found a new place on Aagje Dekenlaan. There the white sculpture stands in the central reservation near the Roemer Visscher College.