Picasso Statue

Art & Culture

A splendid Picasso re-creation among "Silver Towers"

Picasso Statue greenwich village art

About Picasso Statue

 & why it made the Carpe City list

In the courtyard between the mammoth NYU dormitories, you will see a colossal Picasso statue made of stone in the cubist style. It is a reinterpretation of Picasso’s original work, “Portrait of Sylvette,” and one of only two public outdoor Picasso sculptures in the Western Hemisphere.

The surrounding dorm buildings, called the Silver Towers, are the work of renowned architect I.M. Pei. Created in the 1960s, the Towers won numerous architectural awards and were designated a landmark in 2008. They were named one of the “10 buildings That Climax an Era” by Fortune magazine in 1966.

Pei is a Chinese-born American architect and winner of the prestigious Pritzker Prize; he is famous for his abstract and geometric building forms. One of his most well-known works is the large glass pyramid at the entrance to the Louvre museum in Paris.

Pei decided to enhance the courtyard of his Silver Towers with an enlarged version of one of the five busts from Picasso’s 1934 series inspired by a woman named “Sylvette David.” Pei hired Carl Nesjar and Sigurd Frager to recreate the bust in 1967. The artisans used sandblasted cement to craft the enlarged piece that stands 36 feet tall and weighs 60 tons.

Carpe City Trivia

What else can you tell me about the Silver Towers and I.M. Pei?

The Silver Towers complex consists of three 30-story towers. The land was assembled in the early 1960s by Robert Moses and given to NYU as part of an urban renewal project for "slum clearance" and campus expansion. However, objections arose over the loss of housing on the site at the time. Therefore, NYU was required to erect an affordable residential co-op within the development.

Then an up-and-coming architect, I. M. Pei was chosen to design the complex. This became a watershed design in his career. A boldly inventive work with cutting-edge applications of technology and materials. He was innovative in his use of space, sculptural form, and urban planning.

By: Laureen Mocsari

New York City Tours

Great Places Near Picasso Statue

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory greenwich village

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Building

The Fire that Sparked the New Deal and Forever Changed the American Labor Movement

29 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003
judson memorial church exterior greenwich village
Art & Culture

Judson Memorial Church

Where to Find Justice, Art, Worship, and...The Gym?

55 Washington Square S, New York, NY 10012
Edward Hopper House Greewich Village
Art & Culture

Edward Hopper House

Home to the Famous Realist Painter for over 50 Years

3 Washington Square North, New York, NY 10012
The Row closeup washington square
Art & Culture

The Row

A Storied Block of Iconic Ionics

9 Washington Square North, New York, NY 10003
Edgar Allan Poe building greenwich village
Art & Culture

Edgar Allan Poe

"Nothing more" is far from reality for this historical location!

85 West 3rd Street, New York, NY 10012
1908 Merchant's Building Real Estate Record Builder's Guide

1908 Merchants Building | NYC History | Noho

Lions and Owls in Architecture, Oh My!

693 Broadway, New York, NY 10012
washington square park arch wide greenwich village landmark
Art & Culture

Washington Square Arch

A Village Landmark with a Unique History

1 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10003
washington square park fountain greenwich village
Art & Culture

Washington Square Park

Iconic Greenspace Considered the Heart of Greenwich Village

14 Washington Square N, New York, NY 10011
Brooks Brothers 670 Broadway Noho History
Art & Culture

Brooks Brothers & 670 Broadway

An ornamental building with a lavish past

670 Broadway, New York, NY 10012

More Great Walking Tours


Sign up to our monthly e-mail about the latest and greatest places for food, wine art and history

Skip to content