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Photo: Paul Macapia

Bunyon's Chess


Mark di Suvero

American, born 1933

The criss-crossing steel beams of Mark di Suvero's Bunyon's Chess operate like broad brushstrokes drawn in space, a vocabulary that was radically new in sculpture at the time it was made. Created specifically for outdoor presentation in Seattle, Bunyon's Chess, the artist's first private commission, was made with wood as the prominent element in counterpoint to the structure of stainless steel. Di Suvero's interest in sculpture's kinetic qualities (inspired by Alexander Calder), and his use of found objects have remained constants in his career. His numerous public and private commissions, often on a monumental scale, are located worldwide.

Stainless steel and wood, 22 ft. H, Gift of the Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, 2016.17.1, © Mark di Suvero

Provenance: The artist; Commissioned from artist by Virginia and Bagley Wright, Seattle, 1965.

Now on view at Olympic Sculpture Park

Unity and joy. That's why I like to suspend elements from the beams of my works, so they can interact with the wind and other forces.

Mark di Suvero


Mark di Suvero

American, born 1933

Born in Shanghai, China, where his parents were Italian diplomats, Di Suvero moved to San Francisco with his family at the onset of World War II. He began painting at age twenty, entering the University of California, Berkeley to study sculpture and philosophy, and graduating in 1957. Di Suvero moved to New York in 1960. His first major museum exhibitions occurred in the mid-1970s, at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Di Suvero currently divides his time between large industrial studios in Petaluma, California; Chalon-sur-Saone, France and a former brickyard on the edge of Long Island City, New York.