One of the landmarks of RPI during my time in
Troy was the George Rickey sculpture titled Two Rectangles,
Vertical Gyratory Up, otherwise known as The Chrinitoid.
It was removed from campus in the summer of 1984 (see this
Polytechnic front page piece). Rumor always had it that Mr.
Rickey wanted RPI to buy it and they couldn't come to terms
financially. I have always wondered where the sculpture ended up.
|I visited RPI back in December of 1997. While there, I took this
Obviously, others hope that the Chrinitoid can be returned to it's former home
if we ever find it! Today, you will find a different Rickey sculpture at the
Chrinitoid site. This sculpture, Six Random Lines Excentric, was a
gift from Rensselaer Trustee Nancy Mueller. It was dedicated in September
2000. Read about it
||One day, while standing
in front of the (then) recently renovated San Francisco
Public Library, I noted out of the corner of my eye a
seemingly familiar object. No, it was not the Chrinitoid but
a sculpture known as "Double L Eccentric Gyratory" by the
artist George Warren Rickey. At the time, I didn't remember
the name of the artist responsible for the Chrinitoid, but
the name sounded familiar. I went inside to see if the
library had any information on the artist.
This was apparently the beginning of my
search for the Chrinitoid.
|I am not sure of the year that the search
started, but the Library renovation was completed in 1997. At
the time, I was working for a company called Sense8. While
they are now out of business, at the time, they were a
leading developer of virtual reality software. Since we were
always looking for ways to demonstrate our technology, I
build a simple model of the Chrinitoid. You can see a
resultant animation here.
After a while, I got curious about the
Chrinitoid's where about and put up the first
"In Search of the Chrinitoid" webpage. This attracted the
attention of a number of people, mostly RPI alumni. Eventually (in
February of 2004), I received the following note:
I collect George Rickey Sculptures. I saw by chance your
search for this particular sculpture.
Though I do not know where the "Chrinitoid" is, it is
very likely that the office manager for the George
Rickey Workshop , Birgit , ( pronounced Beergit ) will
know where it is. Since the work is very large it is
likely at a public institution ( like an art museum ).
George sold alot of works in Europe, so this particular
work could be anywhere! If it is in a public setting I'm
sure that she will provide you with it's location. She
may have to research it for you.
Birgit can be reached at The Rickey Workshop at
518-794-7194. I believe that she works Tuesdays through
Please let me know if you find it.
I immediately reached out to Birgit and she was extremely
informative. Here are my notes from our conversations:
|Two Rectangles, Vertical Gyrotory Up, Variation III
1970; Stainless Steel
Rectangles 19'6" x 59"
Remove from campus in summer 1984. returned to the
East Chatham, NY
Rickey died 7/17/2002
professor of art at RPI 1960-65
friend of Roland Hummel (now in his 80's)
Sold in 1990
HQ of Bank in Zurich (Union Bank of Switzerland)
The key bit of information, obviously, was that the Chrinitoid
had been sold to the Union Bank of Switzerland. It actually took
some time for it to click that "Union Bank of Switzerland" was
better known in the states as "UBS". A couple more Google searches
and I found the curator of the UBS Art collection. I filled out a
form on their website, but never really expected a reply.
Incredibly, I got a reply (the next day):
Dear Mr Payne
Thank you very much for your inquiry regarding the
sculpture by George Rickey. It is indeed owned by UBS
and located in front of of the "Schanzenbrücke-Building"
in the heart of Zurich. It is a commissioned artwork by
Rickey made especially for this place. We have also a
smaller sculpture by Rickey from 1989. This was the
first idea to put in front of the Zurich building. It is
placed in our Wolfsberg Executive Development Centre at
the lake Constance (1 h from Zurich)(see attachment).
Unfortunately I do not have a jpg from the Zurich
sculpture but if you wish we can find one. To visit both
sculptures is not a problem - they are located in public
spaces. Please let us know what kind of information you
with kind regards
|Visiting the Chrinitoid: A couple of
more emails with Mr. Saam and the location of the Chrinotoid
was pinpointed...almost. Mr. Saam notes that it is
located in front of the UBS Headquarters in the heart of
Zurich, Switzerland. Finding the "Schanzenbrücke-Building"
was not easy. Here is a picture of the building...but no
sign of the Chrinitoid. A picture I found on the
Zurich tourism site indicates that it is located at "Schanzengraben,
8001 Zürich". Schanzengraben is apparently a small river
that flows through downtown. You can see a river in the
foreground. After locating some
maps of the city, this appears to be nearest the UBS
offices at Stockerstrasse 64.
If you get anywhere near hear, be sure to take a
picture and send it my way...
Thanks to Google Maps, I can provide satellite imagery of the
Chrinitoid site. Click
here and look for a pale, blurry bow-tie between the shadow of
the octagonal Schanzengraben building and the river. This is the
The Article: I wrote an
article for the Winter 2004 Rensselear Alumni magazine. It has
generated a number of emails from Chrinitoid fans
over the years. Drop me a
note and I'll add your comments for others to enjoy.