Crusoe Umbrella

Public Art in Iowa

The State of Iowa has a rich art culture that includes many wonderful works of public art. These artworks may be commissioned by the state, by private organizations, or even by generous individuals, and can be found at airports, in hospitals, schools and universities, and even alongside highways! The Daily Palette is happy to feature these works created for the enrichment of our communities and the delight of our visitors.

Crusoe Umbrella, Cor-Ten steel, painted with polyurethane enamel, 37' x 37' x 58', 1979

Working with his wife, Coosje van Bruggen, renowned Pop artist Claes Oldenburg created this fabulous giant umbrella specifically to be placed in what is now known as Cowles Commons in Des Moines! According to the Des Moines Public Art Foundation, "This iconic sculpture . . . was fabricated by Lippincott, Inc. in North Haven, Connecticut. The engineer is J. Robert Jennings. The public work of art was commissioned in September 1978 by the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines, with a matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and donations from local sources. It was installed November 27, 1979 and inaugurated November 29, 1979." Visit their website to learn more about this wonderfully whimsical work of art!

Des Moines Public Art Foundation

This page was first displayed
on April 14, 2017

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