City of Chicago Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Picasso Sculpture

On Tuesday, August 8th, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) hosted a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Chicago Picasso at Daley Plaza. The event was a restaging of the original unveiling held at Daley Plaza in 1967, at which then-Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley and SOM Managing Partner William Hartmann inaugurated the sculpture with thousands of Chicagoans in attendance. 

The 50th anniversary restaging was organized as part of the 2017 Year of Public Art, a year-long celebration of Chicago's significant public art collection. To mark the occasion, the City renamed the celebrated sculpture "Everyone’s Picasso" as a tribute to the artist, who formally donated the work to the people of Chicago upon its completion. The restaging was conceived by artist and historian Paul Durica. Leading Chicago contemporary arts figures, including DCASE Commissioner Mark Kelly, Orbert Davis, Tatsu Aoki, Avery R. Young, and Edra Soto, participated.​

The Chicago Civic Center—now named the Richard J. Daley Center​ in honor of its patron—was jointly designed by SOM, C.F. Murphy, and Loebl Schlossman Bennett & Dart, and completed in 1965. In the 1960s, at the request of William Hartmann, Picasso designed the monumental sculpture for the Civic Center's grand plaza, a public space that continues to serve Chicagoans.​ 

The Chicago Picasso is considered to be Pablo Picasso’s first large-scale civic sculpture in America. The world-renowned sculpture stands 50 feet tall on a base of granite and is constructed of the same Cor-Ten steel as was used in the Civic Center. Learn more about the origins of the sculpture