Maquette for On High

  • Alexander Liberman, Maquette for On High, 1978, welded and painted steel on steel base, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the General Services Administration, 1980.49.9

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This sculpture is a maquette for Alexander Liberman's immense steel sculpture in the plaza of the Robert Giamo Federal Building in New Haven, Connecticut. During the 1960s and '70s, the General Services Administration's Art-in-Architecture Program commissioned many large outdoor sculptures to enrich the social and cultural environments around new federal buildings. Liberman was selected for a commission in 1978 and created this small model, along with a full-scale mock-up of the piece, before beginning work on the final sculpture. He was inspired by Bramante's Tempietto, a High Renaissance circular temple in the courtyard of San Pietro in Montorio, Rome, and wanted to build a sculpture from elongated cylinders to create "a sense of verticality and awe."

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"I have always felt that one of the great excitements of . . . monumental sculpture is just this involvement of the spectator with the . . . object. This sort of choreography . . . gives an added excitement to the work’s conception." Alexander Liberman
Maquette for On High
Not on view
23 5/8 x 16 x 16 in. (60.1 x 40.6 x 40.7 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Transfer from the General Services Administration

Mediums Description
welded and painted steel on steel base
  • Study – sculpture model
  • Abstract
Object Number
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