Kees Franse  | Tile wall

Artist: Kees Franse (1924-1982)
Artwork: Tiled wall (1965) 
Collection: Rotterdam municipal collection (1924-1982) 
Acquisition: Doelen percentage scheme for art


Kees Franse, along with Louis van Roode, was one of the founders of the Rotterdam artist group Argus in 1951. The collective primarily painted and exhibited as a group. Commissioned by architect Huig Maaskant, Kees Franse created a façade relief to go above the entrance of the Rijks Automobiel Centrale (RAC), the building on the Hofdijk which now houses the municipal archive. 

The work must have charmed the architects: they asked Franse to decorate the wall to the left of the entrance of the artists' foyer. Franse created a breathtaking drawing in black, white, and gray, with a lot of figurative elements. The work has no title, but features abstract hands, faces, trees, and animals that seem to form an almost musical composition. 

His design, which took shape on 255 fired ceramic tiles, was hidden from view for a long time by a wall placed in front of it, but is visible to the public once again. Kees Franse is best known for his large wooden apples, which are placed along the Heemraadssingel. His 'Schiphol Appel' (1975) is world-famous. Over the years, thousands of travelers have left their names and messages on the work.