André Volten Dutch, 1925-2002


The heavier, the better, seems to have been André Volten's (1925-2002) adage. He worked a lifetime in steel, one of the toughest and most difficult materials to work with. He was one of the most sought-after sculptors for public space in the 1970s and 1980s. Volten was a master at finding a harmonious relationship between sculpture, architecture, design and urban space.


His work has been set up in many prominent places in the Netherlands and Germany. Examples include monumental sculptures at the IJ bank in Amsterdam, De Nederlandsche Bank, the Stopera in Amsterdam, Jaarbeursplein in Utrecht, Bezuidenhout in The Hague, in the center of Duisburg and the European Patent Office in Munich. The shapes that Volten used were simple; the column, cube and sphere keep recurring in his oeuvre. That seems simple, but with these basic forms that he always applied and with which he varied endlessly, a virtuoso design of public space was created.


André Volten grew up in Andijk, the Netherlands on the IJsselmeer. After the war, he left for Amsterdam where he visited the Institute for Applied Arts Education, the predecessor of the current Rietveld Academy. With the desire to learn to weld, he volunteered at the Nederlandse Dok- en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij in 1954. In this way, in order to master the processing of the material, he became a metalworker at the shipyard for several years. At the workplace he worked under the "iron regime", but occasionally also got to work on his own. He offered one of his first free works to the Keukenhof, Lisse. His first assignment, for the Nieuwe Lyceum in Hilversum, followed shortly after and his name was established.