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A Gift of Friendship

Richard E. Filipowski, "Pine Cone," 2001. Brushed aluminum, 8-3/4"x10-1/2"



The artist and "Winter Pine" on the grounds of Gropius House.


In 1950, Walter Gropius invited Richard Filipowski, a young sculptor and designer teaching at the Institute of Design in Chicago, to come to Harvard to teach design fundamentals, a class like the foundation course at the Bauhaus. A friendship soon developed between the internationally renowned architect and the younger artist. Gropius admired Filipowski's work and asked for a piece of sculpture that could be placed as a focal point near the entrance to the Gropius family home in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Filipowski gave him "Winter Pine," a seven-foot aluminum sculpture, and installed it on the north side of the house, where it has remained ever since.

Filipowski's abiding friendship with the Gropius family has extended to helping SPNEA. Last year he designed a small sculpture to be produced in multiples and sold, with proceeds to support SPNEA's preservation work. Called "Pine Cone," the piece echoes not only the title but also the visual language and material of "Winter Pine." It is laser cut from brushed aluminum following the artist's drawing and specifications, and true to the Bauhaus philosophy, represents an alliance between technology and design. On its own, the "Pine Cone" makes a bold statement of interacting positive and negative spaces, while a pair of sculptures may be arranged into a multitude of interlocking zigzag patterns.

Filipowski left Harvard in 1952 for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he spent many years as an artist and teacher. His sculptures are in the collections of the MIT Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and numerous private and corporate collections; in addition he executed numerous commissions for churches, synagogues, and public institutions. He resides in Lexington, Massachusetts.

—-Carol Bruce
Director of Licensing
& Merchandising

First edition sculptures, signed by the artist, are available at the Gropius House Museum Shop and SPNEA's Merchandise Department, for $80 each, $150 for a pair (member prices $72 and $135.) To order please call (617) 542-7324, or email your order to

A Gift of Friendship