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Collections Browse Walking Man

Title
Walking Man
Artist
George Segal
Date
1988
Dimensions
overall 72 × 36 × 30 inches
Materials
bronze
Location
On view at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Object Details

Type
Sculpture
Accession Number
1988.389
Edition
from an edition of 5 with 2 A.P.’s
Credit Line
Gift of the AT&T Foundation and of the Julius E. Davis family in memory of Julius E. Davis, 1988

artwork entry George Segal, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, 1998

The pensive “everyman” George Segal created for the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden was made, like all his sculpture since the 1950s, from a plaster cast formed directly on a real-life model. Segal recast the work in bronze, applied the patina by hand to impart a rich, painterly quality, and placed the figure not on a pedestal, but on a simple fragment of concrete sidewalk near one of the Garden’s tree-lined walkways. Here, passing visitors are drawn to this lonely, human-scaled figure. Segal acknowledges that his walking man is linked to a long tradition of striding figures in the history of art, beginning with the Egyptian prototype and “on and on through Rodin and Giacometti.” Visitors to the Walker Art Center are well acquainted with one of Segal’s famed “situation” sculptures, The Diner, in which two of his unpainted plaster figures inhabit the spare confines of a real-life coffee shop. It reminds us of the deep isolation that can accompany our encounters in everyday life.

Jenkins, Janet, ed. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Minneapolis, MN: Walker Art Center, 1998, no. 12.

© 1998 Walker Art Center

curriculum resource George Segal, Walking Man (1988) Walker Art Center, 1998

“The archaic Greek walking man’s spine is very erect and he has one foot forward and his arms are straight down and he’s as much Greek as he is Egyptian as he is Greek. It goes on and on through Giacometti.”–George Segal

In the late 1950s American artist George Segal began experimenting with plaster casts taken from life. In 1976 he made his first bronze sculpture, and since then has cast a number of his plaster sculptures in bronze. Segal takes his subjects–sometimes a single figure, such as Walking Man, or a group of figures–from everyday life. He places his figures in common settings and involves them in ordinary activities. The plaster casts are formed directly on real-life models, translating every physical detail of posture and facial expression into the final work. The rather thoughtful and melancholy attitude of this walking man is communicated by his slightly hunched shoulders, his weary expression, and the manner in which he shoves his hands into the pockets of his overcoat. This solitary figure captures an overwhelming sense of the isolation one can encounter in contemporary society.

Text for George Segal, Walking Man (1988), from the curriculum guide The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden: A Garden for All Seasons, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1998.

Copyright 1998 Walker Art Center