brons / steenachtig
h. 125 cm
Han Stijkelplein, Den Haag
52.107101606056, 4.3042496897889 View on map
On a weekday morning, the Han Stijkelplein often looks deserted. De Vogelvechter' by Frank Letterie is a dynamic contrast. In a fierce struggle, a man tries to wring the neck of a wildly fluttering bird. The animal flaps its wings wildly in an attempt to tear itself away.
I see in it a kind of preservation of freedom, a liberation from oppression', Letterie remarked. The artist chose this theme because the sculpture was to be placed in a 'district of resistance heroes'. The commission was awarded in the context of the street plan whereby 1% of the costs could be spent on a work of art. All street names in the neighbourhood, such as Abbenbroek and Maurits de Brauw, recall important resistance fighters.
Han Stijkel (Rotterdam, 1911) was the leader of the so-called 'Stijkel group'. The aim was to drive out the Germans and subsequently to fill the authority vacuum until Queen Wilhelmina would return to the Netherlands. The group had 80 members, including important politicians, students and officers. Infiltrators betrayed the group and in April 1941, 39 members were locked up in the 'Oranjehotel', part of the Scheveningen prison. On 4 June 1943 they were executed in Berlin.
Letterie's father also died in the war. Thanks to the Foundation '40-45' his son received a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, followed by a course at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Throughout his life, the artist has had a predilection for making figurative sculptures. While modelling, he created abstracted animals and people, often with violent movements, such as galloping horses. The sculptures and medals always found favour with the general public. Perhaps the most famous is the sculpture 'Mother and child' that he made for ABN/AMRO savers. Because of all the advertisements, it had a greater reach than the solitary 'Birdfighter' on the Stijkelplein.