Sculptor of Wall Street Charging Bull dies aged 80
The artist who sculpted “Charging Bull”, the bronze statue in New York which became a symbol of Wall Street, has died in his home town in Sicily aged 80. Arturo Di Modica died at home in Vittoria on Friday evening, the town said in a statement on Saturday. Mr Di Modica was said to have been ill for some time.
The sculptor lived in New York City for more than 40 years. He arrived in 1973 and opened an art studio in the city’s SoHo area. With the help of a truck and crane, Mr Di Modica installed the bronze bull sculpture in New York’s financial district without permission on the night of December 16 1989.
The artist reportedly spent 350,000 dollars of his own money to create the 3.5-tonne bronze beast that came to symbolise the resilience of the US economy after a 1987 stock market crash. Roman daily La Repubblica quoted Mr Di Modica as saying in an interview earlier this month: “It was a period of crisis. The New York Stock Exchange lost in one night more than 20%, and so many people were plunged into the blackest of depressions.”
Arturo Di Modica holds a model of his Charging Bull sculpture (AP)
He said he conceived of the bull sculpture as “a joke, a provocation.
Instead, it became a cursedly serious thing”, destined to be one of New York’s most visited monuments. In the interview, Mr Di Modica detailed how he, some 40 friends, a crane and a truck carried out a lightning-swift operation to plant the statue near Bowling Green park, a short stroll from the headquarters of the New York Stock Exchange, without official authorisation. “Five minutes.
The operations shouldn’t have lasted more. Otherwise, we’d risk big,” he recalled. “After a couple of scouting trips, I had discovered that at night, the police made its rounds on Wall Street every seven to eight minutes.”
When the sculptor and his friends arrived at the spot he had picked, they were surprised to see a Christmas tree had been erected there. They deposited the bronze bull anyway, and, as the artist told it, and uncorked a bottle of champagne. Mr Di Modica left Vittoria, Sicily, at the age of 19 for Florence, where he studied at the Fine Arts Academy.
At the time of his death, he was working on prototypes for a twin horse sculpture he planned to make for the Sicilian town.
It was envisioned as a 132ft high work to be erected on the banks of a river.
The town has declared Monday, when Mr Di Modica’s funeral will be held in Vittoria’s St John the Baptist Church, as an official day of mourning.