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Picasso Statue Used to Create Chicago Art Icon Fetches No Bids at Auction

By Lizzie Schiffman Tufano | November 5, 2013 8:41am | Updated on November 5, 2013 8:51am
 A maquette, or study, created by Picasso in advance of his Daley Plaza sculpture, was on display at Christie's Chicago.
Picasso 'Tete' Maquette
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DOWNTOWN — A small-scale, sheet-iron study that Spanish artist Pablo Picasso created before making his iconic sculpture that now sits in Daley Plaza — earlier expected to fetch $25 million to $35 million at auction — reportedly failed to draw a single bid Monday.

The piece was offered at a Christie's auction in New York.

The model, titled "Tête" (the French word for "head"), is a miniature sculpture made of cut sheet iron, one of many that the Spanish artist created before finishing the untitled art piece.

"It's a great piece, but it's been in several art fairs in the last five years, Paul Gray, director of Richard Gray Gallery in Chicago told Bloomberg news.

The piece was one of several pieces from art dealer Jan Krugier that attracted no bids.

"Most of the things that didn't sell were way overestimated," Gray said.

The estimated value of the model was influenced by the significance of the final sculpture it informed, Sharon Kim, Christie's New York's international director of impressionist and modern art, said last month.

"Because of the great public awareness of that piece, there's a keen interest in the maquette that helped produce it," Kim had said.

Picasso worked on the public art piece for two years, creating dozens of sketches and models before unveiling the so-called "Richard J. Daley Center Sculpture" to a lukewarm reception in August of 1967.

Nine years ago, the artist's grandson, Olivier Widmaier Picasso, claimed he'd identified the subject of the abstract Daley Plaza sculpture: artist Lydia Corbett, nicknamed "The Girl with the Ponytail," whose signature hairstyle may have informed the arching metalwork in the sculpture's background.