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column.jpg

Column, 1963
Robert Engman (b. 1927; M.F.A. 1955)
Location: Art & Architecture Building, on the Chapel Street facade

The coarse, banded walls of Paul Rudolph’s Art & Architecture Building emphasize the verticality of Robert Engman’s twenty-foot reinforced concrete Column. The artist studied and taught sculpture at Yale in the 1950s, contributing this work to the new building shortly before his move to the University of Pennsylvania. Embossed along its front corners are the names of his colleagues and mentors at Yale, including the architect Rudolph and fellow sculptors Josef Albers and James Rosati. Engman created a union of flatness and depth by piercing the pillar’s rectangular faces with irregular tunnels. This honeycomb of holes relocates all stability from the work’s core to its edges. The curved surfaces turn inward, inverting the usual formal properties of a solid round column and making the piece a study in sculptural contradiction. Gift of the artist, made possible by a grant from the Graham Foundation, Chicago, 1963