The giant Picasso on Bleecker Street

Some New Yorkers love it; others loathe it. But the 36-foot “Bust of Sylvette” has greeted passersby in a plaza on the Village-SoHo border since 1968.

Sylvette has been around long enough to get landmark status—which it achieved in 2008, along with the three I.M. Pei-designed Silver Towers apartment buildings it fronts between Bleecker and Houston Streets.

Technically it’s not even a Picasso sculpture but a “reinterpretation” of his much smaller “Portrait of Sylvette,” completed in 1934.

Pei asked Picasso to design a monument for him, so he had a collaborator recreate Sylvette by sandblasting her into 60 tons of concrete. 

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4 Responses to “The giant Picasso on Bleecker Street”

  1. Josie Says:

    I lived a few blocks away from there at the time. Never cared for it.

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Me too, as a child. It scared me!

  3. Robb Mitchell Says:

    I’m pretty certain you are incorrect making the statement, “…Technically it’s not even a Picasso sculpture but a “reinterpretation”…” If Picasso worked with a collaborator and this piece is based on his drawing from 1934, then it is a Picasso. Most public sculptors collaborate with fabricators, masons, welders, stone-carvers, etc. to build pieces from drawings or scale models. That doesn’t make them any less or work of the artists original piece. When I lived in SoHo and worked at NYU I walked past this piece everyday on my way to work. Not one of my favorite Picasso works of art.

  4. Alex Says:

    Portrait of Sylvete was completed 1954 not 34
    Sylvete David (Lydia Corbett) was born 1934

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