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View the Amazing Cullen Sculpture Garden in Houston in Photos

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

The Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon.

The Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon.

The Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden

This phenomenal sculpture garden is located on an acre of land between the Museum of Fine Arts and the Glassell School of Art at Bissonnet Street and Montrose Boulevard in Houston, Texas. The older school of art is now a brand new state-of-the-art building.

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.

My husband and I recently spent some time there again, on a lovely day in May. There is now a third MFAH building adjacent to the sculpture garden and the new Glassell School of Art.

A Rotating Collection

Some of the art pieces that were here in the past are no longer present. Perhaps they were on loan for a time. Others now take their place. I will show some of the ones no longer here in a collage at the bottom of this page.

Please join us on this virtual tour of the Cullen Sculpture Garden. 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

The Walking Man by Auguste Rodin

The Walking Man by Auguste Rodin

Auguste Rodin was a French artist (1840–1917). This distinctive sculpture has a date of 1905.

Flora, Nude by Aristide Maillol

Flora, Nude by Aristide Maillol

Flora, Nude by Aristide Maillol

The Flora, Nude is a bronze sculpture created by French artist Aristide Maillol (1861–1944) in 1910.

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, she seems at ease with her unclothed body and the world. Were she a live person, she would be enjoying the feeling of walking barefoot in the grass with the gentle warm breezes kissing her bronzed skin.

Abstract Piece

The combination of realistic sculptures and juxtapositions of abstract sculptures in the Cullen Sculpture Garden adds contrast and interest to the overall impression when wandering the well-maintained grounds.

I could not find a marker designating the title or the artist for the sculpture pictured above.

Adam by Emile-Antoine Bourdelle

This bronze sculpture dates back to 1889 and was created by French artist Emile-Antoine Bourdelle (1861–1929).

Sculptors often have 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 for sittings done for portraits or sculptures.

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 made, people probably physically posed for the artists. This pose may have been one struck out of sheer exhaustion by the model. 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.

New Forms by Tony Cragg

This bronze originated in 1991–92 and was sculpted by English artist Tony Cragg (1949–). It is a museum purchase with funds provided by the Schissler Foundation.

According to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston visitor guide, the MFAH hired Tony Cragg to create these sculptures 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.

Oiseau (Bird) by Joan Miró

Spanish artist Joan Miró (1893–1983) worked on this bronze sculpture from 1968 to 1981.

The Miró sculpture resurrected happy memories for us. When we attended the Olympics in Barcelona many years ago, we took the time to visit the Joan Miró Foundation. It is a museum filled with all kinds of 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, 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?

Decanter by Frank Stella

Frank Stella is an American artist born in 1936. This steel and bronze sculpture is dated 1987.

Spirit of Eternal Repose by Auguste Rodin

There are several pieces of art in this sculpture garden on loan from Iris Cantor. She must love the art of Auguste Rodin since both of the sculptures are of his creations.

Auguste Rodin is a French artist who lived from 1840 to 1917. The modeling of this piece took place from the years 1898 to '99. It is bronze, cast in 1982. The edition size is 2/8.

Cybele by Auguste Rodin

This Cybele sculpture is another one on loan from Iris Cantor. It was modeled in 1890, enlarged in 1904, and cast in 1982. It is another bronze with an edition size of 3/8.

Conversation with the Wind by Pietro Consagra

This artist was Italian and lived from 1920 to 2005.

When walking next to the sculpture, a breeze can make the steel parts of this sculpture move and make (to my ear) a melodic tinkling type of sound. The musical sounds undoubtedly sparked the name of the sculpture.

The Pilgrim by Marino Marini

The Pilgrim by Marino Marini

The Pilgrim (ll Pellegrino) by Marino Marini

A bronze created in 1939 by this Italian artist who lived from 1901 to 1980 is now on these beautiful Houston grounds.

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.

Supposedly this image represents two Japanese lanterns and a cargo-ship rope according to a notation in the Museum of Fine Arts Houston Visitor Guide, where this sculpture is listed. Of course, we viewers can look at art creations and develop our interpretations of the subject matter.

Houston Triptych by Ellsworth Kelly

Another American artist born in 1923, Ellsworth Kelly, created this bronze in 1986 specifically for this site.

Magari by Mark Di Suvero

This artist is an American who was born in China in 1933. Magari is a welded steel sculpture made in 1977. It is a gift of Mr. and Mrs. George R. Brown to the Houston Museum of Fine Art and this sculpture garden.

Can Johnny Come Out and Play? by Jim Love

The title of this giant bronze sphere says it all!

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 baseball games. 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 in the years 1990–91.

Gymnast II by William Tucker

Gymnast II by William Tucker

Gymnast II by William Tucker

William Tucker is a British artist who was born in Egypt in the year 1935.

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.

When it comes to watching the Olympics, one of this author's favorite sports is gymnastics. It is incredible how those young athletes can twist and turn their bodies and seem to defy gravity for seconds at a time when accomplishing their feats of glory.

The Large Horse by Raymond Duchamp Villon

The Large Horse by Raymond Duchamp Villon

The Large Horse by Raymond Duchamp-Villon

The name of this bronze sculpture seems appropriate. Raymond Duchamp-Villon was French and lived from 1876 to 1918. The casting of this piece of art took place in 1966.

Wall with Back I, II, III, & IV by Henri Matisse in Cullen Sculpture Garden

Wall with Back I, II, III, & IV by Henri Matisse in Cullen Sculpture Garden

Henri Matisse Back Sculptures

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.

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

The Dance by Linda Ridgway

The Dance by Linda Ridgway

Viewed above, this bronze sculpture completed in 2000 by an American artist born in 1947 spoke to me.

I am particularly fond of all things to do with nature. This sculpture, which resonated with 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 '53 and cast between 1981 and '84. An American artist, Louise Bourgeois, was born in France in 1911.

To me, this looks like a grouping of people who might be talking about the events of the day. What does it suggest to you?

That is the beautiful thing about art. The artist who created each piece has his or her interpretation. Still, 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

Dewitt Godfrey is an American artist born in 1960. The sculpture is made of welded steel and is dated 1989. It is a museum purchase with funds provided by Duke Energy.

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. This massive mushroom-like sculpture is a permanent feature in the Cullen Sculpture Garden.

Two Circle Sentinel by David Smith

David Smith was an American artist who lived from 1906 to '65. This piece of art is dated 1961.

For some reason, this reminds me of an abstract Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz.

Big Twist by Bryan Hunt

Big Twist by Bryan Hunt

Big Twist by Bryan Hunt

Bryan Hunt 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's inspiration came from 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?

Lucio Fontana

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.

Vertical Vibrante (Vibrant Vertical) by Alejandro Otero

Alejandro Otero was Venezuelan (1921–90). This creation was made in 1988 and is gold-color anodized aluminum panels with a painted steel frame.

I would guess that this sculpture is on loan since the credit noted is Fundación Privada Allegro (Allegro Private Foundation), Madrid.

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 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, it also has traveling exhibits, which make it enjoyable to keep visiting the museum again and again.

One summer, when my niece was a youngster, she was enrolled in classes at the Glassell School of Art. My mother and I made many regular trips to that part of Houston. 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!


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Peggy Woods

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