Jean DuBuffet’s Group of Four Trees Sculpture
Many public works are located in the historic Financial District, with all the promenades surrounding the corporate offices; it is a perfect place for public sculpture and what not. You’ll notice many Minimalist pieces in this area, usually geometric sculptures of iron and steel, which is welcomed but not necessarily inspirational.
In 1969, David Rockefeller commissioned Jean Dubuffet to create a sculpture to be placed in front of the Chase Manhattan Building . The sculpture, Group of Four Trees, towers above the visitor in varying heights, in Dubuffet’s signature loopy, childlike style. It feels as if you are almost walking into a children’s coloring book, with uncolored trees leaping from the pages and growing above you. A fantasy contrast before entering a staunch financial institution! This coloring book effect is seemingly what Dubuffet intended, calling them not sculptures but drawings, which extend and expand into space.
This is one of my favorite remnants of public art from the 1970s, by not only its impressive size and contrast to the metal sculptures nearby, but of the fantastical imagery it evokes when I pass under it.
Who: Jean Dubuffet
What: Group of Four Trees sculpture
Where: One Chase Manhattan Plaza, New York, NY