The Treasured Sculpture Garden Gem at UCLA

Jan 27, 2009 by Lisa Newton

Hidden in the back of UCLA’s beautiful campus is a little known, but highly relaxing area known as the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden, which was dedicated in 1967, after the first acquisitions were installed.

The Sculpture Garden features over seventy sculptures by artists including Jean Arp, Alexander Calder, Claire Falkenstein, Barbara Hepworth, Gaston Lachaise, Jacques Lipchitz, Henri Matisse, Henry Moore, Isamu Noguchi, Auguste Rodin, David Smith, and Francisco Zuñiga.

The myriad of figural and structural design, material, size, depth, and use of material of both figural and abstract art works provide a profound and illustrating understanding and appreciation of the many approaches to sculpture.

Dr. Franklin D. Murphy arrived in Los Angeles in 1960, and become UCLA’s third chancellor. During that time the university had just begun to develop the northeast sector of its now sprawling four-hundred-acre campus; by the time Dr. Murphy left– eight years later–4.5 precious acres of the new and densely build north campus had been preserved and transformed into this world renowned park some of the finest sculptures of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Recalling his travels through the plazas and gardens of Europe, Murphy firmly believed that works of art are most thoroughly enjoyed when they are a part of daily life.

After visiting the Garden, I understand and concur with his conclusion. In the middle of the high stress atmosphere of one of the finest and academically advanced college campus’ in the metropolis of Los Angeles, I can think of nothing better than to be able to read a required text or write a necessary thesis in the relaxing setting of this stunning Garden.

Walking around this Garden, I was in awe of the artists and often pondered what they were thinking while creating their masterpieces and what they were trying to convey to the viewer—the eternal balancing act of artist and world. No matter these aesthetic issues, the sculptures brought forth a calmness and thoughtfulness often unparalleled into our everyday life. If you’d like more information about each of the sculptures, click here.

Are there any sculptures in your neck of the woods? If so, I’d love to see them by Travelin’ Local.

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Art, Culture, SoCal, UCLA, Westside LA

9 Responses to “The Treasured Sculpture Garden Gem at UCLA”

  1. FRANK says:

    Gee Lisa, how did you find out about such a groovy place? ……. Anyhoo, one could take many fotos of each sculpture with the light hitting from different angles and each foto would be unique. That’s one reason I enjoy sculpture so much……… It is such a powerful method of conveying an artists emotions.


  2. LisaNewton says:

    I have some really cool people who let me know the best places to go in LA. And you’re so right about the power of sculpture. I loved the Garden. Plus, it’s just a short bike ride away.


  3. Vanessa says:

    Great website! I just moved to LA a few months ago when my husband started grad school at UCLA. I’ve been exploring LA a lot and this sculpture garden was actually one of the first places I went in LA.

    Vanessa’s last blog post..People’s History of L.A. Mural


  4. Tom Gurney says:

    Wow, the Treasured Sculpture Garden Gem is truly beautiful! The others who commented here are very fortunate to be able to visit it so easily! I do not have many sculptures to my taste in Shanghai, and must resort to the internet to fill my cravings :-)

    Tom Gurney’s last blog post..The Kiss Auguste Rodin Sculpture


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  8. Victor Swepson says:

    Gardening as been a passion of mine for quite a few years, I’m looking forward to putting your ideas into play next time I am in the garden. Thanks for the post


  9. Bronze Sculpture says:

    Great post! I love all of the sculptures.


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