Picasso at USF

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USF officials gathered around a mock-up of Bust of a Woman by Picasso.
USF officials looking at model for ‘Bust of a Woman.’ USF Photograph Collections. USF Libraries Digital Collections. https://digitalcommons.usf.edu/usf_photos/202/

If you’ve ever had a tour of Tampa Campus Special Collections, then you have probably seen the mock-up of a Picasso sculpture that never came to be. Originally planned to be erected at USF in the 1970s by the sculptor Carl Nesjar, the sculpture was meant to be over 100 feet tall. Digital Dialogs delved into some of its history in our post: USF Curiosities:  A Pablo Picasso sculpture 10 stories tall?.

Recently, additional material from the USF Archives has been digitized. These items provide another glimpse into the monumental sculpture that, if it had been erected, would have drastically changed the feel of USF’s Tampa campus from what we know it to be today. A slide reel and narration from the original funding campaign have been reassembled to give an idea of the proposed plans, promises, and expectations of the project:

The slide reel and narration take their place, in the USF Proposed Picasso Statue Collection, alongside material already in Digital Collections that provide information on the original plans and intentions, like the WUSF press conference and interview with Carl Nesjar:

Screenshot of the Oracle Article by Kathleen Moore.
Moore, Kathleen, “The Oracle, May 16, 1973” (1973). The Oracle (Print Editions). 69. https://digitalcommons.usf.edu/usf_oracle_spc/69

The Oracle devoted near constant coverage to the sculpture and funding campaign at the time. You can search keywords or check out a few select articles:

The story of the Picasso sculpture has also been captured by our USF 50th Anniversary Oral History Project:

The USF Proposed Picasso Statue digital collection will continue to grow as we locate more material in the archives that illuminates the story of the Picasso statue project. If you have not seen the mock-up of Bust of a Woman, the Picasso sculpture that never came to be, you can make an appointment to visit Special Collections, Tampa Library.  We would love to see you!

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