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  • Writer's picturePatricia Dyer

Chicago’s Picasso

Updated: Jul 9, 2021

The Chicago Picasso

It appears that between 1963 and 1974, city officials set out to showcase Chicago as a modern world class city by contracting three internationally acclaimed sculptors (Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Alexander Calder) to produce work that would be displayed throughout the main artery of Chicago - “the loop” or downtown area.

Fun Facts:

  • Picasso never made it to Chicago to witness his sculpture.

  • Picasso left the sculpture untitled, Chicagoans simply refer to it as “The Picasso.”

  • What is it exactly? It remains unclear. Some speculate it could be one of his models or his afghan dog. While others believe it’s reflective of the inspiration attained from African art.

  • Now a Chicago landmark, the sculpture was not originally widely admired. No one really understood the work and it was a bit too modern for most.

  • Picasso refused to accept payment ($100k) for the sculpture. He wanted the work to be a personal gift to Chicago.

  • The Chicago Picasso stands 50ft. tall (15.2 m); weighs 160 tons and was assembled at the nearby US Steel plant.

  • The first of its kind for Chicago. Prior to the sculpture’s 1967 unveiling, major works of art were always of a commemorative nature.

Location- 50 W. Washington St., Chicago, IL

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