Lucebert's (Lubertus Jacobus Swaanswijk) (1924 - 1994) talent was discovered when he started working for his father after school. After half a year of art school, he chose to be homeless between 1938 and 1947. In 1947, a Franciscan convent offered him a roof over his head, in exchange for a huge mural painting. Because the nuns could not appreciate his work, they had it painted over with white paint entirely.
He belonged to the Dutch literary movement of De Vijftigers. They were highly influenced by the European avant-garde movement COBRA. So was Lucebert, especially in his early work. His art reflects a rather pessimistic view on the world.
His strong personality appealed to many. As a poet he laid foundation for a revolutionary innovation of Dutch poetry.
Most of his poems were collected in Gedichten 1948-1965. After this period of writing poetry, he worked mostly on visual arts, that was called figurative-expressionist from the Sixties.
Lucebert's sentence "Alles van waarde is weerloos" ("All things of value are defenceless") on a building in Rotterdam
Well known is his line "Alles van waarde is weerloos" (All things of value are defenceless) from the poem De zeer oude zingt (The very old sings). This line was put on top of the office building of an insurance company in Rotterdam (near the Blaak station) in neon letters, including his name, in the 1980s or earlier. It wasn't the first but certainly the most prominent and today three more buildings in the area feature such writing on the wall. The city's central library is just across the street and reads "Heel de wereld is mijn vaderland - Erasmus", all the world is my fatherland - Erasmus.
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