Wally Elenbaas | Marmer-intarsia

Artist: Wally Elenbaas 
Artwork: Marble intarsia (1966)
Collection: Rotterdam municipal collection 
Acquisition: Rotterdamse Marmer Industrie (RMI)

Wally Elenbaas was part of the post-war collective Groep R, alongside Louis van Roode and Benno Wissing. The artist was married to the Jewish photographer Esther Hartog and was active in the resistance movement. Even before the war Elenbaas used his ‘labour photography’ to denounce fascism and national socialism. He was awarded the Stichting Kunstenaarsverzet award in 1960 for the role he played as an artist in the resistance movement. He was awarded the Rotterdam Ereprijs in 2006. Elenbaas was a talented graphic artist, photographer and monumental artist. He lived and worked in Katendrecht all his life. His former home (as well as the floor below) are now home to Verhalenhuis Belvédère (Belvédère city story centre), which preserves the memory of his and his wife’s life’s work. Together they photographed subjects taken from their personal lives.

Elenbaas made a large number of monumental works to be found in and outside Rotterdam, including a beautiful wall for the Unilever office. He was given a prominent spot in de Doelen: the floor leading up to de Grote Zaal. Elenbaas designed a beautiful semi-abstract intarsia for the marble floor. The work was funded by the Rotterdam Marmer Industrie (Rotterdam marble industry), a company that had been given a gigantic assignment with the construction of de Doelen. The building features over twenty different types of marble, spanning 4000 square meters. The marble was imported from Italy and Switzerland.