Woman Looking Through a Window (1980)

by George Segal (1924 - 2000)

Photo Caption: Photo Alec Rogers © 2014 for the Association for Public Art
  • Title

    Woman Looking Through a Window

  • Artist

    George Segal (1924 - 2000)

  • Year

    1980; installed 1981

  • Location

    615 Chestnut Street

  • Medium

    White bronze, Lexan plastic, unbreakable glass, polyester-dipped fabric

  • Dimensions

    Height 8′; width 3’4″; depth 2’2″

  • Themes

    Women and Public Art

Commissioned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority

Owned by the property owner

At A Glance

  • Artist George Segal was one of the most widely respected sculptors of the twentieth century

  • The artist introduced everyday objects and elements into his works, and became known for sculptures of people in natural situations

  • The work was deliberately designed to encourage viewer interaction

Peering through her window, partially hidden behind the shade, a woman studies the passersby. Her arms are folded, and she appears to have been standing there for some time. One bare leg emerges rather provocatively from her robe. Passersby glance back at her, and some walk around behind the window for a better look.

The observer outside the window, looking in, can change perspective by stepping behind the sculpture to become (like the female figure itself) an insider looking out.

Her creator, George Segal, was one of the most widely respected sculptors of the twentieth century. From the beginning of his career he experimented with unusual materials – chicken wire, burlap, medical bandages soaked in plaster. He introduced everyday objects and architectural elements into his works, and he became known for sculptures of people in natural situations.

Woman Looking Through a Window, commissioned as part of the Redevelopment Authority’s Percent for Art program, uses a combination of materials: bronze with a white industrial finish for the figure and the window frame; a clear, strong plastic for the window panes; and polyester-dipped fabric for the curtains. Segal deliberately designed the work to encourage viewer interaction. The observer outside the window, looking in, can change perspective by stepping behind the sculpture to become (like the female figure itself) an insider looking out.

Adapted from Public Art in Philadelphia by Penny Balkin Bach (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1992).

Woman Looking Through a Window artwork
Photo Alec Rogers for the Association for Public Art

 

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