Phenomenal Cullen Sculpture Garden in Houston, Texas
Last Updated on
The Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden
There is a phenomenal sculpture garden in Houston. It is on an acre of land between the Museum of Fine Arts and the Glassell School of Art at Bissonnet Street and Montrose Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77005. The school of art was razed to the ground, and another one now takes its place. So these photos showing it as a backdrop are from the past.
The Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden is a fitting tribute to those most generous of benefactors to the Museum of Fine Arts and the outdoor garden houses first-class sculptures of renowned artists from around the world.
On a latter-day of April, after visiting the John Singer Sargent exhibitions along with a traveling Maurice Prendergast show inside the museum buildings my husband and I decided to stroll across the street and enjoy the sculpture garden. We have experienced it in the past and often in the blistering heat of summertime in Houston.
The temperatures were moderate, the day bright and sunny and we had unusually low humidity. All in all, it was a perfect day to enjoy the arts (and anything else, for that matter) out of doors.
Please join us on this tour of the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden. With my trusty Panasonic DMC-FS15 digital camera in hand, I took many pictures that day.
I’ll identify the sculptures, and this first one seems appropriate as he appears to be strolling the garden even without the apparent benefit of his head and arms.
The Walking Man by Auguste Rodin
French, 1840 – 1917
This young lady does have the advantage of seeing where it is that she is walking. Standing close to The Walking Man with her head held high, in the photo, she seems at ease with her unclothed body and the world. Were she a real live person, she would be enjoying the feeling of walking barefoot in the grass with the gentle warm breezes kissing her bronzed skin.
Flora, Nude by Aristide Maillol
French, 1861 – 1944
The Flora, nude is a bronze sculpture created in 1910.
The next sculpture certainly adds a splash of bright red color to this serene garden setting!
Untitled by Clark Murray
This American artist born in 1937 completed this painted steel piece of art in 1975.
Posing for Sculptors
Sculptors generally have real people posing for them whether the final piece of art is a composite of several people or solely one person. Holding a pose for an extended period must be hard. That holds for sittings done for portraits as well.
Of course, with modern photography methods, one could take many photos and work from them. But back in the day when bronzes like Adam were created in the late 1800s, people probably physically posed for the artists.
With his head resting on the palm of his hand and his fingers extended upwards touching his forehead, this may have been a pose that was struck out of sheer exhaustion by the person posing.
The artist may have liked what he saw and decided to use it, or it may have been the artist’s intent from the start. We viewers may never know for sure. In any case, the result is a beautiful piece of sculpture adorning the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden in Houston, Texas.
Adam by Emile – Antoine Bourdelle
This bronze sculpture dates back to 1889.
According to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston visitor guide which we happen to own, the photo above shows the works of a sculptor hired by the MFAH after they had seen his exhibited works at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston. Supposedly Cragg’s inspiration came from objects found in a chemistry lab.
Can you imagine the distorted forms of flasks and cylinders when viewing his art?
New Forms by Tony Cragg
English, born in 1949
This bronze was created in the years 1991-1992.
This next sculpture brought back some happy memories!
Oiseau ( Bird)
Spanish, 1893 – 1983
He worked on this bronze sculpture from 1968 to 1981. This Oiseau must have been a labor of love.
The reason a Miró sculpture resurrected happy memories was that when we attended the Olympics in Barcelona many years ago, we took the time to visit the Joan Miró Foundation which is a museum filled with all kinds of his artwork from his early days to later ones.
Untitled by Joel Shapiro
Joe Shapiro is an American artist born in 1941 who created this bronze sculpture in 1990.
My husband and I see runners and joggers and people walking in our subdivision daily getting their regular exercise. When driving through areas like Memorial Park in Houston as well as many other parks and pathways running adjacent to city streets, numerous people are out in the fresh air working out every day rain or shine. Do you see a running image when viewing this sculpture?
The sculpture pictured above is titled the following:
Decanter by Frank Stella
He is an American artist born in 1936, and this Steel and Bronze sculpture was created in 1987.
Vertical Arc by Bernar Venet
Bernar Venet is a French artist born in 1941.
The combination of realistic sculptures and juxtapositions of abstract sculptures in this green space of the Cullen Sculpture Garden adds not only contrast but interest to the overall impression when wandering the well-maintained grounds.
As we were walking next to the sculpture viewed above, the slight breeze made the steel parts of this sculpture move and made a..to my ear…musical sound. The musical sounds undoubtedly sparked the name of the sculpture.
Conversation with the Wind by Pietro Consagra
This artist was Italian and lived from 1920 to 2005.
It is an excellent melodic addition to this Cullen Sculpture Garden.
Arch Falls by Brian Hunt
He is an American artist born in 1947.
This bronze sculpture on a limestone base reminds me of the many waterfalls that I have been fortunate enough to have visited throughout the years. At the same time, it reminds me of gnarly wood. How about you? What do you think?
The Pilgrim ( ll Pellegrino) by Marino Marini
Exhaling Pearls by Joseph Havel
An American born artist (1954) created this patinated Bronze sculpture in 1993.
Instantly upon seeing this elongated and upright sculpture, one thinks of the sea, or at least I did. Since we live approximately 70 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and can see seafaring vessels like shrimp boats with their assembly of ropes, this instantly brought to mind those images.
Of course, we viewers can look at art creations and develop our interpretations of the subject matter.
The images above:
Houston Triptych by Ellsworth Kelly
Another American born artist in 1923, he created this bronze in 1986 specifically for this site.
The Kiss by Auguste Rodin
Rodin sculptures are widely recognized around the world.
Who hasn’t been introduced to the one titled The Thinker?
This one that sits in the Cullen Sculpture Garden is a beautiful creation made of bronze that has developed a black patina with age.
Auguste Rodin is a renowned French artist that lived from 1840 to 1917, and he created sculptures that resonate with people from different cultures from all around the globe.
This exquisite sculpture was created in 1886. It is lovely to have it here residing in this outdoor sculpture garden in Houston, Texas.
Can Johnny Come Out and Play? by artist Jim Love
The title of this giant bronze sphere pictured to the right says it all!
Created in the years 1990 – 1991, the perfect spot was decided upon to showcase this excellent piece of art.
Is there a kid alive who has not played with a ball when growing up? In the field adjacent to our home in Wisconsin, my Dad cut the tall grasses, and we kids played games of baseball. Sliding into home plate was always a thrill.
Remember the game jacks? One would bounce a little rubber ball and quickly pick up as many of the small game pieces as one could before the ball would come back down.
This bronze sphere resurrects many happy childhood memories for me, and perhaps that was the artist’s intent when creating it.
One of the first sculptures to greet one’s eyes when entering the Cullen Sculpture Garden from the Museum of Fine Art’s side is this twisted piece of bronze.
Gymnast II by William Tucker
He is a British artist who was born in Egypt in the year 1935.
When it comes to watching the Olympics, one of this author’s favorite sports is gymnastics. It is incredible to me how those young athletes can twist and turn their bodies and seem to defy gravity at least for seconds when accomplishing their feats of glory.
The Large Horse by Raymond Duchamp-Villon
This bronze sculpture is aptly titled.
This artist was French and lived from 1876 to 1918. This piece of art pictured to the right was cast in 1966.
Matisse was a famous French Artist who lived from 1869 to 1954. He created a series of bronzes of people’s backs among his many other artistic creations. Along one wall in the Cullen Sculpture Garden are the following assembled sculptures and when they were created.
Back I …created in 1909; Back II …created in 1913; Back III …created from 1916-17; and finally Back IV …created in 1930.
The Dance by Linda Ridgway
Viewed above this bronze sculpture that was completed in the year 2000 by American born artist born in 1947 spoke to me.
I am particularly fond of all things to do with nature and this sculpture which resonated of twigs, branches and leaves reminded me of my growing up days in Wisconsin when I was a youngster climbing trees. Whether it has the same effect on other viewers, it is a lovely addition to the sculptures found in the Cullen Sculpture Garden.
Quarantania 1 by Louise Bourgeois
This bronze assemblage was created between the years 1947 to 1953 and cast between 1981 to 1984.
An American artist, Louise Bourgeois, was born in France in 1911.
To my eye, this looks like a group of people who might be talking about the latest events of the day or who might be gathered to plan a special occasion, like a birthday party. What does it suggest to you?
That is the beautiful thing about art. The artist who created each piece has his or her interpretation, but then the viewer can also elucidate a similar or quite disparate meaning of his own making. Interpreting art is especially true when it comes to abstract art.
Untitled by Dewitt Godfrey
He is an American artist born in 1960 who created this sculpture in the foreground of the picture above. It is made of Welded Steel and was built in 1989.
Does this remind the reader of a mushroom as it does to me? We have had some wild mushrooms that have occasionally appeared in our garden beds bearing a similar shape. In comparison to our transient wild ones, this massive mushroom-like sculpture is a stable and permanent feature in the Cullen Sculpture Garden.
Two Circle Sentinel by David Smith
David Smith was an American artist who lived from 1906 to 1965. This piece of art was created in 1961.
For some reason, this reminds me of an abstract Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz.
What do you see when viewing this sculpture?
Big Twist by Bryan Hunt
This sculpture is another piece of art in the Cullen Sculpture Garden by Mr. Hunt, the other being Arch Falls. He created the Big Twist bronze sculpture in 1978. The Big Twist is significant in size, and it is twisted!
Being of the same era as me, I wonder if Bryan Hunt was influenced by Chubby Checker’s dance, The Twist? Is this what he intended to simulate with this sculpture, the gyrations of a body in movement? Or was there some other intent?
His works stand as prominent and statuesque features amidst others in this beautiful sculpture garden.
This Argentine-born artist was born in 1899 and had Italian heritage parents. He became known for his paintings as well as his sculptures.
Two of his sculptures are in the Cullen Sculpture Park.
They are titled Spatial Concept #18 and Spatial Concept #28.
Museum of Fine Arts Houston Campus
Famous artist and sculptor Isamu Noguchi was commissioned to create the landscape design for the Lillie and Hugh Roy Sculpture Garden located in between the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the Glassell School of Art. Anyone visiting this site would know it to be a great success.
The Museum of Fine Arts holds many art treasures from around the world as one might expect and also has traveling exhibits which make it enjoyable to keep visiting the museum as my husband and I did for this current show.
One summer, when my niece was a youngster, she was enrolled for classes at the Glassell School of Art. My mother and I made many regular trips to that part of Houston, and while she was enjoying her art classes, we enjoyed the surrounding museum district seeing various exhibits.
Hopefully, you enjoyed meandering through this phenomenal Cullen Sculpture Garden in Houston, Texas along with us. If you ever get a chance to visit here in person, do so. It is free and open to the public during daylight hours. What a bargain! Enjoy!