Steel in the News
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Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 18, 2013 at 1:10 PM.
The Picasso — an untitled monumental steel sculpture in downtown Chicago — was created by the great artist himself and dedicated in 1967 in Daley Plaza as a gift to the people of the city. The 50-ft-tall, 160-ton public artwork is the focal point of the “Picasso and Chicago” exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, which runs through May 12. The steel for the sculpture was donated by U.S. Steel and fabricated and assembled at its Gary, Ind., facility. Photos: AISC
Standing 50 ft tall and weighing more than 160 tons, the Chicago Picasso (often referred to as The Picasso) by the renowned Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso, in Daley Plaza downtown is one of the city’s most famous sculptures and well-known landmarks.
The steel sculpture was commissioned by the architects of the Richard J. Daley Center in 1963 and facilitated by architect William Hartmann of architectural firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. Picasso worked on this commission for two years, combining and modifying sketches and motifs from some of his earlier works in the design of the sculpture. He completed a 42-in. tall maquette, or model, of the sculpture in 1965 and approved a final model of the sculpture the next year.
In the summer of 1967, thousands of people gathered in Daley Plaza to witness the unveiling and dedication of the city’s newest piece of public art. In his dedication letter, Picasso gave the sculpture as a gift to the people of Chicago, without ever explaining what the sculpture was intended to represent, according to the City of Chicago’s official website.
Built of Cor-Ten steel, the same material as the exterior of the Daley Center, the sculpture was fabricated and assembled by the American Bridge Company division of U.S. Steel in Gary, Ind. The left photo (click on the image to enlarge) shows the sculpture under construction in 1965 at the steel plant. The photo, as well as the marquette and sketches of the sculpture, may be seen today at the “Picasso and Chicago” exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, which runs through May 12.