Lex Horn | Orkestmotieven

Artist: Lex Horn (1916-1968)
Work of art: Orkestmotieven (1956/1966) 
Collection: Rotterdam municipal collection
Acquisition: Koninklijke Verenigde Tapijtfabrieken


Just like the Rotterdam Marmer Industrie, the Koninklijke Verenigde Tapijtfabrieken (‘royal united carpet factories’), founded in 1919 in Moordrecht, had their work cut out for them at de Doelen. And, like the former, this company also gifted the concert hall a monumental artwork: a tapestry applied to the red brick façade of the Van Cappellenzaal on the ground floor. Today the tapestry can be found against the red wall in de Jurriaanse Foyer. It was made by Lex Horn, an artist hailing from Nijmegen, preceded by his reputation in Dutch monumental and post-war art. His glass appliqué technique was tremendous, and his tapestries possess a unique, colorful beauty. He was an advocate for monumental art in the Netherlands and in 1951, he founded and chaired the Vereniging van Beoefenaars der Monumentale Kunsten (‘association of practitioners of the monumental arts’).

The headquarters of the Koninklijke Verenigde Tapijtfabrieken (KVT) were located in Rotterdam initially, but the building was destroyed during the bombing of the city in 1940. During the interbellum, the company had branches in France and Asia, with showrooms in Amsterdam and Groningen. KVT produced carpets, runners, rugs, and mats, utilizing materials such as wool and coir. Their products were both machine-knotted and hand-knotted.

Lex Horn's carpets typically feature vibrant colors, but the tapestry made in 1956, which was gifted to de Doelen by the KVT, is notably restrained in its use of color (black-gray-blue-white). However, the work’s theme beautifully complements the concert hall: Horn referred to his work as ‘Orkestmotieven’ (‘orchestral motifs’). The tapestry (originally intended to double as a rug) is a gem of Dutch textile arts and contrasts beautifully with the red wall of the Jurriaanse Foyer.

The work was cleaned and restored by conservator-restorer Sadegh Memarian of ICAT Textielrestauratie in 2023.