Philly’s Iconic Artwork

April 17, 2012 3:19 PM

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Though some of Philadelphia’s historic architectural gems could even be seen as iconic works of art, the city is also filled with true artistic treasures. Philly has been home to some of the world’s greatest artists: Thomas Eakins, The Calders, The Wyeths and Mary Cassatt, to name a few. There’s no doubt that at some point while strolling the city streets, you will be faced with a sculpture, painting or even a medium that you have never seen before.
clothespin Phillys Iconic Artwork

(credit: Thinkstock)

Clothespin
Located at Center Square Plaza
15th and Market Street
oldenburgvanbruggen.com

Hours: Viewable at any time
Price: Free

One of the most controversial pieces of public art found in Philadelphia is the Clothespin by Claes Oldenburg. The outdoor steel structure stands 45 feet tall and is located directly across from West entrance of City Hall. According to The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority’s Fine Arts Program, the piece was commissioned by Jack Wolgin, a Philadelphia real estate developer and philanthropist, in 1974. Many feel the Clothespin is an iconic representation of the pop art movement. The structure is seen as more than just a household item by a lot of art enthusiasts and actually resembles two people embracing to many. The never-ending argument over this Philadelphia landmark seems to be, “Is this art?”

Related: Top Spots To View Presidential History In Philadelphia

swannfountain Phillys Iconic Artwork

(credit: Thinkstock)

The Swann Memorial Fountain
Logan Square
20th and the Parkway
www.visitphilly.com

Hours: Viewable at any time
Price: Free

The Calder family has a long history with the city of Philadelphia. At least three iconic pieces of art in the city were created by three generations of Calders. Although many would argue over which sculpture is the most iconic, chances are the most popular would be the Swann Memorial Fountain. The Fountain is located at Logan Square on Benjamin Franklin Parkway and attracts the most tourists during the hot summer months. The memorial was constructed in honor of the late Dr. Wilson Cary Swann, the founder of the Philadelphia Fountain Society, and its design is symbolic to Native Americans and includes streams that surround the Philadelphia area.

Related: The ‘Always Sunny’ Guide to Philadelphia

love park credit fairmount park organization Phillys Iconic Artwork

(credit: Farmount Park)

Love Park
16th and JFK Boulevard
www.fairmountpark.org

Hours: Viewable at any time
Price: Free

This famous sculpture is the perfect homage to the City of Brotherly Love. The Love sculpture was designed by Robert Indiana and placed in JFK plaza for the country’s 1976 bicentennial celebration. The plaza has since been renamed “Love Park” because of the popular landmark.

dreamgarden Phillys Iconic Artwork

(Photo by J.S. Clark)

The Tiffany Mural
“The Dream Garden”
The Curtis Center
699 Walnut Street, Philadelphia
(215) 238-6450
USHistory.org

Hours: Mon to Fri – 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sat – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Price: Free

“The Dream Garden” is also a historic object, which makes it right at home in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The Louis C. Tiffany mural, of the famed jewelry family, is located at the East entrance of the Curtis Center. Legendary illustrator Maxfield Parrish designed the artwork, which Tiffany then executed. The piece was commissioned by Edward Bok, the senior editor of Curtis Publishing, home to such publications as Ladies Home Journal and The Saturday Evening Post. The mural was constructed in 1916 and is open to the public for viewing.

grossclinic Phillys Iconic Artwork

(credit: jefferson.edu)

The Gross Clinic
Jefferson Alumni Hall
Thomas Jefferson University
1020 Locust Street
(215) 955-7750
www.jefferson.edu

Hours: Mon to Sat – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sun – Noon to 4 p.m.
Price: Free

It took a lot of effort to keep one of Philadelphia’s most iconic pieces of artwork in the city when Jefferson University decided to sell Thomas Eakins’ most famous painting, “The Gross Clinic,” at auction. Luckily, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts pulled their resources and raised enough money to keep the cherished painting here. According to the University, the painting depicts one of the University’s most beloved Professors, Dr. Samuel D. Gross, giving surgical instructions to his students. Today, Eakins’ iconic portrait of medical history is considered one of the greatest depictions of American art.

Related: ‘The Gross Clinic’ is back on display

Let us know which of Philadelphia’s top works of art is your favorite. Sound off in the comments section below.

best of philly screen shot4 Phillys Iconic ArtworkHead to Philadelphia’s Best Of pages for more local tips on family fun, shopping, nightlife, food, culture and more!

Christina Thompson is a freelance travel writer living in Philadelphia. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.


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