Monday, November 4, 2013

Renaissance Of The City By Robert Helsmoortel

Renaissance Of The City by Robert Helsmoortel

A curious thing today I noticed while reading a history on the renovations of Peachtree Center from the 1960s through the 1980s I noticed a public sculpture of art had gone missing or at least missing from the public eye.The large commissioned piece by Robert Helsmoortel from 1965 seems to no longer be on public display or even in existence as far as I can find. I can't remember ever seeing Renaissance Of The City anywhere and it certainly isn't there today in front of 230 Peachtree Street. If it exists on public display I don't know where and can only wonder if it was sold off to a private collector or is in storage somewhere. I would like to see it if anyone knows where it might be.



As you can see in the photos above from the John Portman Archives the sculpture was quite a dramatic piece and would command your attention when you walked along Peachtree Street. It is also worth noting how much that space has changed in other ways. It was once designed as a public space for people to sit and relax with sunken gardens and the sculpture. It looked inviting and a place one might take a break from a busy day or long walk.


Image taken from Google Street View

However after the renovations sometime in the 1980s , which were not pedestrian friendly in the least, it went from being a public space to a private space and the sunken gardens and the sculpture are both gone. The space has been taken over as a patio for a restaurant and a unnecessary portico styled entrance for the building.The remaining empty spaces are wasted and unused and basically tell you to stay on the sidewalk and away from the buildings. The history of the renovations I was reading makes no mention of what happened to the sculpture.  It is disappointing how it looks now and I would loved to have seen it in its original form. If anyone knows where the sculpture is today please let me know as I would love to see it.