Artwork Data




Wessel Couzijn




brons / hout


h. 100 cm

Partial collection

Intro Westbroekpark

Artwork Location


Westbroekpark, Den Haag

City district


GPS data

52.104840193531, 4.2889933530456 View on map

Artwork Description


I don't like the deformation of the human figure... The result is derived from something it is not. I would rather have a work of art that no longer has anything to do with the body, but with a human event [...].
These are the words of Wessel Couzijn, one of the greatest innovators of Dutch sculpture after the Second World War. They are significant with regard to his sculpture 'Embracing' in the Westbroek Park, a sculpture of a 'human event', full of intense emotions.

In an intimate entanglement of forms, the bronze shamelessly bursts open and timidly closes. There are holes and protrusions, points and curves. Anyone who tries to discover human forms in the sculpture will be disappointed. Strong feelings are depicted here, but no reality is portrayed. Moreover, Couzijn did not think that you should 'read' his images, you should 'experience' them.

Embrace' was made in the years when Couzijn's abstract-expressionist visual language reached maturity. The bronze from 1964 shows that he had reached a high level of drama by then. Already in the 1950s he shook up traditional Dutch sculpture. His freedom of form and expression were new to our country. During the war, the Jewish Couzijn stayed in New York. There he came into contact with the non-figurative work of sculptors such as Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967) and Jacques Lipchitz (1891-1973). Back in Amsterdam, his work soon developed from figurative to abstract.

At the end of the sixties, he made highly moving sculptures from battered fragments of bronze combined with existing objects such as a bed or a table. Towards the end of his life, he expressed himself in austere geometric forms. Whatever form Couzijn's abstraction took, the thread running through his oeuvre is his involvement with human existence.