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born Sweden, 1929
Art Type
Media / Materials
Year Completed
Meredith Corporation Collection, Des Moines
Latitude & Longitude
41.583927, -93.639725
Location Description
Corner of Locust and 17th Streets

The French noun plantoir is a pointed hand-tool for making holes in the ground for seeds or young plants. This tool often called a dibble and sometimes a trowel.

This whimsical, oversize gardener’s trowel titled “Plantoir” created by artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, was designed specifically for outdoor viewing in a garden setting. The brilliant red digging tool is an exaggeration in form and color. It is more than 23-feet tall and weighs 2,300 pounds, and is designed to withstand winds up to 120 miles per hour. It is sited at the west entrance to downtown Des Moines, on the grounds of Meredith Corporation.

Fabricated from aluminum, fiber-reinforced plastic and steel in 2001, Plantoir was exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden in Manhattan from May to November, 2002.

It was purchased by Meredith Corporation to commemorate its 100th anniversary—as one of the nation’s leading media and marketing companies internationally acclaimed for gardening through its flagship publication, Better Homes and Gardens.


Find other public artwork: Other Public Art Downtown

Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation

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