Moeder en kind
h. 120 cm
Parelmoerhorst, Den Haag
52.096315536622, 4.3561724435755 View on map
Mother and child' is a subject that has fascinated artists and the public throughout the centuries. This is demonstrated by the sculpture, modelled in rough brushstrokes, of a robust woman laying her child over her shoulder. The subject regularly recurs in the oeuvre of its maker, Frank Letterie. The intimacy between mother and child, within the context of a love couple or a family, was for him a primal fact that allowed him to recharge his batteries emotionally.
The sculpture, which was placed on the occasion of the completion of the Parelmoerhorst in 1964, is one of the first works Letterie produced on commission. It was only after he had taken drawing lessons during his time in the army that he chose to become an artist at the age of 22. He studied at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, which he completed with the Prix de Rome in 1958. Letterie never abandoned his traditional training for a more experimental approach. To him, a figurative image also has abstract qualities.
In 1978, the artist originally from The Hague exchanged the Randstad art circuit for the Achterhoek, where he received many commissions. For instance, he made a sculpture of the poet A.C.W. Staring for his home town Vorden. Letterie was a gifted portraitist. This is evident from the medals he made for numerous organisations. On the small surface he knew how to characterise faces in striking lines. He also sought this accuracy in the dynamic images of fighting horsemen or galloping horses, which also often appear in his oeuvre.
When asked what he found fascinating about sculpture, Letterie once replied: 'You give an object the illusion of movement, while at the same time seeking a balance'. Even in an intimate gesture of a mother with child, it is all about capturing the right moment. This has been the ultimate challenge for many an artist for centuries.