Daley Plaza Picasso statue model going on auction at Christie's

October 2, 2013 (CHICAGO)

At Christie's auctions in the Hancock building, it's a viewing that Picasso lovers shouldn't miss. The collection of New york art dealer Jan Krugier is heading to the auction block on November 4 and 5. A couple of Picassos hang on the wall, and one stands alone and for Chicagoans there is no mistaking it. Yes, it's that giant, mysterious face unveiled 46 years ago.

"It is Picasso's test, which is a maquette, or in other words a model for the monumental sculpture that's now in Daley Plaza," said Sharon Kim, director, Christie's New York.

Picasso made two of these models with his own hands and they're exactly the same. This one was kept by Picasso and the other one, now at the Art Institute, was sent to Chicago and used by architects and U.S. Steel in Gary, Indiana as an artist's model.

"The engineers and the architects and the skill of the steel company they were able to create and exact replica in monumental size made by U.S. Steel for Daley Plaza," said Kim.

There's no doubt there's a family resemblance. Just check out the nose and the eyes. But the question still remains: What was Picasso thinking?

"Picasso never revealed exactly what this is. We know that it's a head. Is it the head of a woman. Is it the head of his beloved dog, Kabul, which was an Afghan?" said Kim.

Picasso donated his design to the City of Chicago, but it still cost over $350,000 in donated money to build it. That sounds like a lot but it's nothing compared to what this model might bring at auction.

"We hope between $25-35 million or more," said Kim.

ABC7's Frank Mathie asks, "But it could go up to? Give me a guess."

"The sky's the limit," said Kim.

Christie's in the Hancock building will be open to the public Wednesday only from 9:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

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