as one of the greatest American Pop Artists, George Segal’s figures are unmistakable. Segal grew up in New York City and attended New York
University and the Pratt Institute. The artist began his artistic career
as a painter and a student of Hans Hoffman. He gradually turned to sculpture because it enabled him to place humans in actual space. Like his fellow Pop
Artists, Segal attempted to demystify art and make it ordinary and accessible. Segal often said that his goal was to capture
the paradox of individual solitude in the midst of populous places. These figures are placed in an actual environment of a
mundane situation, such as a lunch counter, movie ticket booth, bus interior, or, as in this case, a park bench. His works
are usually created in plaster cast from an actual human figure and sometimes recast in bronze. Segal’s work expresses
the loneliness and tensions of modern life. His sculptures have often been compared to the paintings of Edward Hopper, a fellow American who imbued his work with a sence of mystery and loneliness. Both men captured the moment
by creating snapshots of modern life.
Three Figures and Four Benches,
is an excellent example of Segal’s work as three figures are posed in an ordinary situation as if frozen in time. The
three figures, intentionally rough and unfinished, sit near each other but do not communicate with each other. All three figures
stare off into space wrapped up in their own thoughts. The viewer is forces to contemplate their relation-ship to each other
and with their own environment.
What was going on the world during the decade this sculpture was completed?
1972 J. Utzon completes the construction of the Sydney Opera House
1974-79 Judy Chicago creates The Dinner Party, the first large scale collaborative feminist work of art.
1974 Richard Nixon resigns from presidency; Gerald Ford becomes 38th President
1975 - 80 Piazza d’Italia constructed in New Orleans, heralding postmodernism.
1977 Apple II, the first personal computer, goes on sale
1979 Margaret Thatcher becomes first female British Prime Minister