The LA County Museum of Art section houses four pages which contain 250 images and this Overview Index
with sample images from each section page. Sculpture, Decorative Art and Paintings are on the Assorted Art
page, and there is a presentation of the Pharaohs of the Sun exhibit on the Asian and Middle Eastern Art page.
A page details the Sculpture Garden and another page displays exterior scenery (including the La Brea Tar Pits).

Most images in the LA County Museum of Art section are 1500-1600 pixels in the long direction.
Some of the images are 2000 pixels in the long direction and are designated LG in the file name.

The LA County Museum of Art and Hancock Park, with the La Brea Tar Pits, is an exceedingly
interesting place with a large number of things to see: architecture and scenery, archaeology
and art from various cultures around the world, ancient, medieval and modern. LACMA and
the surrounding area is different than other museums in my experience, and still evolving.

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Los Angeles County Museum of Art Index

Assorted Art: Sculptures, Paintings and Decorative Art
Asian and Middle Eastern Art and the Pharaohs of the Sun
LACMA Sculpture Garden: Rodin, Bourdelle and Kolbe
Exteriors: Architecture, Wildlife and La Brea Tar Pits


Story Cleopatra 3115

Cleopatra, William Wetmore Story, United States,
modeled 1858, carved 1860, marble on polychrome wood platform

Cleopatra made Story’s reputation and set the standards for the second phase of American neoclassical sculpture. Story had planned to begin a compositional study for it during the winter of 1856-57 but only started the clay model during the winter of 1858. The carving of Cleopatra in marble was not completed until December 1860, but the statue was inscribed with an 1858 date to commemorate the commencement of work. When he could had not attract any buyers for the work over the next several years, Story contemplated abandoning the profession.

Pope Pius IX sent, at his expense, Cleopatra and Story’s Libyan Sibyl (1860) to the 1862 International Exhibition in London along with several other sculptures by artists residing in Italy. Cleopatra was an immediate success, receiving favorable reviews from several newspapers and periodicals, including the London Athenaeum, which rated it, along with the Libyan Sibyl, as the most important sculpture in the exhibition. As a result, Story found a buyer for Cleopatra. The sculpture remained in the family, lost to public attention until 1978, when it was bought by the museum. This marble is the only example of the first of three versions created by the sculptor. About 1863-64 Story created a second version by slightly altering details of the original design. In 1884, he revised his idea a third time to design a reclining Cleopatra; it is unknown if this version was ever carved in marble.


MacMonnies Young Faun and Heron 3134


Niehaus Silenus 3131

Young Faun and Heron, Frederick MacMonnies, United States, modeled 1890; copyrighted 1894, bronze

MacMonnies originally modeled this group in 1890 as a lifesize statue for a fountain for a country house in Massachusetts. The statue was to be set into an exterior niche, the shape of the niche determining the curve of the bird’s wings. The intensity with which the details of the bird’s feathers are observed resemble the character of quattrocento sculpture. The forms of boy and bird are brought into close combination by the way the boy’s left arm follows the curve of the wing and his right arm is entwined with the bird’s curving neck. The large curve of his arms is set in equilibrium to the curve of the wings. The play of forms and sense of movement contribute to the sense of liveliness that was characteristic of MacMonnies’s sculptures of the early 1890s.

Silenus, Charles Henry Niehaus, United States, c. 1883; cast c. 1901, bronze

Niehaus had used his savings from his work as a stonecarver to go to Munich to study and used the proceeds of his first important commissions to return to Europe, spending two years in Rome where he modeled numerous figure studies in the style of the antique. Of these apparently experimental works, three survived: Caestus, The Scraper (Greek Athlete Using a Strigil), and this Silenus. In Greek mythology, Silenus was the foster father and tutor of Dionysus and leader of the satyrs, traditionally depicted as a fat, drunken old man, usually without goat’s legs and tail but with the pointed ears, upturned nose, and full beard of a satyr, and with heavy brows and high, full cheeks. An earlier (probably original) version of Silenus has these traditional features derived from ancient prototypes, which are absent from the this cast except for the pointed ears.


Rodin Paolo and Francesca 3199

Paolo and Francesca, Auguste Rodin, France, bronze
modelled 1887-1889, this cast 1972 (Musée Rodin 1/12)

Dante, in the Inferno, meets Paolo Malatesta and Francesca de Rimini. Francesca explained that their love began innocently while they were “reading about Lancelot and how love seized upon him... But there was one passage that was our ruin. When we read how this tender lover kissed a smile on the adored mouth, he who shall never leave me tremblingly kissed me on the mouth.” The lovers were discovered by Francesca’s husband, who murdered them both. Paolo and Francesca were consigned to the Circle of Carnal Sinners for their adultery. The pathos of this story inspired Rodin to incorporate it in the Gates of Hell, and he gave it a prominent position on the lower left door below Ugolino and His Sons. The story of Paolo and Francesca also inspired The Kiss, but Rodin did not include that piece in the Gates. Images of the Gates are on the Sculpture Garden page.


Beach River’s Return to the Sea 3126

The River's Return to the Sea, Chester Beach, United States, 1906, marble

This sculpture was done while Beach was studying in Paris, first at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and then with Raoul Verlet at the Academie Julian. In 1905 he took the Gold Medal at Academie Julian, just before sculpting this work. He returned to New York the following year and established himself as a perceptive modeler of allegorical and mythological figures. Primarily known for medals and busts, he also created a number of full figures and public sculpture such as the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac and the Fountain of Waters, both on the South Lawn at the Cleveland Museum of Art.


Library Armchair with Marquetry 3072

Library Armchair, United States, New York, c. 1875
ebony, inlays, mother-of-pearl, ivory, cottonwood, northern cedar

Brought to a high art in Italy and especially France in the late 1600s to early 1800s (for examples: see Getty Decorative Arts), marquetry patterns (esp. Boulle work) were revived in the 1760s in France and elsewhere in  Europe, and in the 19th century there were spasmodic revivals of marquetry in America and France. This 19th c. Neo-Classical Library Armchair has something of the character of a black-figured Greek amphora, with a mythologically-inspired figure about to throw a spear at a lion, a lion's head in the center of the volute, palmettes and floral designs on the legs and rails, and geometric designs on the seat perimeter.


Lawrence Arthur Atherley as an Etonian 3103

Portrait of Arthur Atherley as an Etonian, Thomas Lawrence, England, c. 1791, oil on canvas

One of the pictures that launched the 22-year-old Thomas Lawrence’s career was his three-quarter length 1792 portrait of Arthur Atherley, a banker’s son just down from Eton, who was only two years younger than the painter. A decade before Byron’s debut, Lawrence transforms this ordinary young man into a Regency buck by showing him standing against black storm clouds with Eton College in the far distance. Looking straight at the viewer, Arthur politely doffs his top hat with one hand, as though meeting us for the first time. Then, casually flipping back his scarlet coat to show off a slim waist, he rests one gloved hand on his hip, lowers his head slightly to allow his long hair to tumble down over his shoulders, and with the hint of a smile passing over lips, locks his eyes with ours.

Lawrence had an ability to let his viewers in on the joke, to turn them into his accomplices. In his lifetime, a contemporary accused him of being a “male coquet”. Imagine how thrilled he must have been when King George IV commissioned him to paint Pope Pius VII, the finest of the 24 portraits that now hang in the Waterloo Chamber at Windsor Castle. The pope sits enthroned in the new Vatican galleries with the antique statue of the Laocoon behind him, simply dressed in a white silk cassock and red velvet jacket trimmed with ermine. Even here, Lawrence’s wit is irrepressible.

No British monarch had commissioned a portrait of the pope, and certainly not one intended to hang in a royal residence. For this reason, no overt symbols of papal supremacy such as the triple tiara are visible. But Lawrence shows the pope resting one embroidered slipper on a plump velvet cushion jutting out over the step to the dais into the viewer’s space. Right up until the 20th century, etiquette during a private audience at the Vatican required the visitor to kiss the pope’s foot. Since the portrait would hang just above eye level, that red velvet slipper becomes its dramatic focus, a (possibly facetious) invitation to the British monarch to submit to the Roman obedience. Only George IV would have let Lawrence get away with it.


Cezanne Boy with a Straw Hat 3226

Boy With a Straw Hat (L'Enfant au Chapeau de Paille), Paul Cézanne, France, 1896, oil on canvas

Paul Cézanne used the son of Monsieur Vallet, the gardener at his hotel, as a model for this portrait
of a boy in a straw hat. Cézanne always made his models sit absolutely still for long periods of time,
and was a deliberate painter, which is probably why his subjects seem to look tired and depressed.

Although he participated in the first and third Impressionist exhibitions, Paul Cézanne felt that he “wanted to make of Impressionism something solid and enduring, like the art in museums.” His early interests were far from the light effects studied by the group and instead were directed toward capturing structure and solidity. This focus made the resolutely non-Parisian artist from Aix-en-Provence a natural model for Picasso and the cubists, and he is widely considered a father of 20th-century art.

The art Cézanne made in Provence destabilized centuries of representation and created a sort of 19th century surrealism. In the early 1900's, when Cézanne's paintings began to be known to younger artists, his works provided the foundations for Cubism and the multiple strands of early Modernism. Cézanne's works were rejected many times by the Paris Salon and ridiculed by art critics when exhibited with the Impressionists, but during his lifetime Cézanne was considered a master by the younger artists who visited his studio in Aix. His explorations of geometric simplification and optical phenomena inspired Picasso, Braque, Metzinger, Gleizes, Gris and others to experiment with ever more complex multiple views of the same subject and eventually to the fracturing of form.


Renoir Two Girls Reading 3245

Two Girls Reading, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, France, c. 1890-1891, oil on canvas

Renoir’s painting Two Girls Reading illustrates qualities of both his Impressionist style and his later period. He often portrayed women and children engaged in domestic and leisure activities. Renoir is most recognized for his early work with the group of artists known as the Impressionists. Impressionism departed from the past artistic traditions and aimed to depict fleeting observations of color and light along with scenes from modern life. Many of his best-known works were painted en plein air (outdoors), where along with Claude Monet, he discovered that shadows were not brown or black, but the reflected colors of their surroundings. He used this principle throughout his career. Renoir's paintings are notable for their vibrant light and saturated colour, most often focusing on people in intimate and candid compositions.


Click the Display Composite above to visit the LACMA Asssorted Art page.


Amenhotep IV Akhenaten 4505


Akhenaten 4509

Colossal Statue of Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) with Nemes and Double Crown
Karnak, Gempaaten, Dynasty 18, reign of Amenhotep IV/Akhenaten, 1353-1336 BC

Numerous colossal statues of Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) lined the colonnade of the king’s temple to the Aten at East Karnak. Here, depicted with the elongated face, hollowed eyes and long chin of the Amarna style, he wears the Pschent (double crown) over a Nemes headdress with a uraeus (a rearing, upright cobra). He carries a staff or flail and a heqa-scepter (crook), and is depicted wearing a long, narrow ceremonial false beard, a divine attribute that emphasized the Pharaoh’s god-like qualities.

Akhenaten, Dynasty 18, Reign of Akhenaten, 1353-1336 BC, yellow stone

This yellow stone statue of Akhenaten from the Louvre is in the mature Amarna style. Note the prominent breasts,
with two rolls of fat below, and the soft, distended stomach, but with a less extreme distortion of the facial features.

This figure was a part of a seated pair (dyad) depicting the Pharaoh with his wife or mother (Nefertiti or Tiye). Akhenaten is depicted sitting on a cushion, wearing the royal Nemes headdress with uraeus (rearing, upright cobra), and holding a crook and flail in one hand. A bull’s tail is attached to the kilt. These features, along with the pierced ears, the enlarged soft stomach, and the lunate Amarna navel are shown on images of royalty from the reign of Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) up to the beginning of the reign of Horemheb. The buckle of the kilt is not inscribed, but this statue is usually identified as Akhenaten.


Eagle-Headed Deity 3185

Eagle-Headed Deity, Northern Iraq, Nimrud, Neo-Assyrian Period (9th c. BC), gypseous alabaster

A gypseous alabaster relief from the palace at Calah (Nimrud) of the Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II (reigned 883-859 BC) showing an Eagle-headed deity holding a water vessel and a fir cone or spathe (palm bract) sponge to water the sacred tree. Generally, this deity (a variant of the apkallu) is described as Nimroch, Assyrian agricultural god, but some archaeological references list it as a form of Ashur, national god of Assyria and namesake of Ashurnasirpal.

This deity is a variant of the apkallu, a protective deity who warded off evil, and in this case is performing a ritual purification of a stylized tree which represented the date palm tree. The purification is intended to protect the tree and by extension, the empire.


Lidded Cauldron Interlaced Dragons 8046

Lidded Ritual Food Cauldron (Ding) with Interlaced Dragons,
China, Shanxi Province, ancient state of Jin, Middle Eastern Zhou dynasty,
late Spring and Autumn period or early Warring States period, c. 500-450 BC, cast bronze

The ding, a  three-legged ritual vessel whose origins predate the legends and cloudy early history of the Shang dynasty (about 1600-1023 BC), was used to hold food offered to ancestral spirits. The ding was also a ground ornament. Fantastic creatures, symbols, even written characters recording ritual procedures were cast into its surface. In its typical Shang form the ding was a sturdy, lidless vessel mounted on straight legs. Contact with other cultures introduced new elements in its shape and ornament as well as new uses. By the time of the Eastern Zhou dynasty (771-256 BC) the ding had acquired the refined form in which it  appears here. It had also been secularized; although the Shang tradition of burying bronzes with the dead continued, they were also presented as state gifts to foreign rulers and preserved and handed down as symbols of family honor and status.

This ding is from a set that would include more vessels of different shapes and sizes. Called mingqi in Chinese, meaning “spirit objects,” such sets were used during burial rituals and ceremonies conducted for ancestors, and demonstrate the importance of ancestral worship in the early times of Chinese civilization.


Funerary Sculpture Residential Compound 8035

Funerary Sculpture of a Double-Courtyard Residential Compound
China, probably Shanxi Province, middle Ming dynasty, c. 1450-1550
molded and modeled earthenware with white slip, pigments, and green glaze

Since before the historical period in ancient China, the afterlife was seen as an extension of worldy life, and funerary furniture, architecture, and objects such as figurines, mystical beasts and everyday objects called mingqi (spirit objects) were placed in Chinese tombs to provide the deceased with the same material environment they knew in life, thus ensuring immortality. In some tombs, mingqi comprised a model of an entire village, and revealed details of how the people lived at the time.

Chinese ceramic sculpture has a history that stretches back more than seven thousand years. Among the most important genres of this art form are the many examples of funerary sculpture discovered in the tombs of ancient China. Figures of people, animals, and strange guardian figures, models of homes, farms and fields were buried with the deceased to serve and sustain them in the afterlife. The custom of producing sculptures as burial objects began in the Shang and the Zhou periods and flourished in the Qin, Han and post-Han dynasties.


Shakyamuni the Historical Buddha 3168

Probably Shakyamuni (Shijiamouni), the Historical Buddha, China
middle Tang dynasty, c. 700-800, carved marble with traces of paint and gilding

This Buddha has been part of LACMA’s Chinese art display since the 1940s as a long-term loan, until officially entering the museum’s permanent collection in 2007. With a serene face and gracefully proportioned body, the Buddha exemplifies the highest achievement of Buddhist art in China.

Siddhartha Gautama, or Shakyamuni, the Historical Buddha, is generally said to have lived in the 5th century BC during the Mahajanapada era in India (although there are no written records of him from his lifetime or for several centuries thereafter). He was born as the son of an elected chieftain of the Shakya clan, and spent 29 years as a prince. He left  his palace to meet his subjects and see the world outside his sheltered existence at age 29, and began a life as an ascetic. He attained enlightenment while meditating under the Bodhi Tree, a large and very old Sacred Fig tree located in Bodh Gaya, India. For the remainder of his life, he traveled and taught philosophy, forming the Sangha, or company of Buddhist monks.


Jade Lidded Vase 4556

Lidded Vase (Ping) with Lion, Phoenixes, Felines, and Masks
China, Late Qing dynasty, c. 1800-1911, abraded jade

Jade (found in two forms: Nephrite and Jadeite) is a silicate metamorphic rock which has been used for hardstone carving since prehistoric times. Jadeite has about the same hardness as quartz. Nephrite is a bit softer, but is more resistant to breaking than jadeite. Nephrite is found in a creamy white form (mutton-fat jade) as well as a variety of green colors. Jadeite shows more color variations (including blue, lavender-mauve, pink and emerald green). This lidded vase is jadeite.


Prunus Vase Bamboo and Plum Tree 4561

Prunus Vase (Meiping) with Bamboo and Blossoming Plum Tree
China, Jiangxi Province, Jingdezhen, Chinese, Qing dynasty, Daoguang period, 1821-1850
wheel-thrown porcelain with clear glaze and overglaze painted enamel decoration (wucai)

A meiping (plum vase or prunus vase) is a type of Chinese vase traditionally used to display branches of plum blossoms. The meiping was first made of stoneware during the Tang dynasty and was originally used as a wine vessel, but since the Song dynasty it became popular as a plum vase. It has a narrow base, a wide body, a narrow neck, and a small opening.


Qing Lacquer Box Spring 8026 clip

Carved Polychrome Lacquer Shouchun baohe (Longevity and Spring Treasure Box)
China, Jiangning or Suzhou workshop, Qing Dynasty, Qianlong period, c. 1760
Cinnabar box, multi-layer polychrome lacquer

The cover of this circular cinnabar treasure box is deeply carved through multiple layers of polychrome lacquer with intricate designs. In the roundel on top, a Bowl of Precious Objects radiates red, blue and yellow rays which illuminate the large character Chun (Spring), in the center of which is a roundel enclosing the figure of Shoulao (god of longevity) and a deer in a landscape. Surrounding the central motif are a series of scrolling clouds and two five-clawed Imperial dragons, all on a wan-diaper ground. The rounded sides of the box are encircled by four barbed cartouches with various scenes of figures in a forested landscape.

Lacquer carving is an extremely complex technique. According to the literature, ancient lacquer carving techniques originated in the Tang Dynasty, and through improvements in the Song, Yuan, and Ming Dynasties, achieved a very high level. Lacquer is applied to the surface of a container in multiple layers until it reached a certain thickness, and is then carved. One brilliant color lacquer product normally requires many highly trained artisans working for several years.


Click the Display Composite above to visit the LACMA Asian and Middle Eastern Art page.


Rodin Orpheus 8148

Orpheus (Orphée), Auguste Rodin, France, bronze
modelled 1890-1900, this cast 1969 (Musée Rodin 6/12)

This sculpture, with its intense torsion and strain, its mixture of exaltation and despair, reflects the complexity of the theme and Rodin's willingness to have his works express the internal conflict and ambiguity of actual experience, even when dealing with a mythological theme. Orpheus was a legendary musician and poet in ancient Greek mythology who had the ability to charm all living things, gods and other deities, and even stones with his music. He perfected the lyre, and was said to be able to coax the trees and rocks to dance with his music. One of the famous stories of Orpheus is his journey to Hell to save his wife Eurydice.

Rodin’s Orpheus started as part of his enormous project The Gates of Hell. The sculpture depicts the tragic moment when he loses Eurydice. Rodin did several versions of this sculpture with and without Eurydice. This is the 1892 version without Eurydice. The figure of Orpheus is relatively smooth and his gestures are theatrical but realistic, but his lyre is a formless structure and the tree against which he leans is roughly modeled, the three radically different elements creating a palpable tension. Rodin stated that he intentionally left the tree and the lyre unfinished to give his sculpture “atmosphere”.


Rodin Jean de Fiennes 0791

Jean de Fiennes, Draped, Auguste Rodin, France, bronze
modelled 1885-86, this cast 1987 (Musée Rodin, III of IV)

The final model for one of the six figures for The Burghers of Calais, one of the most famous sculptures by Rodin.
Images of the Burghers of Calais taken at the Norton Simon Museum are included on the Sculpture Garden page.

Jeanne de Fiennes was the youngest of the Burghers, and Rodin modeled his figure with arms outspread and mouth open, as if he were questioning his decision to sacrifice himself for the safety of the people of Calais. Jean de Fiennes went through the most changes of any of the figures from the first to the second maquettes and through the studies to the Grand Model. The shape of the head, the face and facial expression, the position of the head, body, arms and legs, hands and feet all changed through several studies to the second maquette, when the general position and stance were defined but everything else was still to be refined. The final Grand Model had long wavy hair, lighter drapery with vertical folds revealing the feet, and an expression with lips parted and brow furrowed, that along with the position of the hands gives the figure a doubting disposition as he looks back towards Calais, which he may never see again.


Rodin Jean d'Aire 0785

Jean d'Aire, Auguste Rodin, France, bronze
modelled 1886, this cast 1972 (Musée Rodin 6/12)


Rodin Jules Bastien-Lepage 3017

Jules Bastien-Lepage, Auguste Rodin, France, bronze
modelled 1887, this cast 1987 (Musée Rodin 2/8)

The Grand Model for Jean d'Aire, the second of the Burghers to volunteer to present the keys to the City and Citadel of Calais to King Edward III after the 11 month siege in 1347 during the Hundred Years War. He is depicted holding the Key, with his head held high looking straight ahead with a defiant attitude. His hands, feet and the key are exaggerated and enlarged, and he is portrayed barefoot, dressed in sackcloth and wearing a noose around his neck. He is the most determined of the Burghers, with his feet planted firmly on the ground, his arms straight, and his torso rigid and motionless.

Rodin’s sculpture of the naturalist painter Jules Bastien-Lepage was made for the monument commemorating the artist which stands in his native town of Damvillers, near Verdun in the Meuse. Jules Bastien-Lepage, who died of cancer at the age of 36, dedicated his art to representing peasant life and was an outspoken enthusiast of plein air painting before the Impressionists. After his death, his family and friends wanted to celebrate his memory with a monument, so his brother Emile Bastien-Lepage turned to Rodin, knowing that Jules and the sculptor had been good friends. In his image of Bastien-Lepage, Rodin placed the figure standing on uneven ground, leaning forward with a short cape covering his shoulders, bracing himself as if against a wind.


Rodin Monumental Head Jean d'Aire 3992

Monumental Head of Jean d'Aire, Auguste Rodin, France, bronze
modelled 1884-86, enlarged 1909-10, this cast 1971 (Musée Rodin 2/12)

Jean d'Aire was the second burgher to volunteer after Eustache de St. Pierre. According to the medieval writer Jean Froissart, he was a "greatly respected and wealthy citizen, who had two beautiful daughters". Rodin modeled him as an older man, with his eyes betraying sadness, yet with his firmly turned-down mouth and forceful jaw exposing an angry strength. The Calais Municipal Council was was not pleased with the apparent dejection of the figures, as they expected the typically heroic monumental sculpture of the period, although Rodin had deliberately labored over the features of the figures in his first maquette which he presented to the Council and from which he was given the commission.

In modeling his figures, Rodin sought to capture the personality, intellect and emotion of each subject. Rodin
created numerous fragmentary studies for each figure: heads, hands, feet, headless figures and facial masks.
The bodies of the six Burghers were created separately from the heads, and the faces were intricately modeled.


Rodin Monumental Head Pierre de Wissant 3990


Bourdelle Bust of Rodin 4456

Monumental Head of Pierre de Wissant, Auguste Rodin, France, bronze
modelled 1884-1885, enlarged 1909, this cast 1971 (Musée Rodin 3/12)

Pierre de Wissant (or Wiessant depending on the source) was the second youngest and followed his older brother Jacques, who was the third Burgher to volunteer. This is the final form of the Type A head used for the final figure, looking down over his right shoulder, portrayed as an older youth with short hair, his brow knitted tightly, his eyes half shut and his mouth parted. Rodin did many studies to explore the character and pose of each burgher before deciding on the details of the final monument. In his head studies, he focused on depth of emotion as reflected in their faces. The Monumental Head of Pierre de Wissant is an enlarged version of the final head study in which Rodin depicted a youth in the face of death.

Bust of Rodin, Émile-Antoine Bourdelle, France, 1909-1910, bronze

Émile-Antoine Bourdelle was considered to be the most prominent pupil and assistant in the studio of Auguste Rodin, who had become a great admirer of Bourdelle's work. Rodin was a great influence on Bourdelle's early work, and after leaving Rodin's studio in 1908, Bourdelle created this bust based upon his sculpture Rodin at Work on the Gates of Hell (1910). This was one of two busts he made of Rodin (the other was Rodin’s head supported by his monumental beard, with two horns projecting from his hair). The bust, treated as a stele, was a pastiche based on Michelangelo’s Moses at San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome.


Bourdelle Herakles the Archer 3030

Herakles — The Archer, Émile-Antoine Bourdelle, France, 1909, bronze

Herakles the Archer (Hercules Killing the Stymphalian Birds) was inspired by the story in Greek mythology of Herakles’ sixth labor for King Eurystheus (one of the Twelve Labors of Herakles, performed as an oracular penance to atone for the killing of his wife and six sons after he was driven mad by Hera). The Stymphalian Birds (Stymphalides) were man-eating birds with beaks of bronze and sharp metallic feathers which they could launch to pierce their victims. Antoine Bourdelle created six studies for a small sculpture which he considered completed in 1909. The sculpture was shown at the 1910 Paris Salon along with the Bust of Rodin, where both were extremely well-received. The 1910 Salon triumph marked his emergence from the shadow of Rodin's influence (he had been Rodin's pupil and assistant for 15 years, between 1893 and 1908). Herakles the Archer is considered to be one of Bourdelle's masterpieces and is his most famous sculpture.


Kolbe Large Seated Woman 3999

Grosse Sitzende (Large Seated Woman), Georg Kolbe, Germany, 1929, bronze

Georg Kolbe was influenced by Rodin, and was the leading German figure
sculptor. One of the most successful sculptors of his time, he was the chief
advocate of the idealistic nude, and had a great impact on his generation.

Grosse Sitzende (Large Seated Woman) was modeled in 1929 and cast
in an edition of eight or nine. This sculpture was part of Kolbe’s transition to
figures as role models based on Nietschean philosophy. His previous figures
were often in motion, but during this period he preferred to create static figures.


Click the Display Composite above to visit the LACMA Sculpture Garden page.


LACMA Japanese Pavilion Tar Pit 7975

A life-size female Columbian Mammoth screams as she sinks into the La Brea Lake Pit.
In the background at left is the LACMA Japanese Pavilion and an American Mastodon.

The large Lake Pit is the remnant of an abandoned asphalt mine, and the other visible pits are remnants of human excavation between 1913 and 1915, when over 100 pits were excavated in search of animal bones. The tar pits have yielded thousands of fossils from dozens of species: animals, birds, reptiles, plants... and one human, the 10,000 year old La Brea Woman.


Mammoths La Brea Tar Pit 4442

The fiberglass sculpture of a female Columbian Mammoth trapped in asphalt at the largest La Brea Tar Pit.
On the shore nearby are a baby and adult male Mammoth, watching helplessly as the female sinks into the tar.
The sculptures were created between 1967-68 by Howard Ball and towed to Hancock Park behind a VW Bug.
The scene of a 1958 Volkswagen Beetle towing a full-size Columbian Mammoth through the streets of LA was
a minor sensation which made the covers of the Los Angeles Times newspaper and Life Magazine in 1967.


LACMA Japanese Pavilion Tar Pit 9179

The Japanese Pavilion reflected in the lake pit, site of an abandoned asphalt mine in the La Brea Tar Pits.

The Japanese Pavilion is the last structure and the only major public building designed by Bruce Goff, who
created buildings in the Prairie style of Frank Lloyd Wright and idiosyncratic original designs inspired by a
wide variety of sources, such as Antoni Gaudi, natural art such as seashells, and Japanese Ukiyo-e prints.


LACMA Japanese Pavilion 7235

Atop each of the two roofs of the Japanese Pavilion are unusual tusk-like structures, each supported by three
massive columns and supporting cables which hold up the roofs (the exterior walls are not load-bearing walls).

The Japanese Pavilion is notable for its translucent fiberglass panels (Kalwall), seen outside the building, which allows paintings to be lit safely and naturally by soft sunlight, approximating the original viewing conditions for paintings and creating dimensional levels within art works which are not visible under artificial light. The building has a prow-shaped roof and cylindrical towers.


LACMA Ishidoro Japanese Pavilion 3055

An Ishidoro (stone lantern) stands in the bamboo beside the Japanese Pavilion at LACMA.

Ishidoro in Japan are traditional stone toro (light towers), which originated in China and were originally only used
in Buddhist Temples, but during the Heian period they began to be used in Shinto Shrines and in private homes.


Audubon’s Warbler Bamboo 8014

An Audubon’s Warbler resting on a bamboo branch outside the Japanese Pavilion at the LA County Museum of Art.


Squirrel 9326


Sparrow Female 9243

A squirrel and sparrow pose for the camera in Hancock Park across from the LA County Museum of Art.


Click the Display Composite above to visit the LACMA Exteriors page.


Rodin Jules Bastien-Lepage 0764 LG

Jules Bastien-Lepage, Auguste Rodin, France, bronze
modelled 1887, this cast 1987 (Musée Rodin 2/8)

A 1334 x 2100 image of Rodin’s bronze of Jules Bastien-Lepage.