“We dedicate this celebrated work this morning with the belief that what is strange to us today will be familiar tomorrow.” — Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago, on August 15, 1967, at the unveiling of the CHICAGO PICASSO.
“Pablo Picasso’s first monumental sculpture in America—known simply as the CHICAGO PICASSO— designates the plaza in front of the Chicago Civic Center [now Daley Center] as a public gathering space. The sculpture stands 50 feet tall on a base of granite, and is constructed of the same Cor-Ten steel as the building behind it.
“In the 1960s, at the request of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill [SOM] senior partner William Hartmann, Picasso designed the site-specific sculpture to relate to the Civic Center. Hartmann envisioned the sculpture as an anchor for the center’s large granite plaza. Hartmann traveled to the artist’s home in southeastern France several times, presenting Picasso with photographs of Chicago and drawings of the projected 31-story Civic Center and adjoining plaza. Although Picasso had been sculpting for nearly 60 years, he had yet to create a large-scale civic sculpture.
“Picasso [who never visited the United States during his lifetime] spent over a year developing a maquette that he gifted to the Art Institute of Chicago. Working from the artist’s detailed guidelines, Hartmann supervised SOM’s team of structural engineers as they facilitated construction of the public artwork.” — SOM*
CHICAGO PICASSO, Daley Plaza, 50 West Washington Street, downtown Chicago.
Top: August 1967 unveiling and dedication ceremony of Chicago Picasso, Civic Center plaza, Chicago.
Middle: Pablo Picasso, Chicago Picasso (1967). Image credit: Wiki.
Bottom left: Pablo Picasso. Bottom right: Maquette, 42 inches high. Image credits: SOM and the Art Institute of Chicago.