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.
© 1998 Walker Art Center