“To capture the soul of the a man, one must look into his eyes. To capture the eyes of the beast one must look into nature’s soul” Loet Vanderveen
Loet Vanderveen’s early years was shaped by the exotic animals and this is clear through his iconic work. He grew up next to (and from the stories) in the Rotterdam Zoo. It was his sanctuary and his favourite place as a child. The subsequent destruction of the zoo and the animals in a Nazi bombing raid of 1940 had a deep and profound effect on him.
His childhood adventures in the zoo sparked his love and appreciation of wildlife and he travelled widely; watching and studying animals in their natural habitat. He was still travelling in his 80s and 90s! His love and understand animals is clear in the flow and movement of his pieces. But
he didn’t start as a sculptor. Loet Vanderveen started as a fashion designer. If it wasn’t for chance meeting with Fong Chow in New York after the war and the subsequent private tutelage in clay things may have been very different.
Loet Vanderveen early work was in clay and he didn’t start working with bronze until the 1980s and it his bronze work for which he is famous. He minimal aesthetic and streamlined designs are iconic and the pieces are stunning.
The pieces start as sketches -either from photos taken on his trips or from memory. He then made 3D models in wax and it was these models that the foundry casts were made. A notable aspect of Loet’s work was the limited casts that he made of his pieces. L
oet never retired and his last piece was still in process when he died on 5th May 2015 aged 93. “Kenya Rhino and Baby” was still on the table but nearly complete.
We are privileged to have a selection of signed and numbered pieces of Loet Vanderveen’s work. Shop the full collection here.