The Firebird is a playful, monumental outdoor sculpture located on the plaza at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The sculpture is a jewel in the crown of public art in the Queen City and an icon in Uptown Charlotte. It is a permanent fixture in the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art collection. Standing 17-feet 5-inches tall at 1,433 pounds, the sculpture is a whimsical, bird-like creature covered from top to bottom in pieces of mirrored and colored glass. It was installed on the plaza of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art facing South Tryon Street overlooking the Levine Center for the Arts where the museum is located.
Created in 1991 by French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002), the sculpture was purchased by museum patron Andreas Bechtler specifically for placement in front of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Bechtler, a Charlotte resident and native of Switzerland, was looking for a sculpture to serve as a counterpoint to the geometric lines of the museum’s architecture, designed by renowned Swiss architect Mario Botta.
The Firebird is becoming to Charlotte what Cloud Gate, or the bean as many call it, is to Chicago. Taking a picture with it has become a must-do activity when visiting the city.