One of Carmel’s most popular sidewalk sculptures will disappear for a much-needed “brush up” by the Carmel Street Department. The “Unconditional Surrender” sculpture, often referred to as the “Kissing Sailor” statue, will be removed and taken to the Street Department to remove all the old paint layers – then be repainted and placed back in position by the end of March.
Typically, each statue in the Arts & Design District and City Center is repainted every year. But when too many layers are applied, the Street Department strips the old paint away and gives it a fresh paint job, thanks to an employee who has an art degree.
This J. Seward Johnson sculpture is located in front of the shops at 23 East Main Street and is often the subject of tourist photographs, cell-phone selfies and, in 2015, was the site of the City of Carmel’s official commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
The sculpture was inspired by the Life Magazine photograph, taken by Victor Jorgensen in Times Square just minutes after word of Japan’s unconditional surrender, marking the end of World War II.