Just off Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, in a nondescript courtyard between tall NYU buildings, rises a 60-ton concrete sculpture that many immediately recognize as a Picasso. Which is only partially correct.
In 1967 Norweigan sculptor Carl Nesjär created the 36 foot tall Bust of Sylvette, an enlargement of Picasso's sculpture of the same name from 1954.
I.M. Peicommissioned the work in 1966 as he designed the complex, which consists of three 32-story apartment buildings known today as Silver Towers. Picasso assisted Nesjär with the scaled enlargement, construction material, and its placement in the plaza.
But who, pray tell, was Sylvette?
Born in Paris in 1934, by age 20 Sylvette David was living on the French Riviera with her English fiance, the sculptor and designer Tobias Jellinek, and her mother. She met Picasso at an exhibition where he bought one of Mssr. Jellinek's chairs. The couple delivered the chair to Picasso's studio the next day, and he asked her to pose. Over the next 3 months she was the subject of more than 40 paintings, drawings and sculptures by the great Spanish master.
Today Sylvette is a painter and ceramicist. She lives in the United Kingdom under the name Lydia Corbett.