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An Unknown Artist


Statuette by the Unknown Artist. Photo Jona Lendering. First, go to Amsterdam and visit the Leidseplein. Locate the American Hotel, which is easy to finds. Now walk to the southwest, and cross the bridge. To your right hand is this little park. There's a tree, which is (for Amsterdam, where all trees were cut down during the Second World War), really big and old. Can you see something unusual?
Statuette by the Unknown Artist. Photo Jona Lendering. Here is a close-up.

This little statue has been placed on a branch of the tree. No one knows when, and no one knows by whom. The artist simply went to the tree and fixed the statuette to the big branch. Then he went home and waited until his sculpture was discovered. It must have happened in the late eighties. Almost no one knows the artist, but every Amsterdammer likes the mystery he has created. Recognition was made official when one of his works was placed in the Town Hall.


Statue by the Unknown Artist. Photo Jona Lendering. This musician can be found in the Town Hall, which is better known as "Stopera", the building that hosts both the municipal administration ("stadhuis") and the opera.
Statue by the Unknown Artist. Photo Jona Lendering. A third work can be found at the Oudekerksplein, immediately south of the Oude Kerk (Old Church). This is in the part of the city that is known for (or notorious for, if you prefer) prostitution, so you understand why this hand is touching a lady's breast.

The next two statuettes, little men climbing a wall, can be found in the Anjelierstraat. The left one is on the corner with the Prinsengracht and easy to spot; the second one is almost at the opposite end of the street. There is a third one on a little court to the north. In the same street, a statue could be found that was placed on high spirals, but this was damaged in 2007 and has been removed.


Statuette by the Unknown Artist. Photo Jona Lendering. Statuette by the Unknown Artist. Photo Jona Lendering. Statuette by the Unknown Artist. Photo Jona Lendering.
Stone Tablet by the Unknown Artist. Photo Jona Lendering. There is also a "gevelsteen" in the Anjelierstraat 175 by the Anonymous Artist.
A little statue by the Unknown Artist. Photo Jona Lendering. This statue, also in the Anjelierstraat, is called "His Master's Skeelers". It was briefly in the news -and that's why I know the name- because it was damaged by vandals.
Statue by the Unknown Artist. Photo Jona Lendering. This is another statue that the Anonymous Artist donated to the city, in the early eighties. Again, all of a sudden, it was there. You can find it at the corner of the Marnixstraat and the Tweede Hugo de Grootstraat, opposite a police station. If the violin player would have had a head, he would have been facing a shop that sells newspapers and magazines. People in the neighborhood will tell you that the owner of the shop knows the anonymous artist.

Don't go there, don't ask. It's the mystery that makes these statues special.


Statue by the Unknown Artist. Photo Jona Lendering.

Postscript

Five days after finishing the original version of this brief article, a kind lady working for the Council of the Old West Municipal District wrote me a note about the statue you see to the left. It's on the corner of the Ten Catestraat and the Borgerstraat. I had asked the district council's information desk who was the maker of this statue, because I referred to it on my pages on where I live. She told me that it was another work by our unknown sculptor. I should have guessed. Anyhow, this nice coincidence adds to the specialness of these statues.
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2006
Revision: 21 April 2008
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