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03718_Cambridge_MIT_Picasso_1975.058

PICASSO, Pablo

Malaga, Spain 1881 - Paris 1973

Maker: Nesjar, Carl (1920-2015 )

Figure découpée

Cut out Figure

executed by Carl Nesjar in 1975 from Picasso's maquette of 1958

bétongravure (cast concrete with aggregate interior, engraved by sansblasting)

statue

Dimensions (HxWxD): 138 x 96 x 5.5 in.

Acc. No.: 1975.058

Credit Line: Purchased with funds made available through an anonymous gift to MIT

Photo credit: http://listart.mit.edu/audio-guide


Provenance

  • 1975, May, cast and installed at MIT, Sloan School of Management, Arthur D. Little Building, Back Courtyard (E60)
  • Purchased with funds made available through an anonymous gift to MIT

Bibliography

  • MIT's website, 17 October 2011

Related works

  • This sculpture grew out of a series of pen and ink notebook drawings done on May 11, 1958, of birds in flight and owls, none of which, however, correspond in all features to the sculpture.
    Model originally executed in 1958 in oil on wood and represents a bird with head and beak to the right, tail to the left, feet below, and spread wings above.
    In 1963, the first of the concrete casts of Figure découpée was made by Norwegian artist Carl Nesjar (1920-2015). It was cast again in 1964 in the same size.
    In 1965 it was further enlarged in another cast to 16' 6" high. The second cast is in Halsingborg, Sweden; the third is in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam.

Comment

  • MIT's website, 17 October 2011:
    MIT's Figure découpée (Cut-Out Figure) is one of the cut-out sculptures conceived during the 1950s. It was originally executed in 1958 in oil on wood and represents a bird with head and beak to the right, tail to the left, feet below, and spread wings above. Figure découpée grew out of a series of pen and ink notebook drawings done on May 11, 1958, of birds in flight and owls, none of which, however, correspond in all features to the sculpture. In 1956 Picasso met the Norwegian artist Carl Nesjar (1920-2015) who introduced him to a process of concrete casting called betongravure (concrete engraving). Betongravure was developed in Oslo by the architect Erling Viksjø and the engineer Sverre Jystad. Nesjar adapted the process for the enlargement to monumental scale of Picasso's planar sculpture. A wooden form that reproduces the outline shape of the original sculpture is built and filled first with an aggregate of dark gravel or crushed stones and then with poured concrete that binds and faces the aggregate. A template is made from the painted lines and areas of tone on the original wood or metal sculpture then the concrete surface is sandblasted through the template, exposing the color and grain of the aggregate underneath. This method permits furrows of varying depth and width to be cut and areas of tone and texture to be revealed. Picasso had long desired to make monumental sculptures; betongravure made available to him a technique suited to the translation of his recent planar sculptures into durable materials on a monumental scale. Picasso entrusted Nesjar with the enlargement and fabrication of his sculpture in concrete. Their collaboration was most productive during the 1960s. In 1963, the first of the concrete casts of Figure découpée was made. It was cast again in 1964 in the same size and in 1965 was further enlarged in another cast to 16' 6" high. The second cast is in Halsingborg, Sweden; the third is in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam. MIT's sculpture stands 11'6" high, and was cast and installed in May 1975.