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Press Release - Monumental Alexander Calder Sculpture to Welcome Visitors to The Huntington

January 14, 2015

 

Huntington also acquires Calder’s Bicentennial Tapestries, as well as works by Los Angeles artists Doyle Lane and Millard Sheets for new Education and Visitor Center, which opens April 4.

 

calder2_lg.pngAlexander Calder, Jerusalem Stabile, 1976, sheet metal, bolts, and paint, 141 × 288 × 143 in., at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, in 2014. Calder Foundation, New York; gift of the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation to the Calder Foundation, 2005. Copyright © 2015 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

 

SAN MARINO, Calif.— The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens announced today that it will display a monumental work by American artist Alexander Calder (1898-1976) lent by the Calder Foundation, New York. Bright red and measuring 24 feet across, the striking Jerusalem Stabile (1976) will welcome visitors to The Huntington beginning this spring, as a part of the new Steven S. Koblik Education and Visitor Center, which opens on April 4. The painted metal sculpture will be installed in a grassy stroll garden just west of the new admissions building.

 

The Huntington also acquired for the new visitor center Calder’s series of six Bicentennial Tapestries (1975) to hang in the lobby of the new Rothenberg Hall; a 1964 ceramic mural made by Los Angeles artist Doyle Lane (1925- 2002) for the courtyard of the new June and Merle Banta Education Center; and a 1934 mural by Southern California artist Millard Sheets (1907-1989) for the new Stewart R. Smith Board Room. All of these works are gifts to The Huntington.

 

“We are delighted with the addition of these bold works of 20th-century American art to our new education and visitor center,” said Kevin Salatino, Hannah and Russel Kully director of the art collections at The Huntington.  “Art is central to the mission here, and now more than ever we are foregrounding art by placing it at the entrance to the grounds. These are wonderful gifts, beautifully suited to our collecting priorities, and dovetailing perfectly with the opportunities the new complex affords.”

 

Jerusalem Stabile by Alexander Calder

Among the last monumental sculptures that Alexander Calder would make in his lifetime, Jerusalem Stabile was installed on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem in 1977, the year after his death. The sprawling, vibrant red, 72 foot-long gift of the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation to the state of Israel was intended to serve as a symbol of modernity and hope in the country. The Jerusalem Stabile coming to The Huntington was donated by the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation to the Calder Foundation in 2005.  Since then, it has served as the centerpiece of a 2006 public art exhibition in New York City, “Alexander Calder in New York,” and, in 2014, was on view at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

 

“Calder’s work is associated with archways and gateways, and has a particular civic association,” said Jessica Todd Smith, Virginia Steele Scott Chief Curator of the American art collections at The Huntington. “So this installation is ideal for the new stroll garden, right in the front entrance area, welcoming visitors to The Huntington. And as Calder is one of the great artists of the 20th century, his work is a spectacular complement to our growing interest in post-World War II American art.”

 

Bicentennial Tapestries by Alexander Calder

Calder is known as a sculptor, but he also produced a body of two-dimensional art¬¬. In fact, The Huntington’s collections include two works on paper by the artist: a lithograph donated by John and MaryAnn Sturgeon in 2005, and a drawing donated by the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation in 2014. Now, with a gift from the Berman Bloch Family, The Huntington is adding to its collection a prime example of Calder’s command of graphic design. The six colorful Bicentennial Tapestries were produced for Calder by the renowned Aubusson factory in France in 1975 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the American Revolution. They will hang in the lobby of The Huntington’s new Rothenberg Hall.

 

Mutual Savings and Loan Mural by Doyle Lane

Skilled ceramist and glaze innovator Doyle Lane is known for collectible “weed pots,” as he called his bulbous, jewel-like vases with small openings able to hold only a few delicate stems.  He also made what he called “clay paintings”—bold geometric ceramic disks expertly colored—that have been compared to the paintings of Frederick Hammersley and John McLaughlin. And, perhaps less frequently but no less spectacularly, Lane created large “ceramic murals.” One of these, commissioned by architect Welton Becket in 1964 for Mutual Savings and Loan offices in Pasadena, Calif., will find a new home in the Banta Education Court at The Huntington. Measuring just over 8 by 12 feet, the piece consists of thousands of smooth, hand-formed rectangles, each glazed a warm red and tinged with black edges.

 

“I was immediately struck by the overall color and impact of the mural,” said Smith. “Lane painstakingly formed, fired, and glazed every component of the piece, and each one has a subtly distinctive character. The individual parts make up a powerful whole. It surely will delight students coming to the new education court, as well as enhance our growing collections of works by African American artists and by mid-20th century ceramists.”

 

The mural is a gift from MS Property Company. It was on view at Reform Gallery, Los Angeles, May 1-July 5, 2014.

 

Mural for the home of Fred H. and Bessie Ranke by Millard Sheets

Few individuals have had more influence on Southern California’s art scene than painter, professor, architect, and art world impresario Millard Sheets. His taste left a significant mark on The Huntington when he helped choose acquisitions for the Virginia Steele Scott Foundation’s collection, much of which came to the San Marino institution in 1979 to form the basis of its American art collection.

 

Now Sheets’ presence will be felt in another way at The Huntington—in the form of a mural he painted in 1934 for the Hollywood Hills home of Fred H. and Bessie Ranke.

 

Depicting a bucolic California landscape of stylized hills and trees, the mural—painted on a woven wall covering material—was painstakingly removed and conserved.

 

A gift of current homeowners Larry McFarland and M. Todd Williamson, who wanted to ensure the mural’s safekeeping for generations to come, the work once surrounded a dining room cut with doors and windows. Now the mural will be installed along one long wall in the Smith Board Room.

 

“Framed by oak paneling and indirectly lit by a north facing wall of windows, the painting will look gorgeous in its new home here,” said Smith. “It will serve as a continual reminder of the landscape that Sheets loved and that makes this part of the country so special.”

 

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: High-resolution digital images available on request for publicity use.]

 

Contacts

Thea M. Page, 626-405-2260, tpage@huntington.org

Lisa Blackburn, 626-405-2140, lblackburn@huntington.org

 

About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars and the general public. More information about The Huntington can be found online at huntington.org

 

Visitor Information

The Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, Calif., 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles. It is open to the public Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from noon to 4:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Sunday, and Monday holidays from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Summer hours (Memorial Day through Labor Day) are 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Tuesdays and major holidays. Admission on weekdays: $20 adults, $15 seniors (65+), $12 students (ages 12–18 or with full-time student I.D.), $8 youth (ages 5–11), free for children under 5. Group rate, $11 per person for groups of 15 or more. Members are admitted free. Admission on weekends: $23 adults, $18 seniors, $13 students, $8 youth, free for children under 5. Group rate, $14 per person for groups of 15 or more. Members are admitted free. Admission is free to all visitors with advance tickets on the first Thursday of each month. Information: 626-405-2100 or huntington.org

 

Images

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calder_tapestries_600.png

Alexander Calder, Bicentennial Tapestries, 1975, wool, each 41 x 59 in. Gift of the Berman Bloch Family. Copyright © 2015 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.


evc_milliardsheets_600.png

Millard Sheets, Mural for the Home of Fred H. and Bessie Ranke, 1934. Gift of Larry McFarland and M. Todd Williamson. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photo: Tim Street-Porter


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Doyle Lane, Mutual Savings and Loan Mural, 1964, clay, 18 × 18 ft, as installed at Reform Gallery, Los Angeles, 2014. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photo: Joshua White.


 

About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington. Henry Huntington, a key figure in the...

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