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Picasso’s Bust of Sylvette

New York University seems to have bought up this entire city. The Brutalist “Silver Towers” off Bleecker Street were designed in by I.M.Pei’s (who is most famous for designing the pyramid glass structure at the Louvre in Paris) firm in the 1960s to be used as student housing. Pei personally chose to enlarge one of the five busts from Picasso’s 1934 series inspired by a woman named Sylvette David to adorn the courtyard, and was responsible for its construction, as Picasso never set foot in the United States. I love the view from the sidewalk that goes through the property- you’ve got Pei’s gleaming towers, Sylvette, and Forrest Myers’ Gateway to Soho all in one gorgeous view (plus the beautifully ornate building that is now the Angelika film center).
Picasso, Bust of Sylvette, NYU, Noho

Using sandblasted cement, Pei hired Carl Nesjar and Sigurd Frager to recreate the bust in 1967, which was enlarged to 36 feet and weighs 60 tons. The rough cement of the giant bust compliments the harsh surface of the three identical apartment towers which surround it. It was declared a landmark in 2008.

Who: Pablo Picasso

What: Bust of Sylvette (reinterpretation)

Where: University Village, 505 Laguardia Place

6 Responses to “Picasso’s Bust of Sylvette”
  1. Can u believe that Picasso never even set foot in NYC?- Picasso’s Bust of Sylvette via @artnerdnewyork

  2. Believe it or not, Picasso never set a foot in New York!

  3. Odette says:

    Therefore it was a huge surprise to everybody when the layer transpired and out from the blue came
    Viktor Grow.

  4. Nancy Eder says:

    Picasso never set foot in the U.S. much less NYC! Yet this statue supposedly best viewed doom the 4th floor was designed for this spot said the engineer who blasted the “painting” out of the cement to reveal the basalt rock from within. Don’t miss it when you visit Greenwich Village.

  5. I am Sylvette David and I have seen that there is a mistake in the writing above. I was Picasso’s muse in 1954 not 1934! If you want to see the drawings and sculptures that inspired that sculpture outside the University you could buy the catalogue from the 2014 exhibition in Bremen, Germany. It’s called ‘Sylvette, Sylvette, Sylvette’, and the exhibition contained all the artwork that Picasso made inspired by me.

  6. Art Vandal says:

    I pissed on this sculpture after a night of drinking in the salad days of my green youth.

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