Located in Sunset Hills, Missouri, near St. Louis, Laumeier Sculpture Park a 105-acre open-air museum. With a collection of over 60-sculptures, it is a largely popular tourist attraction. Visitors may come and walk along the 1.4 miles long walking trail and take part in any of the education programs offered by the St. Louis County Parks and Recreation Department, which maintains Laumeier Sculpture Park.
Other notable attractions of Laumeier Sculpture Park are an indoor gallery and an 1816 Tudor stone mansion, which is well known for being the former residence of Henry and Matilda Laumeier. Each year, nearly 300,000 visitors come from far and wide to see the Laumeier Sculpture Park, which is now part of the American Alliance of Museums.
History of Laumeier Sculpture Park
Laumeier Sculpture Park was originally founded in 1968. It was created from the will of Matilda C. Laumeier upon her death. Its purpose was to serve as a memorial for her husband, Henry H. Laumeier, who passed away before her. The two lived in the 1816 Tudor stone mansion that is still standing today.
Matilda’s will granted the land on which she and her husband lived to the county. In 1975, the Park was opened, encompassing 76 acres. In 1976, the Park gained notable attention after receiving nearly 40 sculptures from artist Ernest Trova. The newly donated sculptures attracted must attention, making Laumeier Sculpture Park a large tourist attraction. Twenty more pieces were then donated to the park by friends of Matilda and her family.
In its early years, under Dr. Beej Nierengarten-Smith, Laumeier Sculpture Park was awarded 6-operating grants and 2-conservation grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Among these many prestigious honors was a grant to create an informative, welcoming video on the park and an architectural assessment of its buildings.
Laumeier Sculpture Park was also awarded 22 grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. From this, an endowment fund of 2 million dollars by the year 2000 was created.
One of the most notable pieces of art featured in Laumeier Sculpture Park is “The Way” by Alexander Liberman. Constructed by Liberman in 1980, “The Way” is made from eighteen salvaged steel oil tanks. It is 65 feet tall and 102 feet wide, also measuring 100 feet deep. Altogether, it weighs an estimated 55 tons. The work of Liberman is a piece of modernist artwork representative of Greek temples and gothic-style cathedrals. Liberman constructed “The Way” at the Park on a plot of land now referred to as “Way Feild.”
Other sculptures include:
• “Face of the Earth #3” (Vito Acconci, 1988)
• “La Libellule” (Arman, 1996)
• “Eclipse” (Charles Arnoldi, 1990)
• “Donut No. 3” (Fletcher Benton, 2002)
• “Java” (Anthony Caro, 1976)
• “Knots” (Cosimo Cavallaro, 1996)
• “Sugabus” (Robert Chambers, 2004)
• “Bombius” (Mark di Suvero, 1985–87)
• “Laumeier Project” (Jackie Ferrara, 1981)
• “Four Shades” (Ian Hamilton Finlay, 1994)
• “Crete” (Charles Ginnever, 1976–78)
• “Twins” (Joseph Havel, 2007)
• “Intricate Wall” (Sol LeWitt, 2001–04)
• “Ball? Ball! Wall? Wall!” (Donald Lipski, 1994)
• “Not Without My Dog” (Tea Mäkipää, 2011)
• “Aurelia Roma” (Manuel Neri, 1994)
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