Loet Vanderveen

Loet Vanderveen’s bronze animal sculptures are coveted possessions worldwide. Each piece reflects the love and appreciation the artist developed for animals at a young age in Rotterdam. The highly stylized poses and interpretations lend insight into his thought process and vision.

His creations feature a combination of polished bronze and patina (surface color) that just lift the appeal of the piece. Vanderveen developed his own patina technique through a study of Chinese glazing methods for ceramics. Keep reading to learn about this iconic artist and how his love of animals not only inspired him as a youth, but kept him inspired after the tragedies that befell his family during and following WWII.

Portrait of artist Loet Vanderveen sitting with his bronze horse sculpture.

About Loet Vanderveen

Loet Vanderveen’s bronze bears are iconic, as California Governor Arnold Schwarzenggar would give them as gifts to official dignitaries or heads of state. Sculptor Loet Vanderveen brought an incredible sympathy to every animal he crafted. His bronze sculptures captured an animal’s signature pose, revealing the essence of both its form and its mannerisms. Vanderveen was always exhaustive in his research and went on many African safaris for first-hand impressions and visual inspiration.

As a youth in Rotterdam, Holland, Loet visited the area’s Victorian-era zoo daily, planting the seeds for that love of animals. On May 14th, 1940, Rotterdam was bombed and the city was virtually flattened. Loet Vanderveen’s life would never be the same: he was alone. His mother had died in a car accident when he was eight, and shortly after the bombing, his father died of a staph infection when no medicine was available to treat him. With his half-Jewish heritage, it became critical for Loet to leave occupied Holland, and he did so via a bicycle over the Belgian border.

He joined the Dutch army and after the war, Loet lived in Paris and London where he designed sportswear.

He later moved to New York City to learn the challenging art of reduced glazes by studying with a master ceramicist. The cutthroat business lifestyle of the city was not ideal for Loet, and he and his new partner, the painter Alba Hayward, moved to California — where they would purchase 20 acres of land in Big Sur.

Loet Vanderveen built a large ceramic studio with Hayward and spent the next years creating ceramic sculptures of animals with bronze tusks and horns. After rebuilding his home from the 1985 fire, Vanderveen began working fully in bronze for his animal sculptures.

This new medium brought Loet Vanderveen into the international spotlight. His unique combination of patina and polished bronze finishes added a perfect finishing touch to his works. Loet Vanderveen sculptures are now in the permanent exhibits of museums worldwide. Vanderveen’s collectors included political figures, champions of sport, movie stars, wildlife organizations and heads of state—these diverse art collectors are united by an appreciation for the art of a Dutch boy who loved animals, and grew up to be one of the most famous sculptors of our time.


We are honored to offer one of the few comprehensive collections of Loet Vanderveen sculptures available worldwide, here at Marcus Ashley Gallery. Browse Loet’s work below, and get in touch with our art consultants with any questions about your order.

Loet Vanderveen’s Artistic Legacy at Marcus Ashley Gallery

Given his conscious focus on bronze animal sculptures, Vanderveen’s work can sometimes belie his incredible skill with the metal. Plainly said, Loet Vanderveen was among the most famous sculptors of our time. His passing away means his available creations are all that will ever be, making them that much more exclusive.

If you’d like to understand more about Vanderveen’s methods and his sculpting technique, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our art consultants. They’ll be happy to talk to you about what makes a Vanderveen piece so special.

Our services page has information on everything Marcus Ashley Gallery can do to enhance your art ownership experience. This includes a range of financing and layaway options. We ship internationally and every delivery is fully insured until it reaches your doorstep. We also issue certificates of replacement value, so that you can accurately report the current value of your Loet Vanderveen bronze animal sculpture.