In this Spotlight Amsterdam by Night takes a closer look at the series of sculptures that has been placed in the city by anonymous artist(s) during the '80s and '90s. A total of six statues from this "Anonymous artist" can be found in Amsterdam. The city of Amsterdam became the owner of the sculptures on the promise that the identity of the artist would never be made public. Besides the six sculptures in Amsterdam, there are also two statues that are probably made by this same person, one in Velsen and one in Amersfoort.
The Man with the Violin Case
The man with the violin case at the Tweede Marnixplantsoen appeared in 1982. The iron statue was placed without any anouncements in the middle of the night. The figure (without head) seems to be running to catch tram 10. In one hand he has a violin case and with the other he is holding his hat. Just before the appearence of a new series of anonymous sculptures this one was removed, again without announcement, making people believe it was stolen. Later it was placed back and it turned out to be renovated and repainted in blue. At the beginning of 2011 the statue was removed again to repair the damaged violin case. Again it was fully repainted in clear blue. The sculptor remains unknown.
Het Boomzagertje (The Little Sawyer)
The Boomzagertje appeared in the Leidsebosje in the night before Queensday 1989. This little statue stand on a branch of one of the platanus trees, waiting for its own fall. In May 1998 its tiny hat had disappeared, but this was later either placed back or replaced by a new one. The same had happened before to the little saw he is using.
Partly due to the placement in the night before the birthday of Queen (now princess) Beatrix, there were some speculations that the queen might be the anonymous artist. This speculation might be true as the making and anonymous placement of these statues requires quite some resources. There are however other stories about the identity of the anonymous artist, which might actually be a group of artists.
This small sculpture of a hand on a woman's breast is located between the stones at Oudekerksplein. It is the fourth piece of art made by the anonymous artist. It appeared out of nothing in the middle of the city at the end of February 1993. However, within a week is was removed by the government. This turned out to be easier said than done, as the sculpture was fixed to one meter of concrete. There were several reasons for this removal: the sculpture was causing a lot of noise when people were stepping on it, there was no permit for its placement, and its subject was unappropriate for placement in the middle of the red light district. After a public announcement that the statue would not be placed back, the sculptor presented himself at the department of art of the city. It was decided that the statue would be placed back with some additional insulation to decrease the noise. The city agreed to keep the identity of the sculptor secret and since July 1993, the sculpture can be appreciated at its original location at Oudekerksplein.
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