Art@Site Pablo Picasso The Picasso

Pablo Picasso


The Picasso

Civic Center Plaza
The Chicago Picasso (often just The Picasso) is an untitled monumental sculpture by Pablo Picasso in Chicago, Illinois. The sculpture, dedicated on August 15, 1967, in Daley Plaza in the Chicago Loop, is 50 feet (15.2 m) tall and weighs 162 short tons (147 t). The Cubist sculpture by Picasso was the first such major public artwork in Downtown Chicago, and has become a well known landmark.
It is known for its inviting jungle gym-like characteristics. 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. The commission was facilitated by the architect William Hartmann of the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. 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, stating that he wanted to make his work a gift.
The sculpture was initially met with controversy. Before the Picasso sculpture, public sculptural artwork in Chicago was mainly of historical figures. One derisive Chicago City Council alderman, John Hoellen, immediately proposed replacing it with a statue of Ernie Banks, and Chicago publicist and science fiction writer Algis Budrys erected a giant pickle on the proposed site. There was speculation on the subject, which has ranged from a bird, or aardvark to Picasso's pet Afghan Hound, a baboon head, or the Egyptian deity Anubis.
Newspaper columnist Mike Royko, covering the unveiling of the sculpture, wrote:"Interesting design, I’m sure. But the fact is, it has a long stupid face and looks like some giant insect that is about to eat a smaller, weaker insect." Royko did credit Picasso with understanding the soul of Chicago."Its eyes are like the eyes of every slum owner who made a buck off the small and weak. And of every building inspector who took a wad from a slum owner to make it all possible.... You’d think he’d been riding the L all his life."