Anna Polakweg, Den Haag
52.058489448313, 4.2795841957305 View on map
Armand van der Helm, the maker of the four bronze birds at the children's farm, was often praised in reviews as a young, promising artist. He himself did not want to promise anything: 'suppose I start doing other things than I promised'. Even during his training, he worked on commission. He made a wire sculpture for architect A. Pet, for instance. They'll put their hats on,' he said laconically at the time, and that typifies his attitude. Van der Helm did not want to impose anything on his audience. In general, his choice of subjects was traditional: a nude, a dying warrior, a rider on horseback, or, as here, the four little birds fluttering about. The work is characteristic of his style: the forms are not pronounced, there is an indication of movement. He believed that a picture should stimulate the imagination. Van der Helm regarded art by less conventional contemporaries, such as a stack of car doors, as 'modern Baroque stuff'.
His social involvement was typical of his time. At the request of the municipal parks department, he and artist Paul Lauwerse ensured that trees that had to be felled were given a new purpose as playground equipment.
Van der Helm often worked on behalf of the government and the municipality. He was driven to work with an architect at an early stage. Too often sculpture was used for decoration, whereas in his opinion there should be an interaction between sculpture and building.
Until 1967, Van der Helm had been 'finely introverted', messing around in his parents' studio. Then he moved to country house De Voorde in Rijswijk, where artists like Livinus van de Bundt, Kees Andrea and Hermanus Berserik also had their workplace. In this artistic breeding ground, he could have realised a lot, but unfortunately Van der Helm died at the age of 30.