In 1910, Henry E. Huntington began acquiring a large collection of outdoor sculptures, personally deciding on the exact location for each piece of garden statuary. Some of the statues were moved as many as three times until Huntington was satisfied. Love is a common theme among the garden sculpture, most of which dates from the late 17th and early 18th centuries, although some are the works of twentieth-century American artists such as Anna Hyatt Huntington, the wife of Archer Huntington, Arabella’s only child by her first marriage. Visitors today can see an array of statuary in different mediums and from various cultural traditions across Europe.
On your visit, be sure to look for:
The North Vista: This scenic spot made famous by many Hollywood productions is home to limestone representations of classical deities and ancient myths sculpted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by French and Italian artists. The works were made to look like 18th century neoclassical pieces, which makes dating these sculptures challenging to The Huntington’s curators. Most of the sculptures were purchased from a villa in Padua, Italy,and each statue was originally matched to a stately palm.
The Baroque Fountain: Located at the end of the North Vista, the fountain was purchased in 1915 and shipped from New York in 48 boxes. The boxes filled an entire railway car, but oddly enough, the fountain arrived without assembly instructions.
L’Amour captif de la Jeunesse: This sculpture, located inside the tempietto by the Rose Garden seems to be by or after a model by Louis-Simon Boizot.
The Bronzes on Plinths: Located outside the Library Exhibition Hall, these French 17th century copies modeled after the Antique are of exceptional quality.
Sounding Sculpture: This 19 -foot tall bronze sculpture was made in the 1970s by American designer and sculptor Harry Bertoia (1915-1978) and is a promised gift of the Phillip and Muriel Berman Foundation.
Lion-dogs: A male and female lion-dog guard the Japanese Garden, which, according to popular belief in China, protects the family’s physical welfare and spiritual life.
Come explore the statues at The Huntington and enjoy both their beauty and their historical significance. The collection provides much more than a scenic backdrop for Hollywood film. It allows visitors insight into the history of European art itself.