Art Walk + Art Talk: The Society of the Four Arts & The Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens

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From the gilded Diana, goddess of the hunt, by Augustus Saint Gaudens, bathing in the morning sun at the southeast corner of the Philip Hulitar Sculpture Garden to the monumental steel Intetra, the work of Isamu Noguchi, set overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway’s blazing sunsets, and centered by Rodin’s Age of Bronze, 1876, in the O’Keeffe Building’s center hall, The Society of the Four Arts large-scale sculpture collection has been enhanced with new additions and reset within a panoramic tropical landscape. During these unsettled times where better to contemplate what money cannot buy than the simply sublime Art Walk at The Four Arts.

The ten-acre Society of the Four Arts midtown campus is situated at the eastern foot of the Middle Bridge between Seaview Avenue and Royal Palm Way, bordered to the east by Coconut Row and on the west by the Intracoastal Waterway. “It is one of the first things seen upon arriving on the island. It is Palm Beach’s picturesque centerpiece,” said Michel Witmer, chair of The Four Arts Fine Art committee.

“For the past four years, we’ve worked to upgrade and enhance the Philip Hulitar Sculpture Garden. Sculptures have been meticulously cleaned and restored. The artist Jim Dine restored our King Parrot sculpture,” Witmer added. “We re-positioned some sculptures to make them more accessible, and our members are enjoying it.”

The collection’s large-scale outdoor works were recently joined by new sculptures. “We added a great work by artist Beverly Pepper, who joins other fine sculptors like Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Gaston LachaiseAuguste Rodin, and our most visible work, Isamu Noguchi’s Intetra, a monumental steel tetrahedron set on the Waterway,” Witmer stated.

Isamu Noguchi. Intetra, 1974-1976. Steel. Collectors Ziuta and James Akston’s foundation gifted Noguchi’s tetrahedron in 1976. The triangular pyramid is composed of four triangular faces, six straight edges, and four vertex corners. Having undergone a major conservation effort in 2000, patterned brushwork was applied to the steel surfaces, adding a 21st-century pictorial dimension to the significant work.

Speaking of large scale, I’ve been reading The Golden Age of Newport Yachting: Between the Wars (History Press, 2021) by Robert B. MacKay. Thank you, Pauline Pitt. Her brother Anthony Baker was McKay’s co-author, along with Carol A. Traynor, of Long Island Country Houses and their Architects, 1860-1940.

The Golden Age of Newport Yachting: Between the Wars (History Press, 2021).

Among the measurements and nautical innovations, MacKay details the “magnificent extravagance” while sticking to just the facts. The book’s 20 chapters cover the era’s notable owners and builders of “fast yachts and floating palaces,” ending with the Widener family’s April 1912 tragedy aboard the Titanic where George Dunton Widener and his son Harry Elkins Widener lost their lives.

Over at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, the waterfront botanical garden and sculpture park on South Flagler Drive, Saturday afternoon’s talk by noted sculptor Edwina Sandys was cancelled because of illness only hours before she was set to speak.

Saturday, March 5, was the 76th anniversary of Edwina’s grandfather Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech. She had planned to speak on the Cold War, the East-West divide, her work War and Peace, 2019, created from a section of the Berlin Wall, and the ongoing cataclysmic events in Ukraine.

Lawrence Holofcener. The Allies, 1992. Bronze & Wood. FDR and Winston Churchill. Philip Hulitar Sculpture Garden.

While all send best wishes for Edwina’s quick recovery, the Ann Norton’s indefatigable chair Frances Fisher went ahead with a luncheon in the recently restored landmark Ann Norton Art Studio, honoring Edwina’s family members and close friends.

Sculptor Edwina Sandys, 2019. My last photograph of Edwina was at the Ann Norton when she installed her War & Peace sculpture.

Step into spring, the area’s sculpture gardens are simply sublime. Here is a look around at the gardens turned galleries.

Gioconda & Joseph King Library

Panthers stand guard in front of the King Library that fronts the Hulitar Sculpture Garden and borders the Garden Club of Palm Beach’s historic Botanical Gardens.

Wheeler Williams. Panthers, 1933. Bronze. Left, Male (North); Right, Female (South).
Left, Male (North); Right, Female (South).

Philip Hulitar Sculpture Gardens

Opened in 1980 and designated the Philip Hulitar Sculpture Garden in 1988, the 2 ½-acre walled sanctuary, was first reimagined in 2000 following several hurricanes. Today, the garden accommodates 20 large-scale sculptures, several fountains, a palm grove, terraced planters, pergolas with sitting and gathering areas, and the Pannill Pavilion, a community meeting place.

Dan Ostenmiller. Peacock Monument, 2004. Bronze. (One of a Pair).
Philip Jackson. Sior Maschera, 1990. Bronze.
Gaston Lachaise. Short-Tailed Peacock, 1920. Bronze and Gilding.
Built in 2005, the Pannill Pavilion was designed by Giacomelli Architecture.
David H. Turner. The Bond, 2010. Bronze.
Alejo Vidal-Quadras. Portrait of Kit Pannill, 1992. Charcoal on paper. Pannill Pavilion.
Luis Montoya & Leslie Ortiz. Left, Monumental Apple Basket, 1998. Bronze & Right, Pear Harvest, 2008. Bronze. Pannill Pavilion.
Beverly Pepper. Crispina Senior II, 2014 (Fabricated 2021). Cor-ten Steel.
Jim Dine. King Parrot, 1995. Bronze.

Grainger McKoy. Recovery, 2010. Steel.
Pergolas. The north pergola was donated by George G. Matthews and Betsy K. Matthews; the east pergola was given in honor of Jessie Araskog; the south pergola was underwritten by Merrilyn Bardes and her sons Thomas H. Quinn, Jr., Andrew B. Quinn, and Oliver H. Quinn; and the west pergola was donated by Page Lee Hufty Bell.

Felipe Castañeda. Maternidad-La Cueva, Homage to Zuniga, 1976. Bronze.
Gigi Supino. Apollo and Daphne, 1934. Bronze.

Diana Guest. Naja, 1979. Bronze.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Diana, 1979. Bronze and Gilding.

Jose Antonio Villalobos. Youth, 1970. Bronze and Innocence, 1971. Bronze.
Anna Hyatt Huntington. The Passing of the Torch, 1953. Aluminum.

ShellyMcCoy & Alina Rodriguez Rojo. Biosuits, 2021. Garment, concrete, wire, mixed media, and natural plants.
Ira Bruce Reines. Neptune, 1981. Bronze.

Artist Unknown, Franco-Flemish. Putti Sculptures, pair, ca. 1875-1910.
John Raimondi. Dance of the Cranes, 1988. Bronze.
Edward Fenno Hoffman III. Reaching, 1963. Bronze.
Norman Sunshine. Forgotten World III, 2006. Bronze.

The historic Botanical Gardens

First planted by The Garden Club of Palm Beach in 1938, the project was intended as educational demonstration gardens divided into thematic sections. After devastating hurricanes wreaked havoc more than 20 years ago, the gardens and walkways were restored.

The Chinese Garden, I Ho Yuan, designed by Mrs. Lorenzo Woodhouse.
Supervising the Bermuda style English garden, designed by Mrs. Clifford V. Brokaw.
Jane Davenport de Tomasi. Dolphin Gargoyle. Stone.
Jo Davidson. Bust of Addison Mizner, 1924. Bronze. Special Collections, King Library.
D. H. S. Wehle. Silver King, 1988. Bronze. Central courtyard.
Isamu Noguchi. Intetra, 1974-1976. Steel.

The Four Arts gardens are open Monday-Sunday, 10 am-5 pm. Admission is free.

Luncheon @ Ann Norton’s Art Studio
Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens
Saturday, March 5, 2022

Frances Fisher, chair of the Ann Norton, welcomed guests to a luncheon in the beautifully restored artist’s studio, originally designed by Marion Sims Wyeth.
Edwina Sandys. War & Peace. “Ich ben Ein Berliner.”
David Miller, honorary board member and fine art consultant and appraiser.
L. to r.: Richard Evans, Margaret Horgan, Sara J. Griffin, Bobby Spencer, Edwina’s cousin and Princess Diana’s cousin, David Miller, Karyn Lamb, Sarah Benitz, Wendy Murphy, and ANSG chair, Frances Fisher. Sculpture models by Ann Norton. Artwork by resident artist Bradley Theodore.
Floral centerpieces were from Tom Mathieu & Company.
Artwork by Bradley Theodore. Lunch was catered by Sandy James Fine Food & Productions. Delicious!
Sara Griffin.
Citroen DS-21, 1967. Every season the Ann Norton presents Sculpture in Motion, a concours of sensationally designed classic automobiles.
Citroen DS-21, 1967. Sculpture in Motion!

Photography by Augustus Mayhew.

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