On Saturday, August 20, 2011, Claes Oldenburg’s sculpture, Paint Torch, was installed on Lenfest Plaza. The sculpture is positioned between PAFA’s Historic Landmark and the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Buildings. The 51-foot Paint Torch sculpture, the centerpiece of Lenfest Plaza, honors the act of painting, from the classical masters in the Academy Museum to the students in PAFA’s School of Fine Arts. The sculpture at a startling 60 degree diagonal position protrudes into the space on Broad Street, and is visible against the background of City Hall. Situated underneath the paintbrush is a 6-ft paint glob.
A site specific sculpture commissioned by PAFA for Lenfest Plaza, Paint Torch, is the artist’s first large-scale work to incorporate light sources.
Oldenburg titled the work Paint Torch, merging two ideas in this project: the paintbrush and the torch. He stated that the paintbrush is a good fit for PAFA to “celebrate a place where painting with a brush is really practiced.” Thus the paintbrush refers to location as well as identifies the activities of the School.
Overseeing the installation was artist Claes Oldenburg. Also present were Bill Kreysler, who fabricated the Paint Torch (as well as 16 other Oldenburg sculptures), and Jen Lewin, the artist who collaborated with Claes Oldenburg to engineer and illuminate the Paint Torch.