Aristide Maillol( French, 1861-1944), The Mountain 1937, in the Saint Louis Art Museum sculpture garden. It was installed summer 2014. Image courtesy of Saint Louis Art Museum
ST. LOUIS – –The Saint Louis Art Museum has begun construction of a new sculpture garden that will feature masterworks from the museum’s collection and more than 450 new trees. Located immediately south of the museum, the sculpture garden project is courtesy of a $5 million gift from Barbara B. Taylor, president of the Saint Louis Art Museum Board of Commissioners, and Andrew C. Taylor, executive chairman of St. Louis-based Enterprise Holdings, Inc.
When completed, the sculpture garden will include sculptures by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Aristide Maillol, and Mathias Gasteiger, and will complement Stone Sea, a work by Andy Goldsworthy commissioned by the Museum in 2012. In addition to the international collection of modern and contemporary sculpture, the garden will include two water features, in addition to the planting of more than 450 trees.
With the new water features, trees and the installation of new sculptures from the museum’s collection, Barbara Taylor notes that “This new sculpture garden will be a beautiful and significant addition to the Museum, as well as to Forest Park.” Beyond beauty, however, Taylor notes that she and Andy ” take great pleasure in supporting the Saint Louis Art Museum’s vision of connecting visitors with world-class sculpture in a distinctive way.” It is expected that the new sculpture garden will attract visitors and art lovers from across the globe.
The $5 million gift, the Saint Louis Art Museum Director Brent R. Benjamin said will be used to pay the cost of construction, establish an endowment to support future maintenance and improvement of the sculpture garden. But the greatest benefit of the gift is the opportunity to share some of the exceptional works in the museum’s collection with a larger audience. Benjamin notes: “Barbara and Andy’s generosity will allow the Museum to take works from its collection outside its walls and create a unique and enriching experience of art in nature for our visitors.”
The new sculpture garden is the final section of the phased landscape plan designed by Paris-based Michel Desvigne in coordination with the museum’s new East Building. Desvigne is a celebrated architect and designer who has won major design awards. In 2000, he was honored with the Medal of the French Academy of Architecture, and in 2011, he won the French national Urbanism Grand Prize. Desvigne’s landscape projects include Millennium Park in London’s Greenwich Peninsula, Luxemburg’s Draï Eechelen Park and the New Qatar National Museum in Doha.
The new sculpture garden designed by Desvigne with its already completed landscape improvements done in concert with Sir David Chipperfield’s design of the Art Museum’s East Building, which opened in summer 2013, is bound to be a major attraction. In addition to the museums exceptional collections that include Oceanic art, pre-Columbian art, ancient Chinese bronzes and European and American art of the late 19th and 20th centuries, with particular strength in 20th-century German art, the new sculpture garden further elevates the status of the Saint Louis Art Museum.