Playing leapfrog, flying kites, playing with balls and puppets: it is hard to imagine a more appropriate scene for a school. No wonder that the artists Leen Blom and Marian Gobius, when commissioned to make reliefs for a new school complex in Moerwijk in 1951, chose children playing to embellish the building. The new school complex on Roemer Visscherstraat was one of the earliest examples in The Hague of the implementation of a new scheme.
In September 1951, the national government decided that 1-2% of the construction costs of all government buildings would be spent on art, the so-called percentage regulation. This was to embellish the buildings and support the professional practice of visual artists. Following in the footsteps of the central government, the government of The Hague decided to also spend 1-2% of the building sum of new buildings on art. Much of the reconstruction architecture is therefore decorated with art. Art that is fixed to the architecture. Examples include stained glass, mosaics and reliefs. The reliefs by Blom and Gobius are also anchored in the building.
Although the reliefs are both figurative and both artists have used the same theme, the differences in style and handwriting are remarkable. Whereas Blom places the children in a 'landscape' with a single stylised plant or tree motif, Gobius leaves the background completely empty. As a result, your gaze immediately goes to the playing children. Gobius' formal language is moreover somewhat more expressive and sensitive. Her playing children therefore seem more natural. Blom is known for his sculptures in which he 'catches' people during their daily activities. By Gobius we know both some intense war memorials and many idyllic child portraits.
The building of the school complex from 1950-51 was demolished in 2011. However, the reliefs were preserved and given a place in the facade of the new building on the same Roemer Visscherstraat in 2013.