Skip to Main Content

Public Art on South Campus: University of Massachusetts Lowell

Claude Debussy, Mico Kaufman, 1987

detail of sculpture of a man showing head torso arms


This bronze, life-size sculpture captures the French composer Claude Debussy deep in thought: he is supported by the figures of the music he created. On the front we see figures from the symphonic poem “Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune” (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun) and on the back figures from the opera “Pelléas et Mélisande.” (Pelleas and Melisande.) The solidity of Debussy’s physical body is contrasted with the lightness and movement of the figures below—we see the men and women dancing in harmonious movement. Debussy’s music is known for its flowing, ethereal melodies and Kaufman’s statue seems to catch the composer as his mind conjures these beautiful compositions.

Mico Kaufman was born in Romania, survived a Nazi labor-camp, became an American citizen in 1956, and resided in Tewksbury, MA. He designed a number of works for the city of Lowell that are also on view. The university purchased this work in 1987; additional works and ephemera related to his career were given to the university after his death in 2016.

sculpture among trees in fall foliage


sculpture showing a head torso and arms above and figures dancing below