The realized sculpture for Richard J. Daley Center by Pablo Picasso

In 1963, Pablo Picasso was approached by architect William Hartmann of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to create a public work of art for Chicago’s new civic center. Picasso accepted, and Hartmann, acting on behalf of the city and then Mayor Richard J. Daley, presented him with a check for $100,000 which the artist promptly refused, stating, “This is my gift to the people of Chicago.” Picasso created two steel maquettes of his design for the city. He kept one for himself and the other was sent to the architects for planning purposes. Engineers created exact technical drawings of the maquette to use in fabrication, but ultimately the design had to be altered slightly to support the fifty-foot tall corten steel structure. Picasso later gifted his maquette to the Art Institute of Chicago where it resides today. In 1967, using the technical drawings as a blueprint, a replica of the maquette was crafted in corten steel (Picasso’s material of choice for this project) with the exact proportions of Art Institute example. This replica, the present lot, closely resembles the full-scale sculpture in Daley Plaza as both examples have been enjoyed outdoors for over 50 years.

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