Westbroekpark, Den Haag
52.105836659161, 4.2892007320899 View on map
It is as if she was trapped in the stone and only needed to be freed. John Raedecker's sculpture from 1950 has a tranquil beauty, the forms are quite sturdy. The woman stands in a classical pose, with a clear standing and playing leg. These characteristics justify a comparison with the work of Aristide Maillol (1861-1944). For we also see inner peace and robust design in the sculpture of this famous French sculptor, whose works Raedecker undoubtedly studied when he stayed in Paris several times between 1911 and 1914. According to Maillol, a sculpture after the early Greek model had to be 'static' and harmonious. It had to express a state of affairs, not emotion or drama. And the latter - however restrained in his The Hague nude - is precisely what is present in Raedecker's art.
Raedecker, who came to prominence in the post-war period, was open to all kinds of art ideas, such as symbolism and expressionism. What appealed to him was undoubtedly the expression of mood and emotion. He did not dare to take the step towards abstraction, which had been made in sculpture abroad well before the Second World War. He was no exception. Most Dutch sculptors at that time did not yet experiment with form and expensive materials such as natural stone and bronze. Moreover, they were strongly dependent on - often conservative - commissioners.
But there was definitely room for an expressive, sensitive figuration. How much drama Raedecker put into his art depended on the subject. In the 'Monument to the Fallen' (1949/1950) in Waalwijk, Raedecker powerfully depicted war suffering. Here he chose to depict the execution. In the standing nude in the Westbroek Park, on the other hand, he is extremely restrained when it comes to emotions. The woman is unapproachable, but there is a wonderful smile around her mouth, which makes her a mysterious personality.