Saturday, March 1, 2008

About Art - Chicago Picasso

The Chicago Picasso (often just The Picasso) is an untitled monumental sculpture by Pablo Picasso in Chicago, USA. The sculpture, which was dedicated on 15 August 1967, stands in Daley Plaza in the Chicago Loop . At 50 feet tall, and weighing 162 tons it was the first such major public artwork in Downtown Chicago, and has become a well known landmark. Visitors to Daley Plaza can often be seen climbing on and sliding down the base of the sculpture.

The sculpture was commissioned by the architects of the Richard J. Daley Center in 1963. Picasso completed a maquette of the sculpture in 1965, and approved a final model of the sculpture in 1966. The cost of constructing the sculpture was $351,959.17, paid mostly by three charitable foundations: the Woods Charitable Fund, the Chauncey and Marion Deering McCormick Foundation, and the Field Foundation of Illinois. Picasso himself was offered payment of $100,000 but refused it, stating that he wanted to make a gift of his work,although he never explained what the sculpture was intended to represent.

The sculpture was fabricated by United States Steel Corporation in Gary, Indiana, before being disassembled and relocated to Chicago. Before fabrication of the final steel sculpture was started, a 12 feet tall wooden model was constructed for Picasso to approve, this was eventually sent to the Gary Career Center. Ground was broken in Daley Plaza for the construction of the sculpture on May 25, 1967. The efforts of the City of Chicago to publicize the sculpture—staging a number of press events before the sculpture was completed, and displaying the maquette without a copyright notice—were cited as evidence in a 1970 district court case where the judge ruled that the city's actions had resulted in the sculpture being dedicated to the public domain.

The sculpture was initially met with controversy. One Chicago City Council alderman immediately proposed replacing it with a statue of Ernie Banks. There was speculation on the subject, which ranged from a bird, or aardvark to Picasso's pet Afghan Hound, but a copper maquette is titled "TĂȘte de Baboon" (Baboon Head). Find out more about this great artist at

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