Eduardo Chillida is one of the most important Basque artists of the 20th century and an internationally recognized figure in postwar sculpture. The materials Chillida turned to consistently informed his investigations of conceptual questions and metaphysical concerns. He began to use alabaster for its illuminated yet veiled appearance, its ability to simultaneously reveal and conceal. In How Profound Is the Air, Chillida combines the roughly hewn, natural exterior of the stone with a highly polished, architectural interior space. The work recalls a public sculpture Chillida created in the city of Valladolid in 1982, How Profound Is the Air: Homage to Jorge Guillén. The memorably poetic title was taken from one of the famous Spanish poet's verses, and reflects the sculptor's attitude toward space, or air, which for him was a material as essential as stone or wood. In Chillida's words, "Form springs spontaneously from the needs of the space that builds its dwelling like an animal its shell. Just like this animal I am also an architect of the void."