The first monumental modern sculpture to be placed in the Loop is this sculpture, now called the "Picasso". It was unveiled in the Civic Center Plaza on August 15, 1967. The artist, Pablo Picasso left it untitled, but Chicagoans named it after the artist, calling it the "Picasso”.
This sculpture was initially greeted with lots of controversies. At the time of its installation in 1967, the abstract design, the non-traditional materials and huge scale were all subject of scorn and ridicule ... Art scholars have suggested that the statue is either a portrait of Picasso's wife at the time or his Afghan dog from different angles. Some even interpret it as a horse, a baboon or a Viking Ship.
However, this gift from the artist Picasso, to the people of Chicago, has over time become an icon of the city and a source of civic pride. While opinions of the sculpture’s subject matter vary, it is acknowledged as a monumental achievement in Cubism.
The sculpture is made of Corrosive Tensile ["Cor-Ten"] steel. The steel used in the construction of the sculpture is the same as used for the office building behind it [Civic Center /Richard J. Daley Center].... The steel is designed to form a protective coating of iron oxide (rust) which protects the substrate from further corrosion ... Over time the sculpture and the building has developed the same patina, so it looks like a natural part of the landscape...
Picasso died on April 8, 1973.. before ever visiting the United States to see the completion of his design. Following Picasso's death, the Mayor and members of the City Council in the council meeting on May 9, 1973, publicly paid tribute to the famous artist with a resolution which read, in part, "Pablo Picasso became a permanent part of Chicago, forever tied to the city he admired but never saw, in a country he never visited, on August 15, 1967. It was on that day that the Picasso sculpture in the Civic Center Plaza was unveiled; it has become a part of Chicago, and so has its creator Picasso."
Picasso, who refused to accept payment for his work, designed a 42-inch model of the sculpture that he presented as a "gift to the people of Chicago." The actual sculpture, however, was manufactured by United States Steel Corporation in Gary, Indiana, where it was entirely pre-assembled, then disassembled, and subsequently shipped to the Daley Center to be reassembled in its final form. The steel that was utilized for the exterior of the Daley Center was also used for the Picasso sculpture, and, over time, developed the same patina.
The main building behind the Picasso sculpture, is the Richard J. Daley Center. It is the premier civic center of the City of Chicago in Illinois... consisting mostly of courtrooms and county offices. The Cook County Law Library and County Sheriff's office also reside here. It was designed in the international architectural style by Jacques Brownson of the firm C. F. Murphy Associates and completed in 1965. At the time it was the tallest building in Chicago..
Also check out the maquette for Picasso's Chicago at the Art Institute of Chicago, click here..
The Daley Plaza: click here..
Untitled [Known as Picasso] - by Pablo Picasso click here..
Eternal Flame Memorial.. click here..
Daley Plaza: Fountain click here..
Map for visually impaired.. click here..
Maquette for Picasso's Chicago [Art Institute of Chicago]..